Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Reccomending Zen Books

Recently I downloaded 3 books by Reverend Meiten of Vancouver Island Zen Centre .

I did read the first one in paperback form a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot, now I am reading e books where possible so I was very pleased to see these books available.

Derelict House in Leazes Park (Part 2)

I have read the reply to "David"s Freedom of Information request to Newcastle City Council, and it seems that the house can not be refurbished or retrofitted as it has subsidence and Newcastle City Council has already tried to refurbish it.
I did actually think when reviewing my photo, that the house appeared to be leaning to one side!

A mystery still remains about why there is a "To Let" sign on a derelict house. "To Let" for what purpose?

Monday, 29 December 2014

More nice things in Leazes Park



The winter light shows off the wonderful green on the moss and lichen (and mushrooms) on the tree trunks in Leazes Park.

Its good to get out in the fresh air at this time of the year when there is so little daylight.



I liked the subtle colours on this flowering bush, very wintry somehow.

Leazes Park Derelict House To Let (Newcastle City Centre)



This is the house in Leazes Park which has been falling gradually into a derelict state. We have seen police vans parked outside many times, also lots of vandalism, and then the security fence went up.
Now it appears to be "To Let".

"David" posted a Freedom of Information request to Newcastle City Council about the house which can be seen
here

I decided to think of the best use for the house and came up with the following.
The house should be totally refurbished in its original style. It shall be retrofitted to an energy rating of A+.
It shall include solar panels in the roof or a turf roof, depending on what would suit its position most.
It shall have rainwater capture to recycle rainwater to flush the toilets.
The Ash tree in its garden shall have a Tree Preservation Order and some bat boxes fitted to its trunk. There shall be a Community Garden with bee hives and visits from local schoolchildren to work in the garden and learn about eco-houses.
Sponsorship for this retrofit shall come from one of the companies in the local area who market themselves as eco-pioneers. In return they can get free publicity.

As the location of the house is currently putting it at risk of vandalism, it shall be rented out at low rent to a suitable tenant, such as a bail hostel, police or army personell, as part of the tenancy the tenants must never leave the house unattended at night, have a secure line to the local police station, and make nightly patrols of the garden and park.
The house shall be open to the public and schools by appointment for us to learn about energy efficiency.
What do you think?


Friday, 26 December 2014

Ivy, Leazes Park



Some Ivy on a tree in Leazes Park.

The Christmas dinner I had planned went quite well, except the pudding had to be taken off the menu as I realised it would take 1 and a half hours in a conventional oven, much quicker in the microwave but the kitchen we were working in did not have a microwave!
Also I realised it would not work to prepare the potatoes the day before as they would not keep properly once they were cut.
So they had to be done Christmas Day morning.
Everything else went really well.
I realise a few years ago such unexpected (yet trivial) obstacles would have put me in a very bad mood. Being more flexible is so much easier.
So thanks to Zen Practice for that.


Monday, 22 December 2014

Vegetarian or Vegan Christmas Dinner





These two nut loaf type thingies have been bought in advance from Tesco and I decided to use the smaller "artisan" one as it doesn't need to be kept frozen.






For the last few years I have tried to do as little as possible at Christmas, except visiting those family members who would suffer unduly if I enforced my Christmas boycott on them.

If you want to try a vegan Chistmas pudding, this one from the Co-op proved very popular last year so we will try it again this year. It works well with lashings of Alpro custard.

At the moment I am enjoying roasted vegetables, and these go very nicely with nut roasts.
Put Leeks, potatoes, parsnips, carrot and beetroots sliced and arranged in a metal baking tray.
Pour a small amount of olive oil over them and bake them on high heat in the oven.
If you are visting your relatives you can prepare the vegetables the day before to cut down on the stress. Then, put them in the baking tray and wrap the whole thing in foil to transport it.
Its always a good idea for vegetarians and vegans to take food rather than expect their hosts to cook for them, but check beforehand to make sure, first, that there will be room for your dish in your host's oven.
The veggies do need to be cooked in a hot oven, times vary depending on quantities.

Sometimes Christmas can be a good excuse to buy necessary items for people who for whatever reason are not able to shop for themselves.
In many cases there are people who don't need material goods but still need something.
For those people you can give handwritten or printed certificates tailored to their needs, such as
"I Promise to do 3 hours babysitting"
"car wash and valet"
"Trip to supermarket"
"Tile Your Bathroom"
"3 Hours Gardening"
"I Will Completely Clean your Oven so it Appears Brand New"

More ideas at Buy Nothing Christmas


Pylons and Moss, North Tyneside Green Spaces




North Tyneside Nature Trail (Robin)



Thursday, 11 December 2014

Leazes Park, Berries

We don't yet know a identification name for this tree but it looks really nice in winter when it has its berries on.

Newcastle Quayside

Jeff took these photos of Newcastle quayside and buildings beyond from the Gateshead side of the Tyne.








Tynemouth Long Sands

A recent visit to Tynemouth Long Sands saw the afternoon light fading fast. Look at the horizon to see the December afternoon light.



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