Towards a Good Life

My Journey Towards Living a Life I Can Live With

Summer’s gone 30/09/2009

So thought it must be time for another blog post and an update on the journey towards a good life.  I thought it might be a good idea to look at my original “So, what’s it all about?” post and measure progress against that:

It’s about trying to make my lifestyle fit in with my beliefs and values.

Well, this is kind of working.  I feel reasonably comfortable with my lifestyle as a stay at home, home educating mum.

It’s about learning to live with less stuff.

I have sold my Garmin and heart rate monitors on Ebay, have cleared out my wardrobe to leanest yet levels, freecycled excess stuff… My main downfall is books – I just can’t quite see them as “stuff”.  Can I learn to live with fewer books?  I’m just not sure!!

It’s about growing vegetables, and learning to sew, and turning switches off at the wall, and reducing waste, and other baby steps towards a more self sufficient and energy efficient lifestyle.

The first year of vegetable growing has gone reasonably well – successes included radishes, salad leaves (particularly the fabulous red mustard) and courgettes.  We are now enjoying home grown tomatoes and runner beans.  Still waiting for the fennel to plump up enough to be worth eating and have sprouts to look forward to in the winter.  The borlotti beans were a bit of a waste of space in the raised bed – they took up the space for ages and, although super pretty, only really provided enough of a harvest for 2 or 3 meals.  Next year I need to be a bit more on top of successional sowing of stuff so as to make better use of the space but I don’t think it has gone too badly!  I have certainly learned that my crops need protection, not only from birds eating my beetroot seedlings, but also from neighbouring cats loving to use any freshly dug soil as a toilet.  Grrrr.

The sewing has been the great success of 2009 so far for me.  I am still enjoying the morsbagging and recently met up with another pod in Norwich to do a bagging workshop in the window of Oxfam there.  It was a fabulous day and really inspiring.  I have now made 47 bags, and have just heard that I will be pod of the fortnight on the Morsbags forum next!

I am in the yellow t-shirt, concentrating hard!

I am in the yellow t-shirt, concentrating hard!

It’s about letting go of traditional models of school and learning to trust that my children will learn what they need to know when they are ready to know it.

The home education adventure is working well – will be blogging about it here.

It’s about coming together with others towards a transition culture.

The transition group has been less rewarding than I had hoped but rather a bit of an energy sapping uphill struggle to generate enthusiasm, participation and support.  The edible garden we have created has been quite a success but not much else is happening there and I am not sure if I have the personal energy and resources to keep banging away at it.  It does feel rather like flogging a dead horse!

It’s about sharing that journey with others and recording it for myself so I can see how far I’ve come and how far I’ve got to go.

Ok, so I have been a bit crap at keeping this updated…but I will try harder!


Not Stupid Courgettes 10/07/2009

Filed under: Community,Food,Garden,Home education,Lifestyle,Sewing,Transition — snoozerider @ 22:04

Yes, yes, I know, it has been ages.  I’ve been pretty busy living life – working on Transition stuff, sewing bunting (yes, it is useful, honest!), paddling in the sea, making and eating cakes, reading “The Joy of Not Working” (thoroughly recommended by the way), signing petitions and writing to my MP about the Badman Review, making use of my Family Railcard…

Anyway here’s a summary of the Towards a Good Life bits:

The Age of Stupid

Went to see this film a week or two ago, which was put on by Downham and Villages in Transition.  I was pretty excited about seeing the film and it almost lived up to expectations.  I imagine if you didn’t already realise the scale of the climate change issue, then you would find it quite a wake up call, it’s fairly visual and hard hitting.  My only criticism would be its bittiness.  It’s made for the channel hopping cable TV generation I think, skipping from one thing to another.  The best bit for me was a cartoon segment showing the relationship between the stuff we buy and coal emissions in China – can’t really describe it very well in words!  I may have missed a few key bits of the film due to the fact that there were lots of subtitles and a tall man sat in front of me 😦 .  I would recommend it, but still prefer the Wake Up, Freak Out film – which has the added bonus of being only 11 minutes long!  For those that haven’t already seen it:

On the Plot

Much excitement heralded the arrival of the first harvestable courgette, as you can see:


Since this picture was taken a few days ago, we have harvested a couple more, but have also had 3 go rotten on the plant.  Looks like it may be a good idea to remove the flowers once they wilt, so will try this. It’s all a learning experience.

Elsewhere on the plot, the first few beetroot have been harvested (the ones that survived the initial sparrow attack), the next batch of radishes are nearly ready, the red spring onions are proving delicious – if a little potent, and we have beans growing on the runner bean and borlotti bean plants.  Got plenty of salads in pots, a chilli pepper on the Hot Wax plants, some little green tomatoes…sure to have missed some stuff!  I am discovering that I am giving everything a bit too much room in the raised beds, so there is the potential to have much more growing.  Can’t decide what to put in the gaps at the moment though – more salad leaves, radishes, oriental veg?!?!  Decisions, decisions.


There is to be a by-election in my ward in August and I have agreed once again to stand as a “paper” candidate for the Green Party.  Don’t yet know which other parties will be represented, but might put a bit more effort in to campaigning this time!  I WILL beat the BNP!!


Sewing is coming on well.  I have made some bunting from scraps of material not big enough for the Morsbags, and I must admit it looks rather fab, although does remind me of a row of knickers hanging on a washing line!  I will post photo next time I have it strung up somewhere :-).  The bunting that is, rather than my knickers ;-).  Bagging has taken a bit of a sideline to that, but total is now up to 33, a rather poetic one bag for each year of my life.

