Cigarettes and whiskey and wild wild smugglers

New Year’s Day dawned like Christmas Day in Gib. Slowly and damp.

There was probably an extremely good fireworks display – well it was certainly noisy – but we spent 30 or 40 minutes stroking and reassuring a trembling shaking dog who was having a panic attack.

Enough of festivities, let’s look at some news.

Festive lights
Festive lights

I see the Gib Govt has brought in a new recycling scheme for paper and cardboard. This is a good thing, is it not?

Apparently, like the rest of Europe, we have a target to recycle 50% of all household waste by 2020. We are nowhere near that. In fact I have no idea where we are, apart from low, as the government press release didn’t say what the current figures are.

Now, I have a gripe with this somewhat pie-in-sky figure-plucked-out-of-the-air target.

As with Spain, commercial businesses use domestic rubbish bins and the existing recyclers for glass and plastic bottles/cartons/cans.

So, does someone sift through the recyclers and the rubbish bins separating the rubbish, saying oh yes, this comes from roughseas flat, she’s put a little tag around her rubbish so that is domestic, and this bottle here comes from the Piccadilly bar and this carton here comes from … etc etc?

To my knowledge there is no commercial refuse collection. Well, if there is, I’ve never seen it.

We live near two tobacconists. One puts cartons outside the domestic bins near us. Another puts them outside other bins, just up the street.

Cigarette and whiskey cartons
Cigarette and whiskey cartons

It would seem entirely sensible if the aspiration is to recycle waste, to include commercial waste in that. Or at least fudge the figures and pretend they were domestic as that way you will reach your target faster.

In which case, why are there no proposed paper/cardboard recycling bins on Main Street near these two shops? Because although the nearest one will be literally only two minutes walk away, it is uphill to the back streets on the border with Upper Town. Quite frankly, you don’t run a business and walk out of your way to drop off all your cigarette and bottle cartons. They could easily have put something nearer for both these two shops who throw cartons out every single day of the week.

That’s before I’ve even mentioned the deli/mini-market, the café in John Mack Hall, the tax office, Lloyds TSB, the lighting shop, Saverland, the list is endless. Paper and cardboard recyclers are needed either on Main Street or just off. They could go in a parking bay (after all we are trying to encourage less driving), or they could be put underground like some of the rather swish Spanish ones.

Good idea. But I’m not convinced it’s well thought through. After all, looking at this shot of our local bins – what’s on top? A tetra brick carton of skimmed milk from Mercadona. They can now be recycled in the can bank. But the nearest bin is more than five minutes walk away, and why walk when you can just chuck it outside your house?

Semi-skimmed milk carton - not being recycled
Semi-skimmed milk carton – not being recycled

Although, in theory, we should be having some glass and plastic/can bins added to the proposed paper/cardboard one, two minutes walk away. Still, I doubt my idle neighbours will walk up there. Big culture change needed here.

In Spain we have a plastic/can recycler virtually outside our house. Fortunately not right outside but a mere 30 seconds walk down the street. It gets used. Down the town, five minutes away, we have a bottle bank, cardboard/paper, and cooking oil. At the church (also five minutes or so), we have a clothes bank.

And while I agree with the concept of re-cycling – in many different ways – and not wasting precious resources, I do wonder how much of this is lip service.

But speaking of cigarettes however, just before new year, a Spanish woman was arrested for allegedly possessing 120,000 Red Ducal cigarettes (whatever they may be). The cheapest cigarettes here are less than £2 a packet, so we are looking at somewhere between £10K and £20K outlay for those cigarettes. Who the hell is funding that? Because I sure don’t walk into a tobacconist with ten grand in my pocket.

The limit, incidentally to take across the frontier, is 200 per person. And that’s not every day either, as far as I know, it is once a month, but as I don’t smoke, don’t hold me to that.

However, a Spanish colleague on the building site smoked, and took out 200 fags a day to sell to his local estanco in the provincia de Cádiz. Apparently even the Guardia Civil used to go in there and buy cheap fags. He did say if he ever got pulled and registered on the computer, he wouldn’t take any more out for another month. Hence the monthly rule.

