Sunday, 27 September 2015

Is soap suitable for vegetarians?

Recently I read a question about why soap may not be suitable for vegetarians (and vegans).
There are 2 answers, one about the ingredients and the other about testing on animals.
Many soaps are made with sodium tallowate, a fat made from animal carcasses, a "cheap" ingredient which is a waste product in slaughterhouses. Obviously not vegetarian. If you wouldn't eat meat, why would you rub meat on your body?
Assume the soap's made with animal fat unless you have checked, as most of the big names are. Some are ok, such as Imperial Leather and Simple. Tesco do a few, such as Tesco Aloe Vera And Green Tea Soap 100G also their Everyday Value Soap 125G does not contain sodium tallowate.
There are many companies which specialise in vegetarian soaps, such as Suma, Lush, Faith in Nature, Oliva, however they do tend to be expensive and not widely available.
Vegetarian soaps are also appreciated by people who want to avoid animal fat for religious reasons for example observant Sikhs and Hindus who are strict vegetarians, and Jews and Muslims don't want non-kosher and non halal ingredients to be used.
The answer about testing on animals is complicated. Many companies do still test their products on animals even though testing of cosmetics and toiletries has been outlawed in many countries. This question is beyond my level of expertise.

The Limitless Sky, the Purifying Energy of Sun

Yesterday I happened to be looking up at the early evening sky and this is what I saw.
It was very strange to realise that what I was looking at was the earth's atmosphere. A bubble of gases around our wonderful planet, which is coloured this beautiful blue only because at this time of day, time of year, and position on the earth, the suns rays are colouring it that shade of blue.

Not just looking at the sky, but looking at the covering, the bubble, between us and outer space. Beyond the bubble, the infinite infinity.

The blue only appearing because the sun, that most powerful of all lamps, casting light not only on the sky, but on everything on this side of the earth.

The impression of light which we can see is only one of the sun's attributes. The other one is that plants can use it to grow by the process of getting energy via photosynthesis.
Animals eat plants, other animals eat them, also fish and ocean creatures do this, so all life is dependent on the sun.

The trees and the sun regulate the weather and the atmosphere.

The trees are growing because of the sun. Without the trees there would be no life either, because the trees regulate the weather and clean the air, also making oxygen!

The tree, an enlightened being, does this just because it exists. It doesn't want anything back for cleaning the air and making oxygen. When the wind blows, it bends and sways. In winter it rests.
When plastic bags or other rubbish arrives and gets tangled in its branches, it doesn't complain. It doesn't strive to get anything. It doesn't cling to anything. It just is, dwelling in nirvana.

Protect the trees, plant trees, protect the earth's atmosphere, protect all living things.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Autumn Leaves, Berries and Lichen

Lots to see at the moment at Big Waters Country Park, where we were earlier this week, in particular dragonflies and damselflies.
The berries on the hawthorn are looking very autumnal, and some lichen too.

Update to Market Street East

I've made it easier to comment on posts so if anyone has any info on the history of the boarded up building adjoining Broadacre House, it will now be easier to post your comment.
We are looking for history of the building which is joined on to Broadacre House, Market Street East, but is in a different (more 1950's) style. The name of the building would help.
The building housing the former police station and currently housing the Magistrates Court and some other court related offices, at the other end of Market Street East, is a listed building called Anderson House. I have also been told there is a possibility that the mystery building was also something connected with the DWP.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Newcastle Civic Centre and Tyne Beach

The Civic Centre divides local opinion, some people love it and some people hate it. One thing is certain, despite it being a Grade II listed public building, and access to its grounds is not restricted, not many people hang around or have their packed lunches or bait there, despite there being lots of seating areas...

Not many people know that Newcastle has its own beach, directly outside the Law Courts on the banks of the Tyne. You can sit and sunbathe or just chill out.

Thanks to Jeff for taking these photos, most of which were by request.

Leazes Park New Picnic area and wildflowers

There is a former bowling green in Leazes Park which people are being encouraged to use as a picnic area. Native wild flowers have been planted around the edges by the volunteer rangers.

Barrack Road Hedgerow Plants

I received a photo of the fruits in the mini-woodland or hedge beside the Barrack Road entrance to Leazes Park.
It looks like either a Whitebeam or an Alder.

There are also some perfectly ripe blackberries hidden away. Food for free if you don't mind your berries coated in exhaust fumes.

Berries like these provide winter food for thrushes and other songbirds over winter.

Eco wall garden at The Time Exchange

Gardeners at The Time Exchange have been busy with a demonstration vertical garden in the tiny front yard.
Terraces such as those in Stanton Street and Arthur's Hill have tiny front yards or no yards at all, however as long as there is no vandalism, flowers, vegetables and even fruit can still be grown. Strawberries work well in hanging baskets for example.
This vertical planter is attached to the brick wall and has water retaining fibre so the plants don't need much water.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Broadacre House and Market Street East

Looking at the entrance to Broadacre House from the other side of the road, early yesterday evening.

The building next door to Broadacre House appears to date from an earlier part of the twentieth century, and I do think it was also an institution of some sort, but I don't know what, a tax office maybe? If anyone worked there and knows what it was, please post a comment.

Later it has got dark and looking out of the window to the construction /demolition area on Carliol Street.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Nun's Moor Path

Just in case anyone doesn't know there is a public footpath across Nun's Moor, it has now been re signposted. You can walk from Arthur's Hill to Spital Tongues, Castle Leazes, or Newcastle town centre. Usually there are lots of birds like gulls and jackdaws foraging here.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Newcastle Serene Reflection Meditation Group move to Broadacre House

Our meditation group has moved meetings to Broadacre House since the start of September.
On first impression the new venue seems pleasant, nice and warm and dry, excellent access, and much more central.

Some history:
Broadacre House used to be (before the Government cuts) the home of the main Department of Work and Pensions offices for Newcastle, also housing JobCentre, Jobcentre Plus, New Deal (for the Unemployed) and various off shoots of that service.

At the other end of the block, (literally), which is Market Street East, was the imposing Market Street Police Station /Pilgrim Street Fire Station Look here for story and photos which closed recently.
I cannot really see this as a good move given the location, however it could be that it was difficult to get in and out of the station from Market Street in a vehicle during the day, and probably the building was expensive to maintain?
Another couple of public buildings which shut their doors recently in the centre of Newcastle were St James House, home of the now defunct Benefits agency and Welbar House read more
(government cuts to welfare budget again) also you can see some pictures or find out how to buy the site

Welbar House was demolished a few years ago, it was the home of sundry government bodies. Also ended. Surely a great many unemployed civil servants here now?

view from the sky showing Welbar House by Tyne and Wear archives

Barrack Road Pedestrian Crossing

A lot of people don't know that Barrack Road, being a built up area, is a 30 mile per hour speed limit zone (after the junction of Hunters Road by the BBC building, which comes off a 40 mile speed zone). The pictures show a consequence of a speeding car colliding with the safety rails at the pedestrian crossing near the junction of New Mills, a few weeks ago. Please visit there for latest news from Herbwormwood