A sorry tale of wood-burning stoves and miscommunication

Courtesy of @heloukee on Instagram

A morality tale

This is a morality tale for those who have or intend to purchase a wood-burning stove to help bring down their energy bills, and those who are crafting home grown gifts for family and friends.  If, like us, you fall into both categories beware the hidden dangers.

The excitement

On Friday, I decided to light our relatively new wood-burning stove ( a very high tech model the Burley Debdale) whilst dh Terry was hunter-gathering provisions for our supper (pizzas from Tesco).  I cleared out the ashes from the previous day and put them in the peely bin.  Some were still glowing a little so I  decided to empty the peely bin in the very large compost bin at the bottom of the garden.   Ten minutes later, I glanced out of the window, and saw a minor towering inferno.  I investigated and discovered that one of our three 700l plastic compost bins was blazing away.  I was a little surprised by the combustible nature of our compost but duly fetched the hose and deluged the blaze with water.  It took some time before the flames and smoke were eliminated.  I was shaken!

The unknown event

When Terry returned, I confessed the results of my ash-disposal.  He was able to add some background.  Earlier in the day, whilst starting to clear out the garage, He decided to dispose of our failed attempt at Peaches in brandy.  This was 2 jars – with approximately one pint of brandy and 8-10 peaches and he put them on the compost heap.

The morals of the story

1. Glowing ashes + brandy-soaked compost = conflagration.

2. We need to invest in an ash carrier so we can safely cool our ashes before disposing of them.

3.  We need to talk to each other;)

Lansley’s Health Bill -Lolcatted in No 10

In the UK, many of our cherished institutions are under threat from the coalition government, none more so than our beloved NHS.  Today a petition to “Drop the Health Bill” http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22670 passed the magic 100,000 signatures that will help it to be considered in parliament.

In celebration of this momentous occasion, I have LOLcatted an image provided by our own dear prime minister of Larry the No 10 cat

Larry protesting Health Bill
Oh noes to Health Bill

Even the Tory pets are revolting!

A political joke from Steven Lukes

Five citizens of the Reich were sitting in a railway waiting room.  One of them sighed, another clasped his head in his hands, the third one groaned loudly and the fourth sat with tears streaming down his face.

The fifth one looked at them, and shook his head.

‘Be careful , gentlemen.  It’s not wise to discuss politics in public.’

Lukes, Steven; Galnoor, Itzhak; illustrations by Michael Heath. (1986) pdf_iconNo Laughing Matter: A Collection of Political Jokes. Routledge Kegan & Paul.

In our ALT-C 2011 symposium last week I referred to Lukes’ 1,2 and 3 dimensional views of power and whilst reading more by him, came across his wonderful gift of a book of political jokes (see link in caption above).  This joke (that I told in our session) neatly demonstrates “the third dimension of such power, where the power consists, not in prevailing over the opposition of others, nor in imposing an agenda on them, but in influencing their desires, beliefs and judgments in ways that work against their interests.” (Steven Lukes with Clarissa Hayward) ‘Nobody to shoot? Power, structure, and agency: A dialogue‘ Journal of Power, Vol. 1, No. 1, April 2008, pp. 5–20

My contention in my contribution to our symposium was that it’s really important to keep asking the awkward and uncomfortable questions, resisting the third dimension of power. In my Twitter stream I have come across Jennifer Jones’ fascinating narrative of her engagement with seminars about the Olympics, see her blog post and Twitter stream.  To me, this is a classic case of resistance to the third dimension of power.  This blog post, and more importantly the joke above, are offered in your honour Jennifer.

Let’s all keep asking the questions.