An even bigger arrest before new year was a drugs bust. Amazingly the Guardia Civil and the Gib Defence Police managed to co-operate on this one, when a boat was lurking suspiciously in the Straits of Gib. The Chron report is somewhat unclear about what happened. People in RIB escaped, and the next thing they were arrested in Gib! Either they escaped or they didn’t. Anyway, the bottom line is they had 460 kilos of cannabis resin worth an estimated £2.3 mill on the street.

But this is how the GC and Gib forces should be working – to deter smuggling of drugs, and tobacco, not having stupid spats over fishing in British Gib waters.

Yet there appears to be no let-up in the territorial waters ‘dispute’ aka illegal invasions by Spain into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW).

Diamond Jubilee flotilla sails around the Rock marking Brit Gib waters
Diamond Jubilee flotilla sails around the Rock marking Brit Gib waters

An extract from a Gib govt press release:

BRITAIN CONFIRMS SPANISH MEDIA REPORTS WRONG

Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar notes the reports in Spanish news media suggesting that meetings have been held between UK and Spanish officials on “joint management of the marine environment” in what they erroneously refer to as “the disputed waters around the Rock.”

These reports have, rightly, been immediately denied by the Foreign Office in London in clear and unequivocal terms. The FCO statement illustrates that the Spanish media reports are simply wrong.

The fact is that the management of the marine environment in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters is a matter exclusively for the Government of Gibraltar. For that reason, there is no question of any “joint management” with Spain being agreed in respect of BGTW.

There is even less likelihood that the UK Government might be engaging on reaching such arrangements – given that they have no Constitutional competence whatsoever to do so in respect of environmental matters and no mandate to do so insofar as related Sovereignty issues might be relevant.

Or at least, I certainly hope the UK govt isn’t doing dirty deals behind our back.

Next we will have Obama telling us to accept a US/Spanish peacekeeping force to control the rebellious natives.

I referred to the governor’s Christmas speech on my last post, and have found a copy. I’ll finish with some of his words:

There have been so many good things to celebrate in this Diamond Jubilee year but it is deeply frustrating that at the same time we have had to deal with so many challenges to our sovereignty from our Spanish neighbours. Illegal fishing activity and incursions into our waters by Spanish state vessels have been a persistent theme through most of the year and have made heavy demands on our security and law enforcement agencies.

In recognition of this, I was pleased recently to award my personal commendations to the marine units and sections of the Royal Gibraltar Police, the Gibraltar Defence Police and to the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron in acknowledgement of their skill and professionalism in dealing with confrontations on an almost daily basis in the most testing of circumstances, and often in the face of serious pressure and provocation.

But in this uncertain world one thing we have always been sure of is the Queen herself. Her dedication, her dignity, her steadfastness have been constants that have helped bind us all together under her Crown. She has been our Rock and lest anyone has any doubts, Gibraltar is her Rock, hers alone, and no-one else’s to claim.

Sir Adrian Johns, Governor of Gibraltar.

The Rock of Gibraltar
The Rock of Gibraltar

I’ll be writing more about the Treaty of Utrecht this year, signed 300 years ago this April, and the continual claims by Spain, both by diplomacy and by force, to retake Gibraltar against the wish of the people of the Rock.

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44 comments on “Cigarettes and whiskey and wild wild smugglers

    • Hmm, the Gib govt press releases are not as objective as they should be. IMO.

      I doubt there is a policy. If there is, it probably refers to Gibraltar USA (Michigan I think). I was being flippant as I had been reading some recently released govt papers about the Falklands and America’s attempted intervention, – for another post – but suffice to say, Reagan was all for ceding FI to Argentina. It didn’t go down well.

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      • You’re right — the US seems to have no Gibraltar policy. At least, not that I could find on a quick run through the web. But reading between the lines and around the issue, the policy seems to be: don’t take a stand either way. Which makes neither side happy.

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        • Actually, I would prefer the US not get involved! It is between three states. And it is only between three because Spain won’t give up its claim. Gib is happy as it is. One assumes the UK is happy with the status quo. Spain legally ceded Gibraltar. That’s two out of three happy and the law – in theory – on our side. To me, there should be no discussion about it. But, when I start doing Treaty of Utrecht posts, I’ll look at some of the issues.

          Thanks for looking by the way :)

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          • I do share that view, but I think that applies to all countries.

