Incorporating the Simple Living Review, the Preparedness & Self-Reliance Review, as well as the Outdoor & Survival Review


Greetings all...

This shall, more than likely, be the last entry in the HOMESTEADER Journal here on this place.

As the editor of this publication I would just like to use this opportunity to announce that the HOMESTEADER is merging with the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW (which also incorporates the ETHICAL LIVING REVIEW), and will therefore now be found on

This move and incorporation is due to at least two points:

The first one being the fact that it would appear that we do not really have all that many visitors here on the HOMESTEADER site and hence it is better to merge with the sister site.

The second part is that many of the articles for the HOMESTEADER are equally suited for the GREEN (LIVING) RREVIEW and vice-versa and it therefore might be better to, in fact, have everything run on the one site.

Hence, from now on the HOMESTEADER shall be an incorporated part of the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW under the plain & simple living label.

M Smith

Put a stop to buying chemical cleaning products

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Instead of buying and using chemical cleaning products use vinegar instead.

Often it is said that you should use white vinegar for this only but the truth is that all vinegar, including the brewed malt vinegar, the brown one, that is common in Britain. White spirit vinegar, too, can be used.

Vinegar is great for cleaning floors, windows, mirrors, and laundry. It whitens, disinfects, freshens and softens all colors of laundry, and the smell goes away when dry. It reduces the cost of buying expensive cleaners as well as reducing your carbon footprint.

If you had an oven pan that has food burned into it, whether of glass, ceramic or metal, or food burned into a frying pan or skillet then pour on a little vinegar, of whatever kind, over the burned residues, leave it to sit for a while, and all you have to do then is to wipe off the burned in residue. In most cases no scouring will be required.

I have been using vinegar – about a 1/2 a shot glass full – with every bowl of dishes that I wash by hand and this saves washing-up liquid and also time. The dishes go sparkling onto the drying rack and they dry off in no time.

When wiping down counter surfaces in the kitchen I use hot water with some washing-up liquid and a good full to two shot glasses of vinegar in the water. That way the surfaces are cleaned and disinfected at the same time.

Vinegar is also a great cleaner for other things. Soak a rag with a little vinegar and use it to wipe off the sap residue on the blades of secateurs (pruning shears) and loppers. This can also be used for axes, pruning saws, etc. Plant sap and tree resin can cause corrosion to a blade and therefore the manufacturers of quality secateurs recommend the use of removal agent called, I believe, Sap Ex. Why, however, use a chemical compound when nature has given one to us already in the for of ascetic acid, aka vinegar. After wiping a blade clean this way apply some lubricant as a blade protector; some salvaged olive oil or other cooking oil will do nicely.

How to obtain salvaged cooking oil (no, this is not used cooking oil): Every bottle of oil always have a small residue left in it that you cannot get out without tipping it upside down for a while. I turn bottles upside down into a small glass jar and over time quite a lot of oil thus accumulates. This is use for oiling wooden handles, blades and such.

There are a lot more uses for vinegar and, as I said, even though people always seem to stress the “white wine vinegar” it does not have to be.

Here in the UK we rarely even get that sort of vinegar and the common one is Malt vinegar. At Sainsbury's a Basics version of this can be obtained for less than 20pence pint bottle. What a great price for a ever so useful product.

Vinegar also is great in first aid use as a disinfectant wipe, for instance, and, as said, for a variety of other uses.

© 2009

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Make your own laundry detergent, and enjoy clean clothes for less.

You will need:

Washing Soda
Fels Naptha Soap

To make your own laundry detergent mix together two parts Borax, two parts Washing Soda and one part grated Fels-Naptha soap. You can make as much or as little as you'd like, therefore I have not given any amounts here.

Use up to three level tablespoons per wash load of this homemade laundry detergent.

The rest store in a lidded container, well out of the reach of children and pets.

Be sure to label your detergent container, so others will know what's inside. Include a list of the ingredients as an added safety measure.

