Monday, February 10, 2014

Having A Giraffe

What the hell have you been up to?
Oh, you know. Wiping up my toddler's puke, trying to catch some sleep here and there, and shaking my head in amazement at the furore over a giraffe.

Are you talking about beautiful Marius, the giraffe killed by Copenhagen Zoo for having the 'wrong' genes?
That's the one.

You monster! Call yourself ethical. Why didn't you feel sadness with the rest of us when you heard the news?
I did. My problem is that most of the people who felt sadness will feel no sadness about their next meal of dead cow or pig or sheep.

But it's a giraffe! A majestic, intelligent and cuddly beast of the wild with a name, not a grunting farm animal bred for food.
They both would have suffered and felt pain and fear when killed.

But at least there was a point to the deaths of the cow and pig and sheep. They provided food.
No one in the Western world would go hungry if meat wasn't available, so deaths for food are utterly senseless and barbaric. The fact is, people are sad because the giraffe was cute-looking. It's not ethical to place value on animals according to how adorable or not you think they are.

What are you going to do, police people's minds?
No, silly. I'm going to encourage people to go vegan. If everyone went vegan, no animals would be killed senselessly. In addition, there would be enough food in the world for everyone.

Here we go, the vegan schmegan stuff. I'm surprised you have the energy to type. Haven't you got anything less depressing to say? 
Er... well, I'm working on an exciting new project with my best friend Graham, so I won't be around here for a while.

Is it about being vegan?

Thank God for that. Right, time for my steak dinner.

To read a short book of Q&As, visit

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The DoNation

Who the hell's that?
Stop being so rude! That is Harriet Rockliff, Operations Manager at The DoNation.

The Donation? Sheesh, are you asking me to give money again?
No. The DoNation is an environmental initiative that asks you to change your actions, not donate cash.

What kind of actions? Y-M-C-A? Semaphore? Mexican waves?
No, silly. Look at this chart full of simple actions, and choose the ones that suit you best.

Can't I do the Macarena instead?
No, but you can eat macaroni cheese ('Veg Out') or, if you want to move your body, take the stairs instead of the lift ('Step Up'). Did you know that a 15-second lift journey uses as much energy as a 60W light bulb does in an hour?

Yawn. Fascinating. Going veggie and running up the stairs aren't particularly manly challenges though, are they?
Fine, if you want manly, you can do the Brutal 10K, a 10km run across marshes, gravel, hills, grass and mud - and encourage your friends to sponsor you by pledging to take simple environmental actions such as the ones above.

That sounds more like it. How do I sign up?
Just click this link. And then when you pass the finish line, you can do the Macarena.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Liv Well

What the hell have you been doing?
Oh, you know. Getting every cold my toddler catches, being a walking festering embodiment of the word 'phlegm', that kind of thing.

Nice. What else have you been up to?
Snuggling down in these cosy knitwear items from ethical clothing retailer Liv.

Are you channelling Britney circa 1999?
What, you mean the socks? Well, I -

Think you're a bit of a MILF, do you?
No, I just -

Is that a becoming outfit for a woman of 33?
Yes! Yes, it is.

Hmmph. That's debatable. Anyhow, why are these clothes so "ethical"? 
They're Fair Trade and from sustainable sources. You can read the stories here to find out more about them.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Writing, Crap Telly and Proper Jobs

Where the hell have you been?
I've been writing. I wrote this piece on atheists, and this article for the Family section of Saturday's Guardian. And I've also uploaded some more eBay charity listings.

So you've just been sitting on your arse, have you?
Sort of. But I've also been looking after Lily, and going to see Zarepha.

What, so you have an excuse to watch crap telly?
Crap telly is quite fun. This week we watched All Star Mr and Mrs, on ITV1. Gary Lineker looked a bit embarrassed when his wife described his favourite band, Coldplay, as "depressing weirdo music".

How was Zarepha?
Not in a good way. She had a bad cold. I took her some flowers though, and she said "I love flowers". I think they can make all the difference in bleak January.

Been doing anything else? The rest of us have proper jobs, you know.
I'd quite like a proper job, but would have to earn enough to cover childcare, and it's tricky getting a proper job when you've never really had one. People need to know that you're going to stick around. So I guess I'll keep freelancing until someone is willing to take a chance on a single mum with a sporadic employment history.

Maybe you could get a job making crap telly?
I think I'd enjoy that.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Who is that?
That's my elderly lady, Zarepha. I went to see her today.

More ITV1, then?
Yes. First we watched Secrets of the Workhouses, which was interesting and very sad. Then we watched a great quiz show called Tipping Point.

Question: why do old people watch so much telly?
It stops them feeling so lonely if there's another voice there. It's also entertaining. When you've had five strokes, three heart bypasses and can't walk easily, there's not much you can do except watch TV.

That's a bit depressing.
It's funny you should say that. I was actually feeling pretty depressed until I went to see her today, and it really cheered me up.

What the hell have you got to be depressed about?
Oh, you know. The bleak weather, being in debt, and the 50:50 childcare arrangement I sadly have which means I miss my toddler half the time.

And she made you feel better?
She really did, yes. I showed her some photos of Lily and my friend Nicky:

... and she said to me "You are rich." I realised that, even though I'm in debt and finding that scary, it's the people I love who are important, not my bank balance. And Zarepha is fast becoming one of them.