            The trouble is, America seems to consider itself the self-appointed moral, righteous and economic leader of the world. I know many Americans don’t agree with that, but others do, holding a genuine belief that their country really is superior to others.

            And foreign policy is so much more exciting than boring domestic issues like making people have jobs, food, houses, tackling crime (your point in your blog post about safety), and providing good health care and education. Who’d want to do that when you can flit around the international arena?

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          • Have you noticed when people have their own lives in chaos and out of control they are very quick to jump in and tell others how to run their lives – so they don’t have to recognize or fix what is wrong in their own lives? It deflects attention from doing unpleasant difficult stuff.
            Somehow that looks like what is going with the US.
            (It’s even in the Pres’ philosophy as expressed by his staff from Chicago: They repeatedly laugh “never let a good crisis go to waste. It’s a chance to push agenda”)
            The US is very divided right now. Anyone who disagrees with another is childishly and brutally ridiculed at a personal level – nasty politics. Not sure it will turn around
            It will only get worse as serious world history isn’t taught/learned by those coming up. No framework of knowledge. Only emotionally lead population that is easy to lead. Not good for anyone

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  1. We here have just had a few programs on TV about our recycling, and as yours it is supposed to reach the magical 50% by 2020, We, as of England, have apparently reached the 42% so not far away. But they also showed that if it was run and organised better then this mark would be reached easily. But it seems our councils cannot afford to do it the way they are expected. People are to be charged, not sure how it works or even if it is liked.. I live in a small block and they do not provide a system, or different bins,. And the bin lorries are rarely separating the garbage. So a large amount is still going to tips, and not recycle centres. However for the large goods there is several centres, reasonably local for me but not all people have this…So it is training for all I would think…Happy new year roughseas and thanks for your reads….;)

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    • Thanks for that insight Gerry. When we last had a house in the Uk we had a bottle bin, a paper one, and the garden one. But in the village the bins never seemed to be big enough for a once weekly collection. Recycling within parameters because if you had too much – it wouldn’t be collected. How crazy is that? At least in Gib and Spain (due to the heat?) the rubbish is collected far more often.

      I don’t think personal recycling bins is the way to go. Ironically I went to Germany some 30 years ago and they were doing all this back then.

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  2. Recycling in Costa Rica has been carried out, up to now, by dumping everything in a landflll outside the capital where people from the shanty town which has grown up alongside sort and sell.

    The city council have just announced that they are to award a contract for a recycling plant – probably to a foreign firm as usual – which has roused uproar in said shanty town. No need for them to worry for a generation though, as that’s how long it usually takes for the bribery competition for public works contracts to be finalised.

    I look forward to the post on the Treaty of Utrecht…was this one of the treaties in which the fortifications of Dunkirk had to be disgruntled ….according to my favourite historians Sellers and Yeatman.

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    • I read something elsewhere about people making a living by taking from the council tips and flogging it on, it probably was central or latin america. Could have been a load of places though. Seems sound enough to me for people to earn a living.

      Treaty of Utrecht involved an awful lot. And lots of countries, guess I better add more than Gibraltar to my posts.

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  3. That was the joint Brazillian/American peace keeping force proposed by Reagan with a view to preventing the complete humiliation of the Argentinians. I wouldn’t put anything past Cameron though. Not sure the Spanish have much to offer right now.

    As for recycling, I have a box that gets emptied every week into which I put paper, cardboard, bottles (glass and plastic), tins, cream/yoghurt cartons and the like. We then have food waste and landfill collections too, but my landfill waste is so little now I put it out about once every 2 months.

    I agree with Pippa, lets ban all fireworks. Its just burning money. You could run a large animal sanctuary for a year with the amount of money burnt just in London last night.

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    • Spot on. But I may still write a post about it. Those of us who remember the Thatcher days have such strong memories of it all, and it is interesting to look back with hindsight. Far be it for me to say bring back Maggie, but ….

      Not sure if Cameron should have been an estate agent or a used car salesperson because that’s what he looks like. Sleaze personified.

      Does anyone have anything to offer apart from dear Angela? Money my dears?

      Actually the UK does seem to have caught up with recycling based on the fact that most people are too idle to do it themselves so it needs to be done on the doorstep.