Zote, Ivory or castile soap can be used in place of Fels-Naptha.

Michael Smith (Veshengro), 2009

Mini Grow Bed from Lakeland – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith

Garland Mini Grow Bed
Lakeland Ref: 51193 Price: 22.91 GBP,
Lakeland Garden Catalog page 21

Stuck with a small garden but still want to grow an abundance of crops, or perhaps the soil in your area is poor and the seedlings always struggle?

Watch those plants wake up when you put them to bed, a Mini Grow Bed that is. The Garland Mini Grow Bed gives plants such as carrots, potatoes and onions the best start in life as the soil within the bed warms more quickly, giving earlier crops. The black surrounds also, I should think, contribute to this warming process.

The enclosed growing area protects, to some extent, against disease, pests and weeds, whilst offering excellent drainage and protection against soil erosion. However, the pesky birds and the slugs and snails will still try to do their best to get at your crops, no matter what. So you will have to think of protection such as netting and what have not. There Lakeland can help too, but that is a different story.

And not only will your vegetables be happier in a raised bet such as the Mini Grow Bed; the raised growing surface also makes it easier for you, giving easier access tot he plants and less bending for your back.

The Garland Mini Grow Beds are made from 100% recycled polypropylene and the bed is simple to assemble, requiring no tools.

Read more on Green (Living) Review

Patio Planters from Lakeland – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith

Haxnicks Patio Planters
Lakeland Ref: 50948 (3 Vegetable Planters)
14.95 GBP

Those planters are another product from Lakeland's new dedicated Garden Catalog that caught my attention when going through it after I received my press copy for review/preview.

You don't need a garden to “grow your own”...

Especially for small spaces, this collection of durable polyethylene sacks allows you to have your own vegetable plot on a patio, in a yard, or right next to the back door. Easy to manage and to maintain, they are great way to introduce children to growing vegetables too. And they might actually eat those vegetables if they have raised them themselves. With drainage holes at the bottom to avoid waterlogging, they have carry handles and can be reused year after year.

Those planters are, as I had guessed, and described thus in my review of the Garden Catalog, similar to the so-called builders' bags, being from about the same type of material. The only difference is that the material is not as heavy and it is also, in contrast to the builders' bags, additionally coated.

I have used builders' bags in my garden for container planting already and found them to work very well. The only drawback with the builders' one, despite the fact that they can ge had by the ton for free from building sites, is that they are rather big and once filled with soil can no longer be moved. They also take rather a great amount of compost and soil.

Read more on Green (Living) Review

Grass Edger from Lakeland – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith

Grass Edger – Lakeland Ref 50965 – 21.96 GBP

This Grass Edger sold by Lakeland comes as a 2-part tube steel construction that is assembled by means of a bolt with a wing nut. The assembly cause no problems whatsoever as it was all too obvious and the device appears to be quite sturdy.

The circular cutter of the Grass Edger is not over sharp – but is probably intended to be in is way – and the cutter assembly too looks fairly robust as well. Obviously, as will all things, the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating, meaning here that only over a more prolonged use would one be able to gauge how it performs and holds up to the rigors that some may inflict it the tool.

The operation of the Grass Edger is straight forward and it cuts the edge very well, even rather matted grass, as was the case with the overgrown edges at my garden areas, some about a quarter of an inch thick. I know, shame on me for letting it get that way.

Over time, when one gets used to the way that this device works, this tool will be a definite improvement over the speed and accuracy of an ordinary Edging Iron, and even more so as to neatness.

The test that I subjected this Grass Edger to is and was probably rather unfair as it is hardly intended to cut the kind of heavy matted grass, the result of neglect. It must be said though that the tool performed well, even under those circumstances though I am a little concerned that this may have put some undue strain on the tool, strain that it would not encounter under normal conditions.
In all fairness, the edges that I was cutting with this manual Grass Edger for a test would have been a challenge even probably for a motorized cutter of this kind. Thus, I made hard work for the tool and for myself. No problem though, as the Grass Edger performed well throughout.

