Is it easy being green?

Can I have a cheaper, healthier lifestyle by being greener?


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Tomatoes are ripe and the sun is shining

Aoife and I cut out tomatoes for a bit because they were not only coming from really far away but they were not all that tasty. We swapped to exclusively tinned tomatoes for cooking and stopped having tomatoes in salad. We have just begun to get them again as they are being grown a bit closer to home and they are in season so they are tasty. We are all so used to eating certain things all year round that I think we don’t realise how nice they can taste in season until that comes round and we suddenly taste them as they are meant to be. Every time I go to the supermarket and walk down to the tomato bit I can smell them and I think of greenhouses and summers days! That’s what a tomato should be.


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Mein Lampf

I am a light Nazi. I am told by friends and Aoife on a regular basis and they are in a constant state of fear that they have left a light on when it didn’t need to be. I will admit I am a bit obsessive about it and a little more since I found out that we have an abnormally high electricity consumption, though I think that might be more to do with the freezer temperature being stuck at -16! I will happily come home after a late shift and walk through the house with the lights off and put my stuff away and go to bed. This is fine unless things have been moved around in my absence and I fall over a box or chair that wasn’t there when I left. I need to learn when to just relax and allow lights to be on but at points when I feel like they shouldn’t be I can almost feel my internal meter clicking round, it’s not an expense thing (though that is a happy by-product of lower consumption) but I feel the waste of resources. It is a similar experience to the one I have driving the car, like I am a black ball of destruction whizzing through countryside killing everything as I go! It keeps me constantly aware of what impact my actions are having.

I am happy to be the crazy one who is constantly turning off lights; it’s an important fight that someone has to have. I am leading the charge!


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Sometimes it’s all worthwhile

At a time at which I am desperate for a more regular cash-flow and I am looking at all sorts of jobs and applying to loads every week I often wonder why do I do a job that does not bring in decent or regular money? But every once in a while I have a week where I remember exactly why I do the job. When I work on a big comedian, hear the Tremeloes play ‘Silence is Golden’, get to work on a show that brings the audience to tears, or a children’s show that makes me laugh along with the audience. A lot of people in this profession are not cheery but there is no reason not to be, we have more fun at work than most people. I would rather be waiting in the dark with a costume for Mitchell and Webb or Wayne Sleep than sitting in an office, that’s just not for me.

This week I worked on Chris Cox for his show Fatal Distraction, even though I didn’t see any of it because I was working I really enjoyed the day and it feels amazing to be involved in any capacity in a show that leaves the audience that charged and excited.


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Palm oil-free is not always expensive

Firstly I would like to apologise for the patchy blogging I have done over the last few months. Morocco was a big part of that so I am hoping I am back to normal now.

Here is a little thought about palm oil that I wrote near my birthday in February and I hadn’t published it:

When we were having a few days off for my birthday we bought some fresh tortellini. That is always a bit of a task anyway because most of the ones, even without meat in them, are not vegetarian. We found a few veggie ones this time but they all had the dreaded ‘vegetable oil’ in them.  Even the Finest range, which is normally what you have to do to get away from generic ‘vegetable oil’ that could be anything to the extra virgin olive oil or organic rapeseed oil or just sunflower oil or anything specific, was no good. Then we were looking at the cheap Basics one and found that they were vegetarian and palm oil-free and, as it turned out, tasty to boot. You don’t always have to break the bank to make the right decisions, you might just have to look for a few minutes more.

As an addendum to that, I think it is worth checking food on a regular basis, particularly supermarket own brands. They are constantly changing what goes into their stuff and things that were veggie one day might not be another. Also it’s worth checking in case you missed it the first time round.


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Artisan Centre

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While we were in Morocco we visited the Artisan Centre in Tetouan where we bought some costume and presents for our friends and family. We saw the leather-workers, weavers and the woman’s carpet weaving co-operative. They were really happy to just show us what they do and anything we bought put money directly into their pockets which is fair trade at it’s most basic. Aoife even had a go at weaving with the co-operative . They were working on an enormous carpet with their fingers flowing like lightening over the threads and Aoife tied two knots and added two black specks to the overall piece.

We bought some woven things for people and they were absolutely beautiful, the colours and the patterns were lovely. They have bicycle wheels for winding their bobbins or possibly shuttles which puts my idea of putting a bobbin on a drill to wind it to shame. Everything is done so smoothly and beautifully. I am always impressed by hands that know how to do things, probably one of the reasons I am obsessed with How It’s Made.I could have happily watched the shuttles fly back and forth and the men winding their bobbins all day.

DSC04876We also bought a few bits of jewellery which were very cheap by comparison to British prices, sold by the weight of the silver in them I got a lovely turquoise ring for around 2Euro and a tiny ammonite pendant. I am looking forward to wearing that sometime soon. There were a mixture of things that seemed familiar and others that seemed so alien that it took me a while to recognise the bellows made of marble and the enormous chunk of coral. There was even some (very old I am reliably told) ivory which I thought was a blonde wood until I looked a bit closer. They were very dusty so I guess there is little demand for items made of ivory.

There were some replica daggers that reminded me of Natty Samuel’s lecture about Africa and the traditional traded items, the knives were traditionally made from rhino horn but these were all stone or wood.

Just a little flash of what is everyday and mundane to some and exotic and exciting to others.


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Kittlie cats

There are so many cats in Tetouan and Martil! Everywhere we went we saw cats sunning themselves, looking for scraps and with 

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kittens. In Islam cats are not treated like dogs (which are unclean) since the Prophet kept pet cats so although no one owns the cats they are often fed with scraps from the tables and treated nicely in the streets. As a cat lover I was thrilled. I also noticed that the cats were mostly tabby, ginger or tortoiseshell. There were a lot of patchy tabbies and gingers with white bits too. We only saw a few cats with black on them at all, round the corner from us there was a cafe which had a pair of resident black and white cats

 (one of whom was heavily pregnant by the time I left) but that was it really. Also they were much closer to the early Egyptian versions of domestic cats, lighter boned, bigger ears and pointier than our British domestic short hairs who are stocky and round in the main. Aoife hadn’t really seen the differences, she thought that mostly they were skinny, which they were but they are just smaller in the main. We saw a lot of tall impressive toms but they didn’t measure up to our guys really. Ghengis would not have been hugely out of place and he is very small for a British cat.

Since writing the above we went to go and get an orange juice from the cafe and found the cat with a kitten, way bigger than a day old, not sure what’s happening there but got some nice photos!


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Set, website, photos!

Sorry for no blogs for some time. I have been very busy getting ready for both Morocco and revamping the website. It has been launched today so check it out: www.monkeysinschools.org. We are ready for Morocco now, just some last minute tweaks to costume and set and then they will be all away in the bag. I will hopefully write a report when I get back that will fill the gap of how the show was made.

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Steve Foster came round yesterday to do some publicity photos for us before we go. They are great, here are a couple and there are a few hidden in the new website.

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