      I like fireworks. I didn’t like them enough last night to get out of bed. I didn’t like my dog being frightened. It’s another feelgood factor thing. Like the Olympics? Or the Jubilee? For what – half an hour or so? There should be a better way to celebrate new year.

      But what? A short period of silence and then ring 12 bells? Followed by some short music (meant to go on until 3am this morning in Casemates no idea if it did). I think it is time to rethink the firework displays though. Pippa certainly does.

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  4. I never liked fireworks, it was their association with cold wet November nights that did for me.

    Surely the chimes of big ben followed by a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne should be enough.

    Whenever I hear fireworks going off now, I always check my front garden for frightened pussy cats unable to go and hide in their own homes. Pippa needs to man up!!!

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    • I did like them. And we had wonderful bonfire parties. Cold but not wet and an extremely warm bonfire.

      I think chimes are good. Auld Lang Syne strikes me as being soppy and sentimental and totally OTT.

      Because actually old acquaintances are easily forgot.

      Never thought about frightened cats as well :( Pippa does not need to man up, person up or even dog up. People need to stop those horrid fireworks. Anyway he had toast today so all is well this year now.

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  5. I was reading here recently that some town or company was selling recycled glass pellets for a few dollars a ton.
    I am willing to bet the collection, transportation, and entire process of the glass recycling costed a thousand times that.
    Would have been cheaper and likely more efficient to have just tossed the glass bottles etc. in a landfill to begin with.

    Very interesting Gib news you provide!

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    • Some years ago, I’m saying probably 15 or 20, there were clear statements being made that recycling was not an option because it was not cost effective. And now it is?? What’s changed there apart from political will?

      My personal preference would be to recycle, but the emphasis should be on less consumption. And that will never work.

      Thank you Phil. I’m often puzzled that people do read my posts about Gibraltar and find it interesting, given that it is such a tiny place, but it’s where I live so I’m limited for subject matter :D

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  6. In my native Sweden, recycling has been somewhat of an obession for years. Now, the other week, I came across a news article somewhere, saying that Sweden was now so low on garbage, they had to import (!) …from Norway LOL. They needed the garbage to burn in some furnaces or whatever..

    When I came here, I was still very much under that influence, and had changed a bulb in a lamp. I went and asked G. where I should put the broken bulb but he didn’t really understand at first …. «in the garbage bin, of course?!»

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    • I did think about you when I started writing about the waste management/recycling aspect of the post :D

      Blimey, that is one major plan. Bet you didn’t read it. I might though. Of course, what is interesting is that when it was written it was a different government, as the GSLP won power in December.

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      • What is interesting about is the point that you raised – there is very little mention of commercial waste and then only at the very end. I think you should make sure you are a primary consultee on the revised plan!

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        • Confession. It was Partner who raised the issue of no commercial waste collection, so then I had to double check if there are business rates. There would appear to be. Strange. Anyway, I will read the plan at my leisure. But not now as I am not a woman of leisure today. Sadly.

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  7. LOL, not sure on your Gib recycling targets but AFAIK the UK agreed to some silly EU legislation that actually encourages the production of waste rather than minimising it – they agreed a target in terms of weight of recycled matter in x number of tons per year to be recycled. This means the UK needs to produce more waste so that it can recycle it and meet the weight target agreed.

    It seems to me that we should actually be aiming for avoiding waste entirely by reducing the packaging on food, toys etc and by encouraging people to buy quality products that last many years instead of cheap tat that lasts a few months. We should also be discouraging the fad of constantly buying new technology just for the sake of it. Sadly this won’t happen as governments make lots of money from people buying new cars, toasters, mobiles phones and TV’s every year instead of every decade and the government don’t care about the waste as it will simply pass on any fines or extra costs incurred through increased taxes.

    Yours cynically, Ian :-)

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    • I couldn’t agree more.

      Just had to laugh at that UK example. It is so farcical – it’s like something out of a crazy novel or satirical TV series – and yet I can believe it is true.

      Over-consumption is just ridiculous isn’t it? I really really hang onto things as long as possible.

      My old PC (IBM) lasted years, even despite getting blasted in a power-cut in Spain, I’d got it in 93/94, and grudgingly chucked it out a couple of years ago because the parallel port printer had died. Could probably have sorted that in retrospect.

