Southampton Common

As my migrane eased this evening I decided to take a wonder round the common as the weather was actually warm and sunny! It was glorious. I wondered through some of the wooded bits letting my feet enjoy the grass and mud. I made friends with a family of dogs and then helped a little girl who fell off her bike find her parents. It was really most pleasant and gave me a much needed uplifting feeling. The sort that make you feel alright with the world. This photo (taken with my phone) I now have as my phone wall paper.

The Ornamental Pond

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On Air: Australia

Word does seem to get round the internet and just now I'm being interviewed live on air by ABC WA for their breakfast show. Perhaps you tuned in or happened to be listening and heard me speaking. Well, thanks for listening and I hope what I said was interesting. If you want to ask any more questions then feel free.

This photo was taken during the interview:

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The One Show - Wednesday 25th July

You might want to watch the One Show on Wednesday evening @ 7 on BBC1 - I think they might have taken notice of my email. Will they quote me? Here's the preemptive blurb:

Lucy Siegle watches our waste - and tries to put a stop to the nation's unhealthy and overindulgent use of packaging.

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Learning Dutch

Thanks to Kink FM, which I've been listening to on iTunes, I now know that the Dutch for 'www' is vayvayvay which is much quicker to say. I might adopt this.

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New Waitrose Coffee

Finally after years of waiting I have finally come across the ultimate in coffee - Fair Trade decaffeinated coffee beans!!

I'm fairly unsurprised that it was Waitrose that has made the first bold step here, being the most ethical of the super markets, but I'm a little sad that it's not from the Cafe Direct range.

I've not tried it yet (I'll get to that tomorrow) but it's advertised as being "fruity, smooth and slightly nutty" strength guide 3. The source country is Peru so the carbon footprint is still significant, but it's organic and soil association certificated.

Waitrose Decaff Fair Trade Coffee

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My Email to the One Show

I was quite concerned by your report on rat infestations. The report was hardly balanced and left the (less competent) viewer with the suggestion that leaving food out for birds and composting should be avoided. Surly this is not responsible reporting.

The report gave no evidence for how 'bad' rats really are to back up the premise of the report. Could this be because they arn't actually that dangerous?

The final point about rubbish made me think of a suggestion for your show to investigate. The report mentioned that leaving rubbish in bags on the floor rather than in a wheelie bin is generally not a good move (no shit sherlock). The point was made that with fortnightly collection this action with excess rubbish is almost expected if not required - but quite why this is I think highlights a deeper issue.

I live in a student house of four people. Living separate consumer lives you might expect our rubbish to reflect that with four individual meals cooked etc. But no. Instead we produce less than one bin-liner of rubbish a week (I've been keeping notes).

So what's the real problem here? Easy. The amount of rubbish being purchased by consumers - buy more fresh products (i.e. prepare cook your own food) and lo and behold you don't generate much waste. What you guys need to investigate is the sheer amount of rubbish that companies get away with packaging their products in and then somehow make attractive to the less discerning consumer. I'd like to see the myth that pre-prepared food (like ready meals) are a) tasty, b) cheap and c) 'proper food', dispelled.

On a related note I think it would be worth investigating the rules being put in place (possibly my shops) regarding how shops display products. In the case of the sandwich industry I believe the problem is that produces are under pressure to actually over-package their products for the reason of making it easy for super market operators to stock shelves.

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The One Show: Rats

I was quite concerned by the One Show report on rat infestations. The reporting style was overly dramatic and one sided, not giving a balanced report but instead appealing to the popular public misconception that rats are somehow evil. Frankly I felt that the report was dumbing down at it's worst. The people who seemed to be being targeted are just those to respond to such dramatic statements without a second thought to the reality of the situation. The report essentially made the suggestion that hanging out food for birds and making compost was a bad idea and bound to invite rats into your garden.

The final point being made was about the dangers of leaving rubbish out. In Southampton we do have weekly rubbish collection but I'd love to see this reduced. I live in a student house with four people living essentially separate consumer lives yet we produce less than one bin-liner of rubbish each week. Wheelie bins can contain at least three bin-liners so what could be the problem?

Of course the problem is the lack of consideration given by consumers to the amount of rubbish they purchase. I fear this is a problem of education - the less educated the less likely you are to be thinking about the rubbish you purchase. And the rubbish is of course everywhere. Companies have been allowed to be unregulated in their packaging for far too long (a problem not helped by the popular lie that individual wrapping is best).

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Google Earth Update

There is a new Google Earth version available for download. It seems to solve a number of problems for my Mac including some serious crash issues with 4.0.

One of the best updates that I've noticed is the fact that the focus for UK users now starts in the UK. Non of that pointless scrabble to stop the auto zooming into the US when it launches. The UK is now officially in some patch of open moorland just north of Skipton.

Here is the exact location for your information

Good to know where you are
53°59'60.00"N 1°59'60.00"W

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Behind the Screens

I enjoyed reading this while Stumbling Upon on Firefox. It's all about .

I particularly like point 14, not the bit about spelling abilities - some of us are dyslexic geeks (or rather 'greeks') - but about being "able to tell the difference between the toilet and the floor." Exactly. Enough said.