This Grass Edger from Lakeland is about 10 GBP cheaper than the cheapest similar tool that I have seen in Garden Centers and other garden catalogs, and such.

While the real reliability and sturdiness, as I have said, will only be found in time and use, as far as I can see this is a good tool at a fair price.

© M Smith (Veshengro), 2009

Economic crisis may be worse than Depression

by Michael Smith

The global economy may be deteriorating even faster than it did during the Great Depression, Paul Volcker, a top adviser to President Barack Obama, said recently.

Volcker noted that industrial production around the world was declining even more rapidly than in the United States, which is itself under severe strain.

"I don't remember any time, maybe even in the Great Depression, when things went down quite so fast, quite so uniformly around the world," Volcker told a luncheon of economists and investors at Columbia University.

But still the likes of the head of the Federal Reserve is trying to con people into believing that the turnround will be with us before the turn of the year. Those with a proper link to reality are all aware that we are in a Depression and that it is NOT going to be over in a few months. We have seen nothing yet.

Given the extent of the damage, financial regulations must be improved and enhanced to prevent future debacles, although policy-makers must be cautious not disrupt things further while the turmoil is ongoing.

Had the old rules of banking been followed, that is to say that a bank would not; nay could not, was not allowed to, lend more that 80% of its deposit base. But what did they do? Yes, the exact opposite and anyone who has ever seen what happens in a financial trading room with dollars being sent to there spot overnight on 10% interest the night or pounds to some other places at 7% interest for the night will understand how quickly things could go wrong. The money that is transferred is only done so virtually and often it does not physically exist with the bank that is sending it either.

Volcker, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve famed for breaking the back of inflation in the early 1980s, mocked the argument that "financial innovation," a code word for risky securities, brought any great benefits to society. For most people, he said, the advent of the ATM machine was more crucial than any asset-backed bond.

"There is little correlation between sophistication of a banking system and productivity growth," he said.

He stressed the importance of preventing financial institutions large enough to pose a threat to the entire system from engaging in risky behavior such as running hedge funds or trading for its own accounts.

I would like to interject here that, maybe, we should curb the activities of such banks by cutting them down to size and making them, once again, more or less local banks, dealing with more or less local activities. Time for a change in economics and tyme for a new way which is not new at all.

The current crisis had its beginning in global imbalances like a lack of savings in the United States, but policy-makers around the world were too reticent to take action until it was too late, Volcker said.

And despite the fact that there was a lack of savings in the USA, and Britain, I would hasten to add, the banks still dealt as if they had all the world having savings in their institutions.

Now that the crisis had erupted, it was important to take decisive actions, including a more effective regulatory structure and some movement toward uniform accounting systems, Volcker said.

He said all financial institutions that are deemed too large to fail should be subject to increased scrutiny, echoing the findings of the Group of 30, a panel of policy-makers and influential economists, which he leads.

One could use a slogan from a movie that was “Houston, we have a problem” for we indeed have a problem. While Houston will not be able to change anything there the fact is that we have a problem and this problem is not simply going to go away.

As I have indicated in a previous article, I believe that it is time that we looked at a new way of doing things; a way that is not that new at all. One of those is the economy itself, then the way we, the people, do things and then also the governments also.

© M Smith (Veshengro), 2009

Low-tech gadgets, tried, tested and true

by Micheal Smith

Do we rely too much on high-tech gadgets? The answer is probably a yes.

I have seen this in many instances at home and elsewhere such as in a catering establishment that just had to buy one of those professional catering potato peeling machines. Oh dear! Those things do not peel the potatoes, they seem to glass paper them, and you still have to do some removing of “eyes” and such by hand. The use of this gadget did not last long in that place and it ended up unused and unloved in a store. They reverted back to peeling potatoes by hand with a small vegetable paring knife or a vegetable peeler. This worked and much faster too.