      My fridge belonged to my mother. She got it when I was at university so we are talking more than 30 years. The freezer has packed up and the fridge drips regularly but it serves a purpose. We only really used the freezer for bread or to chill beer quickly.

      I’m sure I’ve written about it on Clouds. Oh yes. In fact I wrote a whole series on consumerism!!

      http://cloudsmovingin.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/consumerism-6-living-boxes/

      And on what we buy, buying locally is a good start. I find it ironic that in Morrisons here in Gib, we can buy organic tomatoes that, needless to state, originate in Spain, get shipped to the UK, packaged, and then trucked back down to Gib. How utterly stupid.

      Logistically it makes more sense to buy Dutch organic tomatoes from our perspective. I like organic because I have no garden in Gib, but the packaging drives me up the wall. Plastic, plastic everywhere.

      And as for people who just buy ready-made food, whether it is soup, packaged mixed salads, full meals – I just shake my head. a) it’s crap and b) you can’t tell me there is not enough time in the day to cook a meal when you get in from work.

      I know I no longer work and neither does E because you’ve said she has time to cook during the day, but when I did, I still cooked – or he did – and I made the bread when I fell in from work.

      We must be the most throw-away society with the least values ever.

      Yours even more cynically, roughseas :(

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      • Yep, we don’t buy pre-prepared food as a rule, most of our food is cooked from scratch by E however even the raw food is often packaged in excessive packaging. While we’d love to buy all our meat from the local butcher where it comes simply wrapped in some clingfilm, invariably we get quite a bit from the supermarket and it annoys me the size of the plastic trays that contain a few chicken breasts or some mince etc.

        I build my own PC’s, current one is now 5 years old and only the boards were bought new then as I re-used an existing old case and I expect it to last another 5 years before any further upgrade.

        E and I have only owned two mobile phones in ten years.

        My jap truck has now done 200K miles and while it is starting to show its age it will probably last another 20K miles before it needs some engine work. I see no need for people to be replacing their vehicles after just 30K miles as some do. As you know I’m refurbishing two old Land Rovers which will become our daily transport into our retirement (and will be passed on to our children). One of them is already 50 years old and the other 30 years old and I see no reason they won’t be still running in another 30 years – built to last! Sure they’ve had lots of new parts over the years but they’ll still have used up only a tiny fraction of the resources required to manufacture a new car every few years.

        We also use the solid fuel Rayburn which is designed to last 30+ years which means we don’t even own a microwave, electric oven etc.

        We are by no means perfect or even that environmentally friendly but we certainly don’t produce anywhere near the waste that some of our neighbours or work colleagues do. In fact allowing for the number of people living in our house we produce a fraction of what others throw away. Sign of the times though I guess as we are considered ‘quaint’ or ‘old fashioned’ with our way of life.

        However even E and I have noticed an increase in the waste we produce even when we try hard to avoid it. It seems that the volume of packaging has got significantly worse, not better, since this current recycling fad started!

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        • Our only food is a few vegetarian products. I avoid most of them but A likes a big breakfast. I tolerate the burgers for a brunch.

          Otherwise, nothing. I’d never buy ready-made lasagna for example. I hate eating it out and it looks just as vile in those pre-packaged meals. I know it’s easy to buy, heat up, compared with cooking pasta, making one or two sauces, cooking veg, blah blah, but what’s the point of eating something that tastes awful and is full of junk?

          Back when I was buying meat, I can’t remember how it was wrapped. Definitely not in cling film though. Something else I dislike :D When we sold bacon and cheese we wrapped it in film, but not cling film. It was very nice and kept everything really well. Never see it these days.

          I never did get into building a PC, not enough time, although I did like the idea of making one, didn’t seem that difficult, just fiddly. So now I indulge in the lovely Apple Hals.

          I think you win the prize on the mobiles! I’m not that keen on them, but A has always used them for work.

          All of our trucks added together don’t achieve that! But we’ve never travelled far for work either. The Series has about 50K. And it’s inbetween yours ie around 40 years old.

          Your last comment there is one of my pet gripes. I really don’t see how buying a new car every few years is more energy efficient that using one for 30, 40 or 50 years. Complying with emission requirements and buying a new car all the time is more energy-saving? It’s a bit like your comment on making more waste, to recycle more and reach targets. It just doesn’t hold water. It does however, keep the car manufacturers in business. And as per your previous comments, any problems can just help swell the coffers with fines or penalties or whatever.

