The Norfolk Waste Partnership conference was a fantastic event. Welcomed by a fabulous looking bin lorry brought all the way from Somerset, the conference came with a great line-up of speakers and an audience of around 200 people. So amongst a sea of manufacturers, waste-professionals, portfolio holders, councillors and master composters I couldn't help but feel like a bit of gatecrasher...watching on as a member of the public, witnessing how agencies, local authorities and retailers are working hard to save our planet.
I was going to do a write up about the event today, but somehow on a wet Friday morning in Suffolk it all feels a bit too serious, too work-like and would somehow detract from the essence of the blog.
So instead, I'll tell you how bizarre it was to be hooked up to a wireless microphone, how odd it was to be stood on stage and how surreal it was to be promoting the growing band of zero waste bloggers who are having an untold influence on thousands of readers regarding waste issues.
I'll also mention how relieved I was not to have fallen off the stage and how pleased I was that I hadn't accidentally tucked my dress into my tights. Just imagine the shame. However, I do think that when I let out a sigh of relief as the first seminar came to a close...that the microphone may just have still been on... oops, oh dear! But eh we live and learn! So during the second seminar, I got in my stride, thoroughly enjoying the experience, no phews and no worrying about live microphones.
I would have loved to have stayed, to network and chat but I had to make a quick dash to head back to Bury St Edmunds.
And it's a good job I left when I did, as I found myself in slow traffic along the A140. I should have sensed the doom and gloom of the traffic jam that lay ahead. As I crawled along at 10 miles an hour I noticed the signs that said "bypass needed now". Stuck in the car and wanting to be home, I couldn't help but agree with the protesters. If I'd known a man with a digger I would have called and helped them out.
Just past Diss a sugar beet lorry pulled out and I trailed behind it all way to Bury St Edmunds. I could tell I was nearly home and as I looked upon the pile of beet making its way to the local sugar factory, I remembered the other job I had to do.
Blimmin 'eck. It was nearly 6 o'clock and I'd almost forgotten I'd planned to make jam
So with the kids in bed, I reached into the fridge and pulled out the strawberries that I'd left soaking in a bowl of preserving sugar. In the pan they went along with the syrup residue, gently warming on the hob. I added some lemon juice, then turned up the heat to boil for 10 minutes before testing it on a chilled saucer.
And hey presto - result! If I'd been sat on a chair, I would have fallen off in amazement. I'd actually made my very first jam. And it was dead easy. Apart from the Mount Vesuvius experience, which has left my hob in a sticky mess.
I suppose the moral of this story is that despite its air of mystery, making jam is actually just as easy as recycling. It's just that I've never bothered before, thinking it was too much of a faff especially when you can buy it off the shelf with no bother. Like everything else all it needs is a little knowledge, a little time and the right motivation.
The truth is making a few jars of jam is quicker and requires less effort than making a Sunday roast. How bizarre is that!
I suppose it was the perfect bizarre ending to a perfectly bizarre day.
So thanks to the folk of Norfolk for putting up with me, thanks to David Roman of Monmouthshire Community Recycling for a great workshop and thanks to Strawberry Jam Anne for the inspiration to make some good old-fashioned jam.
After all that, I think it's time for me put my feet up and grab a slice of well-earned jam on toast. I now need all the strength I can muster to clean up that blimmin' hob!
Friday, 24 October 2008
Labels: Making Jam