Transition King’s Lynn

Have been working hard on keeping the momentum going on this.  We recently had our first public event, a picnic and planting day in the Walks which went pretty well. Hopefully the event will have spurred some more people into action so there will be more of us actively involved in keeping the bed going.  Read more about it on the Transition King’s Lynn website, here.

That’s all for now folks – will try not to leave it so long next time in the hope that I might actually remember what I’ve been doing!


Courgette 30/06/2009

Filed under: Food,Garden — snoozerider @ 16:28
Tags: , ,

Will write a proper blog post soon, but in the meantime, look at my lovely courgette plant:

T-rex guarding my courgette

T-rex guarding my courgette

As you can see, Waif has carefully placed a T-rex to stand guard beside it and scare any nasties off 🙂


Salad 20/05/2009

Filed under: Food,Garden — snoozerider @ 08:33

Oops, I forgot to mention all the pots of salad leaves by the back door.  Here’s some I picked earlier…


Update 18/05/2009

Filed under: craft,Garden,Sewing,Transition — snoozerider @ 16:42
Tags: , , ,

Oh dear, haven’t posted for a while have I?  I think it’s mainly because of living life getting in the way of writing about living life…

So what’s been happening?

GARDEN – The plots are both coming along nicely.  Radishes, beetroot and choy sum are all looking pretty good in the first raised bed.  Germination of the cumin wasn’t so great and the spring onions are looking a bit spindly, think it might be better to grow from sets next year.  Just got some pak choi and more radishes coming up in the second raised bed, and also some borlotti beans (having finally got rid of all the ground elder and deterred the cat who kept using the bed as a toilet, grrrr).  We also have runner beans growing nicely up their wigwam and courgettes nearly ready to put in the ground.  What else?  Erm, chili peppers in the greenhouse and some tomato plants donated by a colleague of M²’s.  Oh yeah, and potatoes growing in an old compost bag.  Phew!  It’s making me hungry just thinking about it 🙂

TRANSITION – Transition King’s Lynn is really starting to come together.  We have formed a Steering Group and nearly sorted out a constitution.  Boring stuff, but have to do it before we can raise any money.  Much more exciting is the fact that the bed in the Walks has been given the go ahead so I will be getting involved in nurturing a plot of edible and useful plants in a public place.  Inspiring stuff!

MORSBAGGING AND SEWING – Morsbags tally is now up to 16, and I have been pulling together a stash of suitable fabrics from a combo of car boot sales, the remnant section in the wonderful Fent Shop, and best yet, a load of fabric gained via Freecycle.  The best £2 spent was on these two pairs of curtains:

I have also been using scraps of leftover material to make these:

What do you mean, what’s the point?  The bottom right one was given to friends who are moving house…not sure what to do with the others but sure someone will appreciate them for some other occasion 😉

VOTE FOR ME! Last but not least, I am standing for County Councillor for the Green Party.   The local election agent assures me that I won’t get in (not sure whether to be insulted by that lol) but it at least gives people the option to vote Green, and hopefully I will get more votes than the BNP who are also contesting the seat, much to my disgust.

That’s about it for now I think!!


Oh no, not more bags! 06/05/2009

Filed under: Food,Garden,Home education,Sewing — snoozerider @ 08:25

Yes, it’s another pic of a Morsbag.  My tally is up to 10 now!

Gman has been quite enthused by all the sewing and particularly the bags and decided we needed to all have a competition to design a morsbag.  He drew us all templates, complete with the label and we had a family “competition”.  Joint winners were…Gman and Waif!!!  Here’s their designs:

In the garden, we are finally rid (hopefully) of the ground elder from the second raised bed and will be sowing carrots and oriental leaves this week.  The runner beans are planted around their wigwam, the radishes are growing and my cotton seems to have done the trick in keeping the sparrows off my beetroot, cos the leaves are starting to grow back at last.  Hooray!


Radish Harvest for us and Beetroot for the Sparrows 29/04/2009

Filed under: Garden,Home education,Sewing,Transition — snoozerider @ 20:51

The highlight of the gardening week has to have been the harvesting of the radishes!  It’s pretty exciting to be eating produce straight out of the garden, and although I am not that keen on radishes, these definitely taste better than the ones from the shops :-).  As you can see from the photo, Gman was pretty pleased too.

Not quite so good is the fact that something’s been nibbling the leaves from my beetroot.  How dare they?!?  I have consulted my Joy Larkcom book and the only listed pest for beetroot is sparrows who apparently rather like beetroot seedlings.  Have constructed a bit of a web from cotton thread this afternoon to dry and discourage them from eating any more, so fingers crossed the beetroot will recover (and the thread won’t unravel despite my woeful knotting skills!)

Sewing Stuff…

I have made a few more morsbags (of course)

A big bag and a little bag ;-)

A big bag and a little bag 😉

In a bizarre twist, I have also found myself showing other people how to sew!  We did basic sewing skills at this week’s home education group and several of the kids made beanbags, which I had prepped for them.  I did feel quite a glow from this.  I am finding with the home education adventure that I am more open minded about learning new things and then in turn more enthusiastic about sharing these with other people.  I am fairly certain that if, six months ago, I had suggested to Gman that he might like to sew a beanbag he would have been unenthusiastic at best but because he sees me learning and enjoying learning, it rubs off on him.  At least that’s how I think it is working:-)

On the subject of home education, we had a fabulous outing this week to the Ecotech Centre in Swaffham.  Gman took a tour of the turbine and was wowed with the views and exhilerated by climbing 305 steps, while Waif and I had a tour of the organic gardens and orchards.  We then came together again for the children to do a recycling game.  There were quite a few home edders from the surrounding area and we met some lovely people and had a really excellent day.