The same is certainly true for so many other gadgets, whether for the kitchen or elsewhere.

My favorite peeve, I know, is the Palm PDA I once had and that caused me no end of grief with crashing and losing data, which led me to revert to pen and paper again, and I have written about that before.

My pen and paper note taking system I find much more reliable and I find retyping something a lot easier and faster than having to reedit something on screen. Also, I could, theoretically, though not that I envisage this happening, have an MBT, that is a main battle tank to the uninitiated, run over the notebooks without me incurring any data loss.

Maybe it is a sign that I am getting old or that I was born in the wrong age but I find myself increasingly appreciative of the simple, dependable little gadgets of life.

A little like the amount of billions spent by NASA to develop a ball pen that could write in space – enter the Fisher Space Pen, aka the Bullet Pen; a pen that could write in low or zero gravity conditions. The then Soviet Union, on the other hand, spending zero on a writing instrument capable of working in zero gravity as it did not even need to be invented, it had existed all along: it is called a pencil.

Sure I would not want to give up my computers – I need them for doing my writing - or my cell phones, but low-tech, no-tech, no-battery and no-plug items are frequently less hassle than "improved" stuff.

The previous mentioned Palm PDA was an example in point here for not only was the product unreliable, the customer service was nonexistent.

Another favorite of mine as far as low-tech gadgets are concerned are the pinch-type (wooden) clothespins. I have put the “wooden” in brackets as they no longer always are wooden but still do a great job even if plastic.

Not only do they hold clothes on the wash line, they also fasten plant row-covering to supports in the garden and pinch shut cereal and snack-food bags to keep the contents fresh. Clipped over a metal clothes hanger, they provide handy drying above the wood stove for the endless damp gloves of winter.

My all-time favorite clothespins, on the other hand, but then I am prejudiced for my People used to make them, are the split peg ones that used to be maybe by Gypsies, the People of which I stem. I have seen some that were made carved and tinned some 100 years ago and which still will perform as well today as they did then.

There are indeed some modern gadgets out there that can be very useful and handy, but most are probably more beneficial to the sellers than they will ever be to the buyers, especially if they need constant outfitting with new batteries.

Just another of the joys of no-tech or low-tech gadgets.

© M Smith (Veshengro), 2009

Are the powers that be afraid of the Blogger?

You bet your life that they are

by Michael Smith

While, at least in say the USA, Canada, Britain and other such countries they try to pretend that they are not, and also pretend that they actually welcome the activities of the citizen journalist and Blogger, the truth is that they, that is the powers that be, are running scared.

The same is true with regards to the established media, the likes of what once was Fleet Street, though thy no longer “live” there, and its “professional” journalists. Hence also the fact that Bloggers are not, as yet, welcome to join the NUJ and the IUJ.

While many – by now nigh on all, in fact – newspapers and other media outlets have an online presence, often with Blogs, they still are in no way happy with Bloggers who run their own online publications.

Though it may be true that there are even some good commercial outfits out there that are just online and who have come, basically, out of the field of Blogging, and the Blogging community, such as Grist and especially the Huffington Post, most in the media are still stuck in the old way.. This, by the way, also goes for many of the PR companies, though not those that I deal with most of the time.

Italy recently, basically, went as far as, at least some judges did, declaring that all Italian operated Blogs and all Italian Bloggers as illegal, as under an obscure law from just after WWII only government licensed media are permitted.

So far the government of Italy has not taken any steps, as yet, but we hear a lot of clamoring from the EU and its member states about the need to police and regulate the activities of online social media and networks. This, to me, is proof enough that the powers that be are running rather scared of Bloggers.

Where is this going to lead?

We, who are Bloggers, who are citizen journalists, or freelance journalists running Blogs, and out readers too and especially must stand up against this blatant attempt of censorship.

