Thoughts from January 2008

down on the farm

Yesterday, some of us went along to do a day's volunteering at Hounslow Urban Farm, one of London's largest community farms.

They have a whole host of animals there, including 5 breeds of pig, some goats, sheep and cows and even a few rheas chipmunks. It's a lovely place.


While they were there, our volunteers got the chance to name a little lamb. They decided to call her 'Carlton' or 'Carly for short. Carlton is Jon Wright's middle name so it's a fitting tribute indeed.

They then spent the day building some very fine animal shelters and mucking out the odd field. Which was all very helpful according to Mary who works there.


Jeremy even managed to rescue a runaway sheep on his way back to the car.



on your bike


This is Ben. Ben works for Cycle Training UK, who teach people how to use their bikes safely and cycle with confidence on the roads. And if you live or work in London, quite a few local authorities subsidise the training. Which means it's free.

Seeing as that cycling proficiency test was probably a while ago now and the playground you did it in lacked speeding cars and buses, it's a great way to improve your cycling technique and gain some confidence on the roads.

You get 4 hours of one-to-one tuition, during which you learn all about assertive road positioning and how to slow down traffic with your eyes. Your instructor will also teach you how to use your gears properly, check if your bike is roadworthy and will even accompany you on your ride to work to make sure your route is as safe and swift as possible.

Plus if you're good, they'll give you a shiny set of badges to prove your roadworthiness.

This sort of scheme is available in towns and cities up and down the country. So why not have a look on your local council website to see if you can get some free training and a set of posh new badges to impress your mum.


Back in '89, it was Cycling Proficiency. Now they're calling it Bikeability. How times change.

duck shaped

Recently we ran a competition for our family to upload pictures of funny shaped fruit/veg/crisps/cloud formations to our flickr group so as to make the days here pass a little quicker.

We started the ball rolling with this duck shaped peanut:


All entries were then judged by Ben W (aged 22) and we're pleased to reveal that the 3 winning photos are:


The mutant ninja carrot from outer space


The beetroot penguin (he's the one on the left)


And the double banana.

Congratulations to Geli b, melandjedi and eviljamr who each win a shedload of smoothies and a nice pair of innocent gloves which are shaped in the form of hands.

out with the old

Our Matt's old semi-tartan trousers have gone. They were won in an eBay auction by someone called Caroline, who paid £132 for them. Worth every penny.

L - new pants, R - old auctioned pants

Matt was sad to see them go, but happy at the fact that all proceeds will go to Orangutan Appeal UK, and also touched that his mum and dad sent him a new pair of patterned pants to replace the old ones. He is one lucky boy.

let us pray

Clover, one of the first innocent vans ever to grace the highways of Britain passed over to the car crusher in the sky last week. She has done us proud, serving alongside Ermintrude, Belle and our grassy herd for many years. Goodbye.

you will be with us Clover, forever.