Thursday, 31 July 2008
The video is from The Green House. They have videos on lots of green topics, including how to make yogurt in a cardboard box. My Eco Self is perfectly satisfied with the organic bio-yogurt which arrives at my door as an add-on to my vegetable box, but appreciates that someone out there may yearn for a more hands-on approach.
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
My Eco Self is proud of myself for sticking to the money fast, albeit having frequently scribbled a list of things I absolutely had to have as soon as it is finished.
I decide to place a bulk supermarket order to reduce packaging waste. My order includes multiple 6-packs of tinned tomatoes, 12-pack toilet rolls, and 4kg boxes of washing powder. Unpacking the toilet rolls proves somewhat of a challenge in a flat not blessed with inventive storage solutions. Food Neurotic Friend comes round for dinner.
“Have you got any spare birthday cards?”
“Look in the cupboard,” I suggest, reminded of the reason for my self-imposed upper price limit on birthday cards; FNF is a frequent pilferer, not offering financial recompense with the frequent excuse that he has taken me on a number of VIP press evenings with a high perceived financial value.
“Why are there toilet rolls in here?”
“I’m buying in bulk” I tell him.
“Well,” he says, “I’m sure the price of toilet roll is subject to inflation, like everything else.”
“That’s not the point.”
“With you, everything is about money,” he says, slipping a couple of cards into his backpack, ever bulging with booty from My Eco Self's vegetable box, lending library and all-occasion card stash.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
“No,” he says, in a tone which does not encourage My Eco Self to persevere. “What about underripe apricots then?” remembering the contents of that week’s vegetable box. “Is there anything inspiring I can do with them?”
“Apricots, mmm….” FNF almost groans down the phone.
Typical, I think. While I’m living like a nun, in last season’s clothes, FNF is having an orgasmic fit over an apricot.
“But that’s a perfect combination” he says, “stewed with a touch of orange juice and sugar.”
“Women,” he responds without a pause.
An unlikely response. “Have you fallen out with your girlfriend?”
“They’re giving away free energy-saving light bulbs at the supermarket,” I tell him in a faint attempt to cheer him up, my relationship counselling skills rejected. It doesn’t seem to hit the spot.
Monday, 21 July 2008
Thursday, 17 July 2008
“But aren’t you just staying at home because you spent too much money on your new kitchen and are only working part-time?” asks Food Neurotic Friend.
No, I tell him firmly, it’s a Lenten gesture, the aim being a simple, Quaker-like existence.
"Aren't you a bit out of date for Lent?" he continues.
“You can't put a timeline on aspiring to a simple lifestyle," I say "and I practically live like a nun anyway.”
“Is that by choice?” he teases.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Monday, 14 July 2008
My Eco Self, still childless, and newly frugal, stands apart from the scene, feeling isolated and horrified at the piles of sweets and artificially coloured jelly overflowing from small grubby hands.
“He loves the party,” says party parent.
“Yes, I can see,” I say, almost ready to make my escape, grateful at least that my age precludes me from a goody bag of small plastic items made in China.
Friday, 11 July 2008
I have been watching with interest the recent coverage about Primark, whose recent results have showed a slowdown in growth. This is an interesting comment, from coverage in The Times:
Freddie George, retail analyst at Seymour Pierce, said that Primark's
performance also suggested that better-off consumers were choosing to buy
higher-quality clothing when they decided to spend. He said: "The era of
'throwaway' fashion appears to be coming to an end and it may be the consumer is
now buying less but trading up."*
Also, apparently Drapers, the fashion industry magazine, ran a survey which showed that 42 per cent of shoppers would think twice about shopping at the chain, after a BBC programme showed that Primark were using child labour (they have since dropped those suppliers.) In response to that, there's lots of useful information about their ethical policies on their website, including an informative video here about how they can afford to sell things so cheaply - for example, they don't advertise. They are now part of the Ethical Trading Initiative.
My objection to Primark is not primarily ethical. I have bought plenty of clothes from Primark - or PriMarni, as some call it - but my objection is that I buy things I just don't need, because everything's a bargain. It's got that Ikea factor, where you just can't come out empty-handed (I wrote about this here.) I think if I style it up a la Sarah Jessica Parker with something more expensive, no-one will be able to tell that I'm wearing a £1 pair of sunglasses. My new strategy is to just not go inside. And anyway, after a while, the appeal of plastic shoes wears off (I have feet issues, and believe in investing in that area, as I've also written about previously, here.)
*NB: I should get myself a job as a part-time investment analyst to supplement any shortfall from pursuing a eco business opportunity - I could have come up with this myself.
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
Sunday, 6 July 2008
“Can I have a Welsh organic lamb chop please, in this box?” I ask.
“Is this the new packed lunch then?” he jokes, trying to find a chop which fits the smallish box.
“It doesn’t quite fit” he adds.
“Can you cut off a bit then?” I insist, after I've handed over money for the whole thing.
“What exactly is the point of this exercise?” asks FNF.
“There’s so much excess waste these days,” I say earnestly. “Can I write a piece about it for your newspaper?”
Before FNF has time to remind me that being friends with him doesn’t guarantee any favours, I open my bag to find the lamb is leaking all over an expensive leather handbag.
“Ugh,” I wince, defaulting on my share of the bill to run home and try and deal with the lamb-stained lining.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
“Do you want to check it out?” asks Heather, my non-eco-interested friend.
I’m slightly resentful that she is a fair-weather eco-warrior, but am eager for the excursion, despite the trip across town. We strategically time our visit to avoid potential clashes with the celebrity’s schmoozing lunches with his agent, but there’s no sign or evidence of his existence. There’s not even a photo on the wall, or a framed mission statement with his name on it.
“It’s pretty expensive in here,” Heather remarks, picking up a set of recycled pencils made from plastic cups as one of the lowest cost items.
“Let’s go for something to eat instead” I suggest, as an affordable alternative.
I have to steer Heather away from a generic pasta chain in favour of an organic deli round the corner. Heather pulls the pencils out of her bag while she searches for her purse.
“Why did you buy these then?” I ask.
“I wanted to support his enterprise,” she replies.
“I think he’s managing to pay the bills already.”
“The food’s not great in here is it?” says Heather, searching out a non-existent side portion of chips on the menu, amidst an inspired selection of vegetarian rice balls and freshly squeezed juices.
I wish I could reinstate Food Neurotic Friend as the dining companion of choice, but he is increasingly otherwise occupied with his vegan girlfriend.