Support the Net Freedom Foundation and in any other way possible stand up for a free Internet and for the freedom to run your own publications, whether online or in print.

Blogs are the greatest “upset” tot he established media and the establishment and are a revolution much like the invention of the Gutenberg printing press with the movable type in 1448.

In the same way that the Gutenberg press liberated Europe from the Dark Ages, basically, so does the Internet and Blogs and citizen journalists liberate the world, yet again. Problem, as far as the powers that be are concerned is that the Internet and Blogs and all the other ways of publishing and printing from home via PC is, upsetting the status quo and there control over the media.

The printing press provided a powerful demonstration of how new communications systems, when leveraged socially, can topple once unassailable empires of received truth. And this is where the “problem”, so to speak, lies as far as the powers that be and Blogs and Bloggers and citizen journalists per se are concerned.

Blogging, especially as a means to informing and of bringing forth discussion and such, as well as other social online media, it would appear, are seen by the powers that be as something that threatens them as just those very empires of “truths”, with the established media, in the main owned by members pf one very influential lobbying group, in the forefront of those that are running scared and that is why the governments, some overt some covert, try to curb the activities of Blogger and Blogs.

I mean we cannot possible allow to have people who think and analyze events and while doing so come to a different conclusion than the established media and then report such thoughts and analysis to a wide audience on the Web. This just cannot be allowed now, can it?

© M Smith (Veshengro), 2009

Getting divorced from the TV

by Michael Smith

What would you miss?

In Britain the first thing you would miss is paying the nigh on $200 annual license fee without which the viewing of television is a felony.

In addition to that you would miss all the garbage programs.

I have gotten divorced from the TV some ten or more years ago and have not really missed the one-eyed monster god in the corner at all.

Now, with BBC's iPlayer, for instance, we all have the chance to watch some of the interesting – and also, alas, the not so interesting – programs for a week or more afterwards and I must say that I do that at times now.

On the other hand seeing what is on in most cases on the box it is definitely a case of not missing anything.

In general terrestrial television in Britain is a waste of time and, so I have been told by many of my contacts in the USA, for instance, the same appears to be true in America.

While in the USA there is no license fee payable in order to watch TV the programs appear to be equally bas if not worse and therefore I doubt that anyone would seriously miss television, especially not if one can watch some stuff online; interesting stuff I mean.

What you will gain, on the other hand, by divorcing yourself from the TV is a great amount of time that you can spend with and on other much more beneficial things, and even if that be only reading books.

Personally I do not think that I could even fit the TV into my life anymore for I am way too busy with all the things that I am doing as with writing and such, and from what I have heard from others who have gone the same road of divorce from the TV they have made the same experiences.

In addition to that for those that have a family you will find that you suddenly have time for family quality time, time to do things with your children, time to spend with the other half and such.

While, at first, the kids will moan and groan about not having a TV and also think that they are being deprived something that their peers have it should not take too long and they too find that life without the box is so much better and so much more rewarding.

I have heard though of some children's services getting involved in some cases trying to get the parents to have the TV for the children and claiming that it deprives the children, etc. Instances of that have occurred in Europe as well as, as far as I know, the United States.

In Europe where a license fee is required in most countries for the watching of TV and even the listening to radio broadcasts it will take some time to persuade the authorities before they will believe that you do not, in fact, have a TV and use it without a license. It took somewhere in the region of 5 years before the British TV Licensing Authority stopped sending me letters saying that I had to have a license and that they'd we coming around to check as to whether I had a TV. They finally believed though they never actually came to check, but I still get the occasional letter claiming that, in case I now had a TV I would have to get a license and they say they'd be coming to check. Oh well! They are welcome. Not that they will be permitted to come in unless they have a warrant and a police officer with them.

Despite those little inconveniences I think it is more than worth it having gotten rid off that one-eyed god in the corner that demanded worship. Not only am I saving those two hundred bucks, I am not wasting time either; time that could be used in a much m ore productive way.

