Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Thursday 3 April 2014

Dust, and why it isn't the only problem

Dull and damp and dusty day here - like a lot of the UK we are getting high levels of pollution here - unheard of normally here in lovely rural Herefordshire but at the moment it  is like I used to feel when living in Worcester at the height of a photochemical smog day - my eyes are streaming, my chest is tight and my throat is sore. I used to have to use an inhaler when we lived in Worcester, but since moving to the much cleaner air of Herefordshire I have not needed one - but I wish I still had it today! There is a nasty chemically smell in the air as well.

There has been lots of comment about the Sahara dust being the problem, but actually the UK has been exceeding pollution levels for a long time. In February, the European Commission launched legal proceedings against the UK for failing to reduce levels of NO2 air pollution. The Sahara dust is the "last straw" - we are damaging the air we breathe by our own actions, mostly to do with driving cars.

I drive so I am also responsible BUT I do limit the miles I do and, even living in a very rural setting we do less than 4000 miles between us - and that is ALL miles; business miles as well as domestic trips. It is still 4000 odd miles too many, but it is not much for a two car family who live where there are no longer very many buses at all. I wonder how many other people in a similar position do so little mileage?

Rant over.

It started raining late afternoon today, but not hard enough to wash the air clean.

I collected new varifocals yesterday (from Ledbury and combining the trip to do lots of other shopping!) and am finding them a trial.

The bad news is I am tryng to prick out seedlings and keep on missing them

The good news is that they are much better for close up work - I took in my crochet and a book to show the optician what my problem was with the old prescription and he has come up with a good solution

so now I just need to get used to the new lenses. If I could change just one thing about myself it would not be to be thinner (nice though that would be) but to have perfect vision. I have been using eye correction since I was 10 and I don't like it.

At least the new glasses have anti rain coating, so I can see in the wet, now! Although not if the rain drops are also dusty...! I do not want to scratch the (very expensive) many coatings on them...

off to sew the last batch of tomatos seeeds, some (very late) celeriac as I only have had 20 plants germinate and want more, and some more leeks. I suspect the sowing may be a bit random due to the new glasses! 

And then to settle down and watch the new Big Bang Theory :) And eat some more fresh PSB :)

Have a good evening xxx


  1. Glad someone else is picking up the chemical smell; it's been noticeable down here in Dorset too. Not at all like desert sands...

  2. Yes it is not just dust, is it? I know at least one other blogger has mentioned the chemical smell...


  3. I have to look over the top of my varifocals when I do close work.

  4. I agree on that people drive too much, especially here in the United States. I keep down our mileage by biking to and from work along with quick errands.

    1. I try to walk or use my bike but being so far from anything makes it difficult. I tend to just maximise the car trips I do so as to do as much as I can with one trip.

  5. Thursday was the first time we smelt it although have seen it for a couple of days including today (Friday). I tried varifocals but after 2 weeks had to give up.

  6. I hope you and your glasses start getting on better soon. We haven't had the dust just really thick smog, it reminds me of one of the Highlander films.

  7. It hasn't reached us up here yet, thank goodness, am hoping it never will.......

    4000 miles, is that your mileage in two cars per year? That is incredibly low we do about four times that in our two cars in a year. Like you we live rurally with a infrequent but very expensive bus service.

    Hope you get on with your glasses, my varifocals took ages to get used to fell over as I lost my balance!


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