Last week I stumbled over Think Green Thursday , and even though this blog is primarily meant for play I couldn't resist... I grew up amongst a group of green advocates. I was made aware of the horrors of fossil fuel use, water wastage, recycling errors and the like at an early and impressionable age, and monitoring, say, my toilet-flushing habits or light switch usage has (at times somewhat sadly) become second nature. It was therefore a total no-brainer that any house I would one day perhaps acquire would need to be - or become - an ecohouse. The trouble started when we fell in love with a 17th century cottage that was well beyond its sell-by date. Trying to combine the need to conserve the old building fabric with energy efficiency was a long journey, mainly because it turned out that almost nobody had done it before and that nobody could help us do it. We also found out along the way that we had every well-known problem, and then some. All we could do was to become our own experts and, to the deep regret of the DIY-hating husband, our own builders (a good work-out). I was nevertheless convinced that the outcome would be fantastic. And it was. The cottage is now green, sustainable, energy-efficient, warm, beautiful, damp-free, renovated to proper conservation standards and with all mod cons. And, no, we're not rich and it didn't cost us more then it would have cost doing a standard renovation. It did need a bit of thinking, but that doesn't seem a big investment if it means we can both look after the environment and our own comfort and happiness. When I look around the village and see how many people live in cold, uncomfortable houses and are unhappy with their oil-heating and environmental performance I dearly wish more would follow suit with just a small improvement or two.
Some 14 days ago there was a heat wave (as in: a few days when the temperatures rose above 22 C) and so we had growth of luxurious proportions in our experimental flumes:
These filamentous algae are not the same as the smaller planctonic algae which cause the dreaded toxic algal blooms. They are just the chaps nobody wants to tread on when getting into a fresh water lake because they're dreadfully slimy. They are a food source and only take over if there are too many nutrients in the water - and too much sun :)
All my life I've loved being on boats. I'm not a good swimmer but there's nothing greater than stopping by in a little cove to hang out, enjoy the view, read a little, sleep a little and dip into crystal waters in between. These outings, even though just once year, do make me feel guilty, seeing that most motor boats are terrible fossil fuel consumers and general polluters.
Here, however, is the end of a lazy afternoon, the captain ready to start and the dog tied up so that she won't fall into the water while the boat speeds towards the harbour to take us back to dinner.
If you've been to Argentina, you will be well aware that this is the land of meat. I am not a great meat eater, but even I had to admit that the bife de lomo I tasted in Buenos Aires was the best meat I've eaten ever and undeniably tasty.
As a bonus, I also discovered that their way to dispose of all the animal remains is undeniably scenic ;)
Have a look at more garbage at this weeks PhotoHunt, hosted by TNchick.
Siracusa is fantastically beautiful, but I saw far too little of it, because I just went dancing (one terrible side effect of the other engrossing hobby: turning into a nightowl). This sunset, however, happened just after we had breakfast - so I was still fresh and able to snap.
I started my working life as a film maker. Then I began to feel useless and became a scientist instead. I love my new job but I can't give up cameras completely. Now I have accumulated so many photos that they're quite squashed in their digital box - so please click on them for instant liberation. If you want to know what cameras I use you have to click to see the complete profile.