© M Smith (Veshengro), March 2009

A New Economic Path

by Michael Smith

It is time, methinks, that we looked as our economic system again in a new light. Capitalism, as we know it, has broken down, yet again, and yes, I am well aware that the communist system, as it was used, and I stress “as it was used”, does not work either.

However, the way things have failed, yet again, with the capitalist system, due to the greed of bankers, and G-d knows the greed of other businesses too, that system too cannot be seen as one that benefits the people. In fact, as we can see, it benefits only a select few. And when those screw up they get rewarded for it, basically, by being bailed out by the taxpayer, whether it be banks or the automotive industry.

In addition to that the entire system of government as we know it, whether in Britain or the USA, must be overhauled too. Democracy is not a government of the people by the people and neither is the constitutional republic thing of the USA one that is one.

Also, the way Britain, for instance, is going, as well as the USA to some degree, and some EU member states, we are heading headlong into a police state. In Britain this has arrived already with all the CCTV cameras, the searches for knives and such at so many places, the proposed scatter radar scanners for weapons to be embedded in street furniture and all that. It is a shame though that the British people are so very happy to let this all happen. Or they are just so apathetic that they do not care. Then again, it could be that they feel powerless to do anything about it and, in fact, I think we are basically powerless and it does not matter who we elect into office.

But, let us look at the economy first, for I am beginning to digress:

As far as I can see we must find new ways of doing business and we might not go too wrong if, to some extent, we would go back to the ways of old, including barter.

Banking and credit definitely seems to be the biggest problem of us all and while industry and commerce may have to have a means of obtaining credit in one way or another the ordinary mortals like you and me should looks back to the old ways.

What are those old ways? Well, they are cash and savings. In other words, if you have not got the money to buy what you may want to buy then you cannot buy it and you don't. You save up to get the money to buy this item.

We also must come to the understanding that we have affluenza – many of us – and that we misinterpret and -understand what our needs are and our wants.

Someone with a car that is say 2 years old and working fine does not need a new car while he may want a new one and that is the same for someone whose computer is working perfectly well and is doing all that he needs to do when he thinks he needs a new PC. That is when wants gets misinterpreted as needs.

In truth our needs are not complicated and also not expensive. But people mistake, as I have said, wants with needs. When they, and obviously their offspring, say that they “need” this or that in most cases this is a “want” and not a “need”.

Aside from that we must look at economics in a different way. Maybe, somehow, along the lines of what Fritz Schumacher used to write about, that is to say “economics as if people mattered”.

The state of economics that we have presently but which appears to be breaking apart is no0t one where people seem top matter., The only thing that appears to matter to those that own the businesses and the banks is profit and yet more profit for themselves, their directors and their shareholders. The workers and the people in general do not matter to most of those in the least. There are a few exceptions, or there used to be, for many of them have gone into ownership of multinationals, such as Rowntree and Cadburys, who once had great social systems in place for their workforce.

I believe that we must look at the system of economics and trade completely afresh and find new ways of doing business on a more people-orientated scale. I am sure that this can be done for it used to be done in years gone by.

In some places we are already seeing, for some years and decades even, a different local system of trade and even currency, and even though in some countries this is being frowned upon by the powers that be as, in some countries it is against the law – theoretically – to print own money and to mint coins, it is a system that should be encouraged rather than discouraged. The problem I see here though is that the powers that be do not like such local currencies and barter trade systems because they cannot get any taxes from such sales and transactions. The problem is the states, the governments, as they are. They cannot abide the idea that people could trade without the state getting its share, however unfair this share may be. If no currency of the realm changes hands but just a barter currency or barter trade in general the state has noway of getting the revenue it so desires and that is why any economic activity other that “proper” sales are discouraged and even deemed illegal.