          I’ve never bought a microwave. I inherited one with this flat (flogged it for £10) and I have my mother’s which sits on the fridge waiting for me to find that bit that goes inside and then I shall flog that too.

          If you are considered quaint or old-fashioned, I dread to think what we are considered. One of our snotty neighbours did refer to us as the Gosforth Hillbillies at one point. Another less snotty one in a previous house, did suggest we were rather ‘Good Life’ types. All I was doing was growing a few veg!!

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          • “Another less snotty one in a previous house, did suggest we were rather ‘Good Life’ types. All I was doing was growing a few veg!!”

            LOL, my own mother called our cottage a hovel and refused to come to stay or eat there for a long time – not because it was dirty or a derelict shell (well OK it was semi-derelict for a while but it was soon perfectly lovely) but rather because the veg we ate was ‘dirty’ as it had come from the garden and had slugs and caterpillars crawling over it (Lord knows where she thinks her M&S veg comes from!) and our solid fuel stoves are not ‘clean electric power like she is used to.

            The PC building is really easy and is far better because you can effectively just update a few components as required and re-use alot of the original parts such as the case, power supply etc. To me it seems far more sensible to re-use stuff you already have than to buy new and ‘recycle’ the old stuff by selling it on or binning it. Too many people think they are being ‘green’ by recycling their old equipment by passing it on to a recycling system when in fact the genuine ‘green’ thing would be to repair and re-use their existing items wherever possible. When I upgraded our PC some 5 years ago it cost just £400 to build a PC that was at the height of technology back then and it is still better performing than than most that you’d buy today, it should happily last another 5 years before needing another upgrade which will probably then just consist of new motherboard, CPU and memory as I’ll re-use the case, fans, DVD drives, PSU and even the hard drives.

            I’m not a fan of mobiles so I only have one to keep with me in the car in case I break down. I make virtually no calls on mine. In total I’ve owned just two mobiles since I got my first some 15 years ago. E also had a basic one when she worked but she no longer has that as she is at home most of the time. I find them too intrusive and IMHO too many people have become quite socially ignorant due to their addiction to their mobile. I find it extremely annoying if people come to visit us and in mid conversation they start texting or they answer their phone, quite rude as far as I’m concerned. Sadly some people can’t seem to bring themselves to turn the damn thing off. (Sorry if I’m ranting but it is a pet hate of mine ;-) )

            Yep, my annual mileage is very high so I’m far from green in that respect but in principle keeping a 50 year old car running is much more environmentally friendly than constantly buying new cars as long as your annual mileage is quite low. With the Land Rovers it is even better as they are easily re-engined with more modern engines. My 88″ is going to have a rebuilt 200TDi which should give 35-40mpg with my driving style which is itself a good improvement over original however I have plans to build another 109″ but fitted with a brand new VW engine that should give 50mpg along with some aerodynamic improvements. Now at 50mpg a refurbished 50 year old vehicle becomes massively more environmentally friendly for low annual mileages (say sub 3K miles) than buying a brand new eco car every few years. It won’t be too long before hybrid systems become cheap enough to consider swapping in too which extends the potntial life of Series trucks well past their 100th birthday. :-)

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          • I think you should write a post about recycling, especially the vehicle aspect.

            We tend to refer to our houses as hovels, or ‘somewhere to crash’. They are inevitably always scruffy until just before we decide to sell in which case they are suddenly transformed.

            And we got back into the mobile thing after A was in the UK and couldn’t ring me using public ‘phones. Well that’s what he said anyway :D But we’ve had them ever since, although I tend to use mine to look at the weather and check emails. About the only time we use them is cycling when he has shot off down the wrong street in town! and we’ve ended up splitting up.

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  8. Ha! So much fun to read! About recycling: I firmly believe in doing so, and here in Belgium, it’s rather easy, although I had to learn the hard way about glass vs. plastic recycling. (maybe I’ll blog about it sometime) In the US, it’s much harder. Some communities have no recycling at all, many, in fact. Bigger cities do, of course, and they make it very easy. But I have also often wondered if, even here in Belgium, is it someone’s job to sort through it all and put this type of drink carton with likes ones, and that kind with similar? Because you know the milk carton and the plastic bottle don’t go through the same recycling process.

