How to clean the glass of a wood burning stove

I was looking for a way to clean soot off our stove last year but couldn’t find much advice apart from to use scrunched up newspaper.  Now, thanks to the chap who came to service the stove last week, I have a much better answer.  Metal polish, applied with a toothbrush works like a dream.

Now that the summer is more or less over, I can’t wait for the first fire of the winter.  It’s also a pretty sustainable option in terms of heating the house as well, and cheaper than gas or electricity.

Monday afternoon update and links

So the Big Lunch went very well.  Lots of our lovely neighbours came round, drank elderflower cordial and ate cake.  There was much discussion about how some of them had lived in their houses for 20 years and only knew their most immediate neighbours, and wasn’t it nice to meet everyone else at last.  Generally a great time was had by all.

Next year we are already planning a proper street party – closing the road and everything, which should be very exciting and Jubilee-like.  Who knows whether it will actually happen, we shall see.

This week, I have been reading about Puma’s new – more sustainable shoe box, and minimalism.

Hope you all had good week-ends.

***UPDATE!***

I’ve just noticed Citybumpkin is one of Interflora’s top 50 flower and garden blogs!

Should really write a garden update soon then…

Friday afternoon links

A few links I thought were worth passing on this week:

First of all a couple of brilliant videos from The Big Lunch, one on how to make bunting out of plastic bags, the other on how to carve snails out of courgettes and radishes – awesome!

Which reminds me, of this post from the wonderful My Paper Crane on making mushrooms out of radishes.  Radishes, it turns out, are the sculpting material of the vegetable world.

Secondly, have a look at unclutterer.com, because I discovered it this week and I LOVE it.  All kinds of tips on how to unclutter your life, which is a bit of a pet subject of mine.  The good news is that uncluttering your life can involve buying more pairs of scissors!  Hurrah.

Finally, cut your carbon by 10% in 2010 with 1010, and finally, buy a bike made of bamboo!

Have a lovely week-end.

The Trashcatchers’ carnival!

When it comes to sustainability, it’s not always easy to get people’s attention.  However if you’ve got a 20ft, animatronic, carrot wielding giant on your side,  it’s hard to be missed.  The Trashcatchers’ carnival blew into Tooting this afternoon in a whirl of colour, sound and excitement.

Everything in the carnival had been made out of ‘trash’.  Project Phakama, Emergency Exit Arts & Transition Town Tooting have been working together to make the various carnival characters along with over 800 local residents, school children, members of community groups and clubs.  In all, they used over 1 million plastic bottles and shopping bags, half a million crisp packets, half a ton of renewable willow and half a ton of other materials.

The star of the show had to be the awesome gardening giant, but the carnival also featured an enormous turtle, elephants, fish, foxes, birds and insects.  The whole procession was led by the beautiful Sankofa bird.

The Sankofa bird is a particularly fitting symbol for the carnival, and for Transition Town Tooting in general.  She is an ancient West African creature who looks forward and backwards in a single glance.  She reminds us that sometimes we have to go back to our roots to move forwards.  This is the message of the carnival.  Even in a large urban town such as Tooting, we can take steps to overcome our oil

The Sankofa Bird

dependence and our waste problems by going back to our roots, slowing down, and taking a fresh look at how we consume food and goods.

The carnival will act as a powerful reminder to all who witnessed it that the people of Tooting are creative and flamboyant enough to rise to this and any other challenge.

Lucy Neal, co-chair of Transition Town Tooting said:

Individually we may seem insignificant, but when we connect up in a community, we are very strong, we can make a huge difference. We are thrilled at how well it’s come together and amazed at the support we have received from the people of Tooting.

The powered vehicles in the procession were fuelled by recycled vegetable oil.  Many of the vehicles were powered by bike.  Hundreds of fantastically attired carnivalistas danced the route on foot.

The event finished up with a sharing picnic in Fishponds playing fields.  By the time the last float arrived, there were hundreds of people there to welcome them and continue the carnival spirit with some locally made spicy potato curry and elderflower cordial.

I don’t know how much the amazed spectators would have known about the carnival and what it stands for, but I hope they will be inspired to search for it online and find out more.

The day was a huge success and a really incredible spectacle – huge congratulations to all the organisers and all of those who took part.  Tooting has never seen anything like it!

One thing is for sure, the momentum gained over the last few weeks and months will certainly spill over from today into ongoing projects.  This heightened visibility on Tooting’s High Road must raise the profile in the area and help all of Transition Town Tooting’s causes.

Transition Town Tooting is planning a Big Launch on the 12th of July, and a Foodival later this year.  See their website for more details.

City bumpkin podcast 7 – Transition Town Tooting

On July 4th, the bizarre and fabulous Trashcatchers’ Carnival will hit Tooting high street!

Some months ago, I spoke to David and Malsara Thorne of Transition Town Tooting to find out about the Transition Town movement and how the plans for the carnival were coming along.  It is going to be a fantastic event, so do follow their blog to find out more, and block out your diary for the 4th of July!

There will also be the Transition Town Tooting Big Launch on Monday 12th July, and the Tooting Foodival on September 19th.  More information on both events will be on the Transition Town Tooting main blog.

Or click here to listen in a new window

There’s some very interesting stuff in the podcast about recycled cooking oil.  The oil company is called Uptown Oil.

The City Bumpkin podcast map!