One thing we maybe have to bring as we get older is a historical perspective?

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And here’s another Pablo graphic… a sadder sentiment, but facing and integrating death might be part of adventures in ageing?

Plastic is bad for turtles…

18 months ago Lesley and I went to Shambala festival.  We saw an exhibit about plastic pollution in the sea, with a picture of a turtle which had died tangled up in plastic rope.  Ever since I have been seeing pictures of plastic in the sea.  Last Christmas we stopped buying fizzy water in plastic bottles and we had a Sodastream for our main Christmas present.  I felt pleased that we had reduced the overall plastic in our lives by 50 bottles or so a year.  But I still kept seeing pictures…

This year we want to reduce the plastic we buy a lot more.  I haven’t worked out exactly what to do yet, but yesterday we went to Tesco, and I thought about it as we did the shopping.  I was able to swap the plastic pot of runny honey for a glass pot, and Lesley swapped the plastic bottle of orange juice for a cardboard container.  The things where we had a choice between a version with plastic packaging and a version without, in other words, we went for the version without.

Some things though, if you wanted to buy in Tesco you had to buy with plastic… 


Now, as we are both going to have rather more time on our hands soon than we have had before, we can probably find a farm shop or greengrocer to buy our vegetables in.  I can pay more attention to herbs in the green house and probably grow quite a lot of our own mint.  Lesley has agreed to attempt to bake peanut biscuits (come in a plastic tray inside a plastic packet) – though now I come to think of it we may have difficulty finding plastic free peanuts…

But in the near term we are unlikely to find a replacement for milk…


And Lesley said rather wistfully – “I do still want to be able to have fabric conditioner”.  We didn’t need any laundry or cleaning products this time, so I said I would look on line and see if I could find any that could be delivered in boxes rather than plastic bottles…

Thank goodness the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc aisle was a soothing interlude or I think she might have gone into full revolt and we might have had to give up on our plastic reduction adventure prematurely, before even the scoping phase was complete…


We drove on to Cornwall, cogitating on what we could commit to.  The dead turtle kept floating to the surface of my mind.  I have promised to do some more investigating of the issues relating to plastic pollution so we can agree on some priorities and an approach…

We stopped for lunch at the Royal George pub in Birdlip, and had fish finger sandwiches and Diet Coke for lunch.  Delicious, and very dog friendly, but I lost focus when I got the drinks and this happened.


Plastic reduction is going to be harder than I thought when I congratulated myself on the Sodastream.  It’s another place where we need to find a way of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good enough…

So any ideas or advice on how we should set about this would be very gratefully received in the comments below!  

New Year’s Resolutions

“What’s the point of making New Year’s Resolutions – Do you ever keep them?”

I have read lots of earnest articles recently (and even shared some of the better ones on LinkedIn) about how to set objectives for the year that are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.  And then how to hold yourself accountable for the delivery of your objectives…  

For a small proportion of the population these articles may be helpful (and I expect they may be over-represented on LinkedIn) but for most of us they just reinforce our sense that formulating resolutions is a complicated process, highly likely to end in failure.

That seems a shame.  I have made many New Year’s Resolutions over the years, and although I haven’t “achieved” them all, I think I’m better off now than if I’d never set off with hope in my heart to try and be better and do better by my own lights in the year ahead.

Some years I’ve gone SMART – last year I said that by the time I was 50 (tomorrow) I’d be able to run 5 kilometres without stopping, and I’d weigh a stone less than I did this time last year.  This morning I ran 8 kilometres (I wanted to be able to congratulate myself on 5 miles – never knew I had an atavistic affection for metric!).  And I’m lighter at the end of the year than I was at the beginning, albeit only half as much lighter as I originally had in mind.

Other years have been a bit more abstract.  In about 2012, after a particularly fraught 2011, I went for a single guiding word as my Resolution.  It was “serene”.  And while I’m not sure anyone would have necessarily identified that as my watchword just from observing me, I think I was less reactive than I would have been without it…

I’m still thinking about this year’s Resolutions and themes – there’s something that could usefully be made SMART floating around in my mind about reducing the amount of plastic involved in my life, and there’s something more abstract about focusing my energy on the positive things I would like to see in the world, and fretting less about the bad things…  That would be a big change for me because fighting evil has been one of my identifying characteristics for the last 50 years, so it needs careful consideration before I try for a paradigm shift…

I’d love to know what you think about the best way to use New Year’s Resolutions to help you be more of the person you want to be.  Do you agree with my theory that it matters less whether you “achieve” them than whether you are prepared to embrace the possibility of choosing to change some aspects of your behaviour and your life?