Carbon action #1

To start off with, I thought we would calculate our carbon footprints and see where our starting point is.

I’ve shopped around a bit and there are many different calculators on the internet. Some measure more than others.

BP has a carbon footprint calculator here.  It only measures household energy use and travel.  Mine came out at 3 tonnes.  My actual footprint must be much higher however as it did not take into account food and consumer items.  My household energy use is fairly low as we use gas for heating and cooking, which actually burns far less carbon than electricity, I don’t have things like TVs or stereos, and our flat is so warm we barely use the heating anyway.  Travel was the real kicker.  I came out at almost zero for ground travel as I don’t own a vehicle and never take taxis so it’s public transport or walking everywhere.  However, I fly a LOT.  I’ll look at what I can do about that in another post.

So, what’s yours?


Although it’s only four days since the last weekend, it’s been a busy week! On Wednesday night I went with Candice and Jason to see the LSO play a free outdoor concert at Canary Wharf. They were playing music from science fiction films – much of which was originally recorded by the LSO. I loved it. The fact that I’ve been following the TV programme Maestro lately gave me an added appreciation for the conductor as well. Maestro is a celebrity reality programme where the celebrities have to conduct an orchestra, with the winner getting to conduct at the Last Night of the Proms (which reminds me, anyone want to go promming?) The first episode was gold, with the celebrities really struggling and the sound coming from the orchestra was absolutely hilarious. I didn’t watch all of the second episode yet but it seems that with only a week’s training from their mentors, the celebs had improved considerably – which is a bit less interesting to watch, unfortunately.

On Thursday night I went to the NZ Greens campaign launch, which included a screening of my friend Lizzie’s new climate change doco “The Age of Stupid”. Look for the cinema release some time next year, but hopefully the buzz will build a long time before that. Lizzie and director Franny have brought together the most incredible, interesting, complex characters from around the world – it’s just an amazing film. Sobering but also inspirational. I feel like a hypocrite for not doing all I can to stop climate change (for example the number of flights I take in a year… it’s shocking), but I have been making changes in the way I live. The important thing to realise is that everyone can do something about climate change. I’m going to start making some suggestions here on a regular basis and collate some helpful links as well.

Last night I spent a lovely evening hanging out with Rebecca, which was just what I needed after a very busy week not just after work but at work as well. Well, while I’m still busy I still have a job, I suppose.

And now it’s the weekend and I don’t have to think about work for two whole days. I’ve a party to go to tonight and some loose plans for the rest of the weekend, but I’m going to more or less go with the flow. It’s lovely to be in London for a second weekend in a row as it means I don’t have to spend the entire weekend doing washing and cleaning. I have a list of things I want to do so I may just go through it and pick one (or several). Whatever I do I’ll try and at least take some photos to liven things up on the blog a little!

The past week

Catch-up post!

Since this time last week, I have:

  • Seen The Mousetrap, which is the longest-running West End play (I’m not really sure why, but then again I’m all in favour of tradition, and it’s a fine tradition)
  • Had dinner with the girls from school – six of us this time!
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  • Had my friend Beth stay with me. After 8 1/2 months of travelling she’s finally on her way home.  I’m in awe of her.
  • Made a new friend
  • Had a haircut
  • Bought loads of books (current reading: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters.  Freaky but good!)
  • Played tennis
  • Finally visited the British Library!  I live practically opposite the library but had never actually been inside until Sunday, when I went to see the Ramayana exhibition with Kashmira.  It was great, and now I have to go back and see the permanent collection!  Oooh and the bookshop is excellent.  The library though…. ahhh.  I think I have found my spiritual home.  And it’s only 50m away!
  • Finally, I spent Bank Holiday Monday chilling out with a friend and watching DVDs, which was a wonderfully relaxing way to spend my holiday.

I spent months looking forward to August Bank Holiday and trying to decide where to go, and in the end it was great just to stay at home for once!

Farmer Phil’s Festival

So I decided to do something new and a bit out of character in the weekend.  Dan’s uncle (actually first cousin once removed) Phil has a farm in Shropshire, where every year he hosts a smallish, family-friendly festival.  Dan invited me along and I accepted!  So did Tania, who we met at the wedding a few weeks ago.

We arrived and set up camp:

Home sweet home!

That was the last time we saw the sun…

We hit the bar:

Dan was behind the bar for most of the weekend, which was handy for the free drinks!

We listened to some music. The first day there wasn’t much that was good, although I liked Chumbawamba. Everyone just associates them with “Tubthumping” but actually they are a political folk band. When the country louts in the audience realised they weren’t going to play Tubthumping there was a near riot! Brilliant.

The next day we headed into Shrewsbury for a couple of hours, and met Clive of India:

Charles Darwin was from Shropshire, and there’s a nice statue of him there too. I’m a big fan of Darwin, and read an interesting historical novel about him earlier this year called This Thing of Darkness. I can recommend it. We also encountered some very fervent Creationists, which was entertaining. I’m not sure if they were there because of the Darwin connection or if it was just a coincidence. It’s 150 years since The Origin of Species was published so maybe that’s why they were there.

We headed back to the farm, whereupon it started to rain. And rain. And rain. The wind was terrible too. It was so cold we could see our breath!

Here’s Tania battling the weather:


This was before it turned into a complete mudbath. By Sunday morning we felt like we were in the trenches!

I’m glad I went, it was a true Experience.

Umbrella, ella, ella

Well, I went to a festival in the weekend.  More on that later, but basically my umbrella got absolutely wrecked!  I bought it for £5 in Windsor almost a year ago, so that’s not bad going really – because trust me this umbrella has seen a LOT of use!  It felt very strong and sturdy to start off with but gradually it has become more and more feeble, and now almost all of the ribs are broken as it spent most of the weekend being blown inside out!

So, time for a new umbrella.  Naturally I went to, because where else would you buy an umbrella?  However as soon as I clicked on the “buy” button I was told they were closed for the summer!  A British umbrella shop closing for the summer?  OH THE IRONY.

Poor, neglected blog!

I should have some things to share by Sunday, I promise!

Last weekend I went to the Natural History Museum.  One word: Dinosaurs!  I swear I was 7 years old again.  I don’t care if it makes me a geek; I love my ability to get ridiculously overexcited about things.  Obviously I’m not at all cool, because cool people don’t get excited about anything.

That relates to my “do something new every weekend” goal that I set when I first came to London and forgot about for a while in the middle there.  I’m going to try and stick to it a lot better.

Another goal is to cook something new every week.  So far I’ve managed halloumi and courgette bruschetta, some lovely NZ green mussels in a crème fraiche and wine sauce, and sweet potato frittata (mmmm, kumera!) with tomato salsa.  I really ought to take some photos!

The weather here is crazy.  Yesterday I went to work in the sunshine, and came home in the sunshine, but in between we had just about every kind of weather imaginable including a great thunderstorm with lightning and hail.  There was a good view from my 9th floor window at work.  I walked home from Tottenham Court Road last night and it had that wonderful post-thunderstorm feeling: negative ions in the air, and lovely warm late summer light reflecting off the Museum of London and shining through the trees in Russell Square.  I love Bloomsbury and can’t imagine living anywhere but here.

Photo post!

First, some flowers, because you know how much I like flower photos!


Me at Andrew’s wedding:


And a day at the beach!


(New Zealanders, are you jealous now?)