Thursday, June 29, 2006

mens health week 2006

As a nurse, I've cared for a lot of men who have heart attacks, strokes, alcoholic liver disease and other lifestyle related health problems.I volunteered to help out with promoting health living to men, not realising that mens health week coincided with the 2nd week of the world cup.
7pm in Eastbourne town centre.Andrew, the health promotion mens health specialist promised me the tee-shirts wouldn't be yellow and large.They are.I meet two 30 something trendy women; one is a Sexual health /HIV health> promotion worker and the other, a Peacehaven youthworker.There are large groups of drunk singing groups of men wandering up and down the road.Tons of police.After a brief discussion about what might be the most dangerous pubs> to go into, we're off for our mens health week outreach session.

Clad in banana yellow outsize tee-shirts, carrying pound shop shoulder cool bags that are filled with 'bloke bags'. Andrew's bloke bags contain booklets on healthy living, a condom,wristband> and a calculate-your-alcohol unit wheel thing.

Pub 1.The Eagle sports pub.First group of men are quite rude to me.One v> drunk one comes up and asks me what I am giving away.Two women come up and> start asking me whats in the bags too.Couple of people refuse the bags, one gets a bit funny about the condom-says he will be in trouble if his wofe> sees it.Friendly landlord-takes two bags.

Pub 2.The Dewdrop.A lot less busy.No football fans.Older blokes.Have brief vaguely amusing banter with big hairy bloke and his mate at the bar.They take some bags.

Pub 3.The Dolphin.Quiet.Looks like a newly refurbished Brighton pub.Talk to 3 30 somethings.One is smoking.They take some bags.The barmaid wants one too.

Pub 4.Bibendum. Ask two knuckle head-looking middle aged blokes if they want> some mens health packs.They look at me unsmiling and 'No, we're fit as **** we are'

Bit deflated by their reaction and go outside..

Pub 5.The Greenhouse.Heaving.Lots of v drunk people and football fans.Approach one table of fans, before I finish saying 'Did you know that.... it is mens health week?' , one of them shouts (the ugliest one) 'FAGGOT'.They start pointing at me and start chanting 'Who the hell> are you?'.I throw two bags at them, turn grinning like a idiot and start to run.IBloke bags scatter on the floor.The chanting group are on their feet. Crash out the door.

Pub 6.Via cafe bar.Much quieter.Some middle class 20 somethings drinking quietly.I'm desperate.Can't get home quick enough.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I have just finished planting some corn seedlings in the tiny front garden of our terraced house.The seedlings are in a central block, with sunflowers, poppies and swiss chard planted in and around them.
After doing a introduction to permaculture course 2 years ago, I told myself I would do a design for our front garden.I did the base map.Sat out there for quite a few hours and started to think about linkages between the house and the garden and the street in general.

As far as I got though was deciding that growing some food in the form of an annual (corn) in my front garden definetly fulfilled the serving-3-purposes permaculture function:
1.Food.2.Aesthetics-looks nice from house and street.3.Serves as a stimulation to discussion for passers by 'Ohh! is that corn?!'

Not quite the integrated design process that permaculture comprises but its a start.
And being in the front garden in the evening gives you a view of your street that you don't normally see.A world where you can chat to neighbours and passers by, where a street is not just a place to park cars or pass through en-route somewhere else.