If we want to be able to survive as people and nations in this downturn and especially afterwards and live lives that are more fulfilling then we must first of all change the system of economics under which we work and trade. This must then be followed by the system of government; a system where the people really run the show and not just an elite that has been, supposedly, representatively elected by the people.

Economics must be brought back down to scale and go local again and banking must be changed as well and especially.
We can no longer – not that we really ever could – have banks that lend far above their deposit base. This is unsustainable and not just in the long run.

As far as the economy and economics are concerned in general we must get away from the global market issue and look back to locally produced goods, products and services. On such a scale the exploitation that is happening in the present system of the economy will then be greatly reduced, and I mean here there exploitation of workers in the same way as the exploitation of resources.

As I have said in a previous article about plastics recycling I cannot understand how it can be sustainable for the recyclables to be shipped to China for processing in to plastics base again, then to have goods made from the material there and then have the stuff shipped back to us in Europe, America or Australia. This just does not compute. And it especially does not compute when one knows that there are plastics recycling companies in the UK, for instance, who reprocess the recyclables here, and then make that plastic resultant from the recyclables into new goods that sell at not much more or in fact no more than the goods that come from China. So, someone make the calculations. Once again the reason for carting the stuff to China and then the reprocessed goods back to us is greed for the profit margins are so much better when this all happens in China, obviously.

Greed – corporate greed – is what got us into this problem in the first place and it is not the first time either and still we allow it to go on and on that way.

To some degree one can but hope that economic downturn and the looming depression might be a wake up call for all of us and we may, hopefully, learn that there is and must be another way to do things; a way that is sustainable. This way will have and must have a “repair” mentality again rather than a “chuck it” mentality. However, obsolescence is built into most things that we buy nowadays. Nothing is made too last and most things simply cannot be repaired. It is either too expensive to do so and it is cheaper to actually buy new or one simply, even a technician, cannot get at the insides of the product to carry out a repair.

Mind you, the mentality of people must change first as well for we know of bicycles and other things being thrown out into the trash simply because of a puncture in care of the bikes or a broken plug in case of some electrical goods. Though this might just change in the current climate and especially if this is not over by the end of 2009, say, as predicted by the chief of the Federal Reserve.

Most eminent economists are beginning to talk the “d” rather then the “r” word, that is to say they are coming round to understanding and stating that we are in a recession heading for a depression or that we are indeed already in the latter. Therefore, this could last for quite some time and people might just then come ro0und to understand that we cannot carry on the way we have been doing, and repairing things and the demand for things to be repairable might then happen.

But, we then will have a problem also for, where are the cobblers, the radio and TV repair men and women, the chair menders, the bicycle mechanics, and all those other skilled people that can fix all those things. In most cases they are no longer around. Their businesses folded years ago when we used to buy new each and every time instead of having a pair of shoes resoled, a bike mended, or what-have-you.

Many things, however, can be fixed by someone with a little handyman or -woman experience and a few tools. A bicycle does not have to go to the tip because of a puncture or a chain that has come off but we have see just this happening in this country not so long ago at the municipal garbage dumps. A Hi-Fi system that has a plug ripped off only needs a new plug fitted at the end of the lead but, alas, many people just throw such an item and buy new rather than put a new plug on or have one fitted by someone if they do not have the skills to do it themselves. Getting an electrician to fit a plug may cost a few bucks – if one cannot do it oneself – but it is a lot less than buying a new appliance.

While, with the current economic problems and the looming depression we have the mother of an opportunity for change here I doubt that it will happen unless we all, as people, can get the powers that be to understand from where we are coming and what we want.

The situation that we are in economically and financially could also be of benefit to the environment and to the creation of “green” jobs by the ton. But will this happen and will this opportunity be used for the benefit of us all? Or is it going to be “business as usual”? Much as regards to the outcome, I think, is down too us, to each and every one of us. Let's use this opportunity wisely and not waste it.

© M Smith (Veshengro), March 2009