Can ghosts teach you stuff?

 

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post is about ways to make water saving easier – and more relevant. But it’s mostly about extinct birds and absent children… For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting, click here

I may be smarting from the pathetic revenue we made over the summer from our PV solar panels (all of £4.98, but it’s because we were eco-pioneers and the FIT scheme didn’t include us properly). But the latest scheme to make Mayhem Corner a more sustainable, eco-savvy home is to install a water metre (see pix above). This could be anti-intuitive as I fear it may take our water bills up as water is currently very cheap to buy if you aren’t on a metre. There are no rewards for careful use.

I still think we should all be paying for the water we use – and generally our household is good about not over using water. If you are interested, here’s how to do it through Thames Water.

At the weekend Lola, 13, Nell, 10 and my friend Nicky and her son Xander, 12, (see pix above of us all and also some birds created by Ralph Steadman) went to look at the Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition – a fabulous art show with more than 100 artists, writers and famous names creating a sellable piece to raise funds and awareness about BirdLife’s work. The show is on until 23 November 2011 at the Rochelle School in super-trendy east London.

A creative army for conservation
The majority of these gorgeous birds (eg, dodo, passenger pigeon, black mamo, pink headed ducks, etc, etc) died out because of hunting, but logging and agriculture are greatly to blame too. Looked at another way, all the bird extinctions are all caused by yet more humans wanting yet more. In that case our family move to install a water metre ought to be thought of as a positive attempt to do the right thing.

I promise not to go into another water grouse here *LOL*

But are kids at risk too?
The venue – a former school – made the kids and I think about the next exhibition that could be held.

We often notice there are so few children in London, especially during the day or in the streets even during non school hours or the holidays. The Victorian-built school closed down presumably because less families live in that area now, so it wasn’t needed. We could use the Ghosts of Gone Birds model and have pix of kids playing on all the walls.

We could have knitted trophies and discarded gym shoes, golden certificates and broken book bags in one corner. We could sort out the sound system so there were loads of whispers circulating the room such as “It’s not fair”, and “Are we nearly there yet” and “I don’t feel like doing that now” etc. Just add the playground’s favourite phrase.

I’ve recently read a novel about saving childhood – that provokes conversation and would probably be a good book club or teen-read choice. Here’s my review…

A Place to Play by Natasha Mile (Vanguard Press, £7.99)

This morality tale dressed up as a crime story sees three teenagers work out how to save childhood. Action takes place in the late 21st century, mostly in a chillier Newcastle. England is an altered world – so urban that it’s turned into four main city federations seemingly at loggerheads. Borders are closed (the best mini break you can hope for is on the sky train to Wales) and all schools permanently shut down. Only the elite’s children get fabulous homeschooling so they are ready to step into their parents’ roles. The futuristic setting stamped on to a UK that readers know is a lot of fun – lots of clever weaving of old time Northerners in football strip or micro tops, whatever the weather, (ie, us lot now) allows author Natasha Miles to make her teen heroes seem naieve.  Nevertheless they manage to stumble on to two good secrets, work out a connection and set about restoring order. A book to enjoy if you are worried about the restrictions children now seem to face – lots of car travel, long study hours and a growing tendancy to lock themselves into Facebook friendships. 

With the questions A Place to Play throws up about the value of childhood plus corrupting power, climate change and genetics, it would certainly work well as a book club choice. And it’s guaranteed to make you want a cup of steaming hot chocolate the way Martha likes it best – with a bar of chocolate on the side.

Over to you
If you and your child/ren were curating an art show about the joys of childhood what would you include?

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2 Comments on “Can ghosts teach you stuff?”

  1. homemadekids Says:

    From Facebook:
    Tim: nice, I enjoyed reading your blog. I had a water meter installed in my house in Yorkshire. Moral obligation! good for you…

  2. nicola baird Says:

    From Nicky: lovely blog postings


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