Sunday, 6 September 2009

Never let a good friend go to waste!

"Yes, please" came the reply to my offer of a night in savouring the delights of gin and tonic.

Aren't good friends fabulous!

One minute I'd been feeling sorry for myself for having to cancel a few social events last week, due to feelings of pain and discomfort arising from my wrist.

The next, there was a plan in place, something which I could look forward to; an opportunity to raise a glass and enjoy a good catch up with a great friend and some mother's ruin.

"And I'll empty your dodgy Bokashi bin too" she added.

Blimmin' 'eck. That's an offer you don't get every day, especially when it involves excavating an almost solid layer of mould infested ick from the Bokashi bin thanks to the untreated cheese that was accidentally left to fester for several weeks while we were on holiday.

Mr A has been too busy pegging it around the region outlining housing growth options, so hasn't had a chance to sort it out - not that the Bokashi bin is his department anyway. He's got enough to do with planning and housing strategies this month. Domestic mould infested cheesy bran concoctions are trivial by comparison and besides, ever since my commitment to keep food waste from landfill, the bins are mainly my domain, for which I am always more suitably dressed.

But my limp wrist has been too weak and painful to deal and I've since got used to the notion that it would have to wait until I'm on the mend again.

So the suggestion to have it dealt with was very much welcome,

Of course, to be polite, I initially refused the kind offer from my friend.

It actually reminded me of the days as a student when I would decline the odd £5 note kindly offered by older relatives. Eventually I'd accept, knowing I really could do with the help, but not until the pre-requisite banter had taken place first... "honestly you shouldn't"..."no really, I'd liked to"..."please take it"..."I insist"..."ok then, you are very kind, thank you".

However, knowing what was good for me - and indeed my sensitive stomach - it didn't take long to say yes to the Bokashi disposal services.

Her only insistence beyond this wonderful offer of help was to ensure a supply of rubber gloves.... and to be paid "danger money" in the form of Abbots, an alternative currency upheld by our local bartering group, Bury LETS - and not to be confused with religious men in habits.

So the evening came and expecting the worst, my good friend arrived with a change of clothes, which were accessorised with some rubber gloves and safety goggles. It's a shame I couldn't find the dust mask too.

But it wasn't actually that bad. A few slaps and tickles of the mouldy tundra soon saw it despatched to the black bin, representing one of the rare deposits of food waste to landfill during the last 19 months and the only Bokashi disaster during the same time period - which shows if I can manage it for such a long time, it can't be that hard.

And now the Bokashi bin is ready and waiting for National Zero Waste Week, which begins tomorrow.

However, we have so little cooked food waste these days, I've decided we're going to make a special effort not to use it this week, especially now that we've got used to our alternative feathered weapons against food waste, aka the chickens who reside in our suburban back garden.

But I am still extremely grateful for my friend's assistance as well as for her companionship vis-a-vis helping me later that evening with the gin and tonic.

Ah that's one thing that would be impossible to waste. And I've even got some ideas for what to do with the empty bottle, but that's another story that will have to wait until it's finished.

Hopefully it won't take long.

Well it is National Zero Waste Week after all and what a great excuse to celebrate.

Especially if my friends never have to go near my Bokashi bin ever again!

And if I never have to witness another episode of Mr A's post-holiday mould-ridden bokashied cheese.


More information about National Zero Waste Week 2009 can be found at More details about Bokashi composting - which is a very effective system for managing cooked food waste - can be found at



Anonymous said...


I'm glad you're feeling a bit happier :0)
I don't know what you're planning with the gin bottle, but can I suggest Sloe (or Damson) gin? Delicious, excellent low waste Christmas present and Mr A could get some fresh air and excercise after his stressful week by coming out to help carry the box etc! If you do make some, drain the gin off after 3 months, destone the sloes (boring but not hard) and chop up a bit. Mix with melted dark chocolate and set in small amounts. Do NOT drive if you eat more than 1 or 2 of these! Mmmmm! Not sure how these could be wrapped as a gift in a zero waste way? Any ideas? I would have used a cellophane bag before, but there must be a better way.

Progress is being made here. Grown-up BS isn't being too difficult and has been told he should stop before he bins anything!
I'm really pleased that I have found the local milkman delivers (relatively) local organic milk in glass bottles. Previously (in our old house) we could only get non organic in glass, and had to have cartons or plastic for organic, which seemed rather strange. So I'm very happy and the children are very excited by milk appearing on the doorstep (it doesn't take much to excite my children! LOL!)
I've also started an email correspondence with Tesco as to why they won't let me put anything in their carrier bag recycling except carrier bags. They are being very unhelpful, with absolutely minimum information in the replies, whereas Sainsburys (we live the same distance from both shops) will let you put any polythene in and were very helpful indeed. I've sent Sainsbury's reply to Tesco, and am waiting for an answer...

John Costigane said...

Hi Mrs A,

Reusing food waste is the better choice, with chickens, and other birds, ever-eager to fill their beaks. My visitors are rooks and jackdaws, the locals.

Evil Edna said...

payment in gin and abbotts mmmm sounds like a card game! best wishes


Hi Hazel - thanks for the top tip on the Sloe Gin. Looks like I'm going to be in need of more foraging experience. Re packaging, a cellophane bag is okay if you have a compost bin to put it in as it's made of cellulose which biodegrades. Great news about the BS and I love the story about the milk deliveries. Have you tried getting juice yet? Getting fruit juice delivered in milk bottles is another experience entirely. As far as Tesco are concerned, all I can say is "Go girl"! Fantastic and keep at it. I discovered last week that our local Waitrose has extended their plastic bag facilities too, even allowing the inner bags in the cereal boxes to be added. When you get in touch with Tesco, ask them about 10:10 (see my latest link on the right hand side of my blog - at the top). :-D

Hi John - you're absolutely right. It's also quite handy you've got some big birds flying in. Sounds like they can handle mostly everything. :-D

Hi Evil Edna - Now that sounds like a very good idea. I can always rely on your great ideas though...thank you :-D

mrs green said...

Ewwww, now that *is* a good friend indeed. I had a friend who once cleaned my oven for me - gorgeous woman that she is.

Glad it's all sorted now and I hope your wrist continues to heal.


Oh Mrs G, she's a very good friend indeed. I'm continuing to rest my wrist between blogposts, but in the meantime, my method of typing remains odd at all times :-D

Layla said...

'alternative feathered weapons' lol!!

hmm, the bokashi sounds eeky.. we do put some cheese/dairy remnants on our compost heap though, in small quantities and not in one big chunk but many small pieces.. so far, so good..

about reusing bottles - we made blueberry brandy this year again and it's YUM!
Dad's also made some kind of high-alcohol brew with lots of herbs, from a recipe he may or may not have stuck to! :)

Beware about cellophane - I read it can come in different varieties and so please double-check if it can really biodegrade? Some may be polypropylene etc.

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