Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Petition time! (Yes, still)

Having had a real push, in advance of the second reading of the CSF bill, on trying to get my non-HE friends to understand the implications of the bill and get them to sign the petition, I've had a number of different types of reponse. A couple of my closest friends signed, and let me know they had. These are people who have already let me know how wrong they think the government are being. One person let me know that, essentially, he thought I'd gone "loony lefty" (clearly some research into politics would lend informational accuracy to these insults, oh well), but would sign anyway. The biggest response by far however, despite the huge implications for all families in the reversal of the burden of proof and unprecedented invasion of the family home, was no response. None at all. And, I assume (although perhaps wrongly), no signature on the petition.

The Bill passed through anyway to the next stage, as expected, but the fight goes on, and as well as continuing to lobby MPs and Lords, we really need those petition signatures, and for that we need to get people to understand the implications for them. For their family. For their children. Yes, not these Home Educated children that don't have anything to do with you. YOUR family. YOUR children.

So I've come up with a few light hearted ways of posting the petition link, in an effort to keep posting it without people skimming over and ignoring it. Feel free to use them or cross post if you like :)

'Comedy'

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Paula.
Paula who?
Poorly trained council worker with a right to come into your house against your wishes, check you have your heating on if I deem it necessary, check I don't think you have to many people living in one house, check I think your children are being parented properly in my opinion, and make your children do what I think is right, regardless of their feelings and genuine welfare or yours. I will have the right to do this in any home as the government are going to take the unprecedented step of reversing the burden of proof, so that people have to prove they are innocent rather than us having to prove they are not. If you want to try and stop me being able to do this, sign the petition here http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Home-ed-families/.

Classic Facebook

URGENT WARNING! You may recently have seen Ed “Bully Boy” Balls demanding CRB checks unnecessarily, overriding Select Committee findings, and generally acting like a totalitarian megalomaniac. He is actually a FACEBOOK VIRUS! He has escaped from the computer system into the world of politics, and is programmed to control your children's thoughts and wipe out individuality. The virus has immovable programming, impenetrable by logic, reason, or the law. It is cunning and has found ways of bypassing parents that want to protect their children and do the best for them. To help stop this virus, sign this petition http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Home-ed-families/. Then go to your Facebook settings, click on egotistical self interested control freak politicians, then click delete.

Culinary


Take one bun from oven, baked to perfection. Season with parental love and guidance. Watch bun rise happily. Add one government, totalitarian and controlling. Watch as bun sinks, gets prodded, poked, measured, tested, and temperature probed. Sign petition here http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Home-ed-families/ to stop government having control over buns against their wishes. Remove struggling bun from government's control. Season further with parental love until bun returns to it's own perfect individual state.

Musical

When I was back there in
home school
There was a person there
Who put forth the proposition
That you can petition Ed Balls
with reason
Petition Ed Balls with reason
Petition Ed Balls with reason
You cannot petition Ed Balls with reason!

But we're gonna try anyway, sign here http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Home-ed-families/

(With thanks to The Doors for inspiration)

EU friendly

Bonjour Mesdames, Messieurs, fils et filles. S'il vous plait, signer cette pétition http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Home-ed-families/ pour le gouvernement britannique arrêter d'être contrôle freaks. Merci beaucoup.


Horticultural
Plant sprout. Love, water and nurture. Watch sprout grow in it's optimal environment. Add one government, eager to ensure all sprouts are the same and under their control. Watch as sprout gets fertilised chemically and uniformly, then measured. Watch as sprout withers and struggles. Watch as sprout gets fertilised again, chemically and uniformly. Sign petition here http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Home-ed-families/ to stop government having control over sprouts against their wishes. Watch sprout struggle with unsuitable regime. Remove sprout from government growing programme. Transplant into fresh compost, and resume loving, watering and nurturing. Watch as sprout blossoms into unique and fulfilled bloom.


Blunt fact

Please help by signing this petition http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Home-ed-families/, as if the government's plans go through I will have a criminal record in the next couple of years simply for letting my children learn by experiencing the amazing world around them, and not allowing council workers into my home to attempt to measure the unmeasurable, what wonderful things lie in my children's minds.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Bye bye supermarkets

That strange groaning sound you may be able to make out is my husband, and it's been brought on by the fact that, two days after completing my list of aims for the year, I now have another "project". Giving up supermarkets.

Now this may not seem like a difficult thing to do, and I do know a number of people that don't use supermarkets, so it must be possible. We do already get a lot of our storecupboard basics from Suma, but budgetary constraints mean that the rest of our shopping comes from the old Value range. Ethics and health tend to go out of the window. Although we cook from scratch and don't eat packaged meals, if the ingredients are full of pesticides in the first place then the end result can't be that healthy either. And fair trade or local produce only lands in our trolley if everything else is sold out.

So, by the end of this month I want my shopping to be:

Sourced ethically
Organic
Not from a supermarket
Within budget
Environmentally friendly

Ha! Not asking much then.

Now, currently our shopping budget is £200 per month, including food, toiletries, household products and cat food. Also currently included in this is nappies and wipes as since I came out of hospital we have been using disposables a lot of the time for convenience. This, needless to say, costs a fortune and will be the first thing going or we stand no chance of doing this on budget!

My first port of call, a local veg box scheme. I found a local one, which look great and also do fruit and eggs (although, back garden chickens pending, we may not need these), so at £15.50 for a standard veg box containing 9-11 crops, and £5.90 for a small fruit bag, this looks like a good start.

Next, a proper look at Suma. Like I said, we already get things from here, mostly pulses, homeopathic remedies, veggie stuff and the like. Tonight I priced up an entire month's shopping (a mammoth task!). Obviously the cheapest way to do a lot of it is in large bulk quantities, but we don't have the budget to allow ourselves to buy that mush up front, so we go with the smaller bulk amounts.

So, three long hours later, elated to be done, I scroll down to the total at the bottom and ... bang! my hope of an easy solution comes crashing down as I see that the Suma products plus one veg box and one fruit bag a week takes us to £266 per month. Disaster! Taking into account the fact that we have knocked nappies and wipes off the shopping list, which made up over a quarter of our budget, a straight move from supermarket value ranges to ethical and organic has doubled our spend. Also this total doesn't count cat food, as we have a very fussy rescue cat who will only each pouches of food in jelly. Pop a bowl of cat crunchies down in front of him and he will go off in a huff and starve himself until you see sense, so I need to find an alternative, which may turn out to be buying the same food for him, but not from a supermarket!

Things that are on the list that I'm not 100% happy about are:

1. Washing powder. It's Ecover, but I'd still rather not, especially in view of the cost. We tried eco balls for a good while, with very stinky results, and, not wanting to be damp smelling social pariahs, we went back onto the old detergent. Any ecologically sound yet purse friendly suggestions welcome!

2. Dishwasher gel. As above, would rather not. I did use Stardrops for a time, which is cheap but probably not great for the green credentials of my dishwasher.

3. Butter. I buy this to make bread with, but am wondering if there is a vegan alternative. Any home bakers let me know please!

Other than that, I'm happy with what's on there, it's all organic, fairtrade or local, and vegan aside from the eggs (but don't tell Gruff, he may not notice!), so I just need a cheaper way of doing it.

I'm going to have the night off now and try and shave £70 off this tomorrow, any suggestions appreciated.