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  9. That is quite an observation about commercial recycling. I know some places here do recycle, but it should be mandatory.
    We’ve recycled for some time but recently our city council has decided to no longer offer curb pick-up for glass. Drives me crazy. We load it up and drive over to the city’s big bin for glass. Most people will not bother. What a waste. If glass mixed in is a “hazard” or a problem couldn’t we just use a 2nd bin for glass? And why won’t they recycle the caps of plastic bottle?
    I do understand all the recycle mix globs get dumped and sorted at a big facility – guess that’s why they don’t want glass? Who knows. But it’s a waste. Glass of all things!
    (Ok going to go sit quietly over here….but it drives me crazy.)

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    • Back in the UK, we did have a weekly pick up for glass, paper and garden rubbish. But Germany was doing that at least 30 years ago. Telling people to recycle domestic waste and not telling businesses to do the same is a bit like saying, drive a small car while not telling businesses to stop their huge energy consumption.

      What would annoy me, would be having to drive to drop off the glass. Seems to me to be defeating the object.

      I’d so like to see the emphasis on less consumption of everything, but in a money driven, capitalist, consumer society that’s hardly going to be good for profits and shareholders is it?

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      • The consume, consume, consume drives things for sure. It’s so discouraging.
        But something is basically wrong when people are driven to refuse used but serviceable things in order to buy poorly made items that will fall apart and end up trashed. Forget “making do” or “good enough”
        Even the poor refuse used items offered to them for free? Too lazy or spoiled to repaint, repair, or clean? Or not so poor after all?
        Will a big crash be the only thing that can save humans from themselves? OK that’s a bit harsh. It’s the dreary rain.
        (We do try to group outing destinations: if going by library or post office, drop off the glass…try to not make special trips for one thing anymore.)

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        • I tells ya, we never refuse anything these days. Used to, but not now. Clothes, food, anything really. Why not? You’ll have seen the bike recycling posts I guess. We pass things on through freecycle and take from refuse at the skips. When we are fast enough.

          Big crash? Perhaps we need it?

          We haven’t driven for five or six weeks!

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  10. For some reason I was under the impression that waste segregation and recycling was well underway in the west! It is being made mandatory in our big cities, although not yet in Chennai!! A bit too late in my opinion.

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    • Ha! If you read some of the comments, part of the problem is down to politics (surprise surprise). And while ever people are not interested in preserving their environment, don’t want to walk five minutes to recycle something, it remains a token gesture. As I said above (I think!) germany had split recycling bins 30 years ago. Why are we all so slow off the mark? Money?

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  11. Great post – you are still receiving comments after 3+ weeks, and not just mine. I sympathise with Pippa… I’m fine with fireworks but they are scary for the furry ones who have no idea they are simply a festival adornment and not the end of the world.
    As I was catching up on posts this morning it was the words ‘cigarettes’ and ‘smugglers’ that caught my eye as we had a news item this morning http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/woman-sells-cigarettes-at-sydney-market/story-e6frfku9-1226574956203 which I think is more of a reflection that it is a slow news day, than anyone’s interested…
    Your post, and the comments around waste and recycling are interesting. I agree, I think there is still a lot of lip service. I’m more with you and Blu, that we need to use less, chuck less out and then recycling rubbish would be a moot point.

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    • People comment on what they choose, when they want. I still receive comments on military posts that I published years ago. Usually interesting comments adding information about mil history, I might add.

      I think you are right about your Blacktown link. Peanuts in terms of smuggling anyway. We can easily top that here :D

      Isn’t our consumerist society the pits? Seriously?

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      • Stepping away from consumerist society is a big motivator in our desire for a ‘TA change’… It will be a challenge but a challenge is what we’re looking for… rather than a new car or lounge suite ;)

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        • The truth is, I was only ever selectively consumerist. If that’s possible. By which I mean I didn’t buy things I didn’t need, only things that were expensive. But as I’ve still got all the same sofas, furniture, soft furnishings, Land Rovers, it can’t have been that bad a policy. There is a certain amount of satisfaction in living frugally I tell you. From Big Spender to Miser in one easy lesson.

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