Writing

Travel writing, memori, non-fiction, fiction, writing groups

Musings from Nanyang

So, the 10pm meeting with our European partners came and went. I dashed back from dinner with friends, settled myself to look suitably business like in front of Skype when a text message popped up saying that the people I was to present to had changed their minds and didn’t think that skype was the best way to proceed. They would much rather meet in person!!!

I’m recovered from that now but while I’m on the topic of our European bid it’s a good opportunity to ask for your help. The project is called,’Up Straw’ and the purpose of it is to increase the percentage of public buildings built out of straw in Europe. Thereby decreasing emissions, saving fuel and increasing health. We’re getting to the stage of the final submission, due in December, and I’m looking for matching funding. If you know of any funders who would be interested in joining us please email me eileen@strawworks.co.uk  Thanks.

Another request -the School of Natural Building is putting together a calendar of beautiful strawbale builds for Christmas. Ideally we’re looking for pictures of finished or almost finished houses that our students have worked on. Students, you know who you are and if you have any suitable photos I’d be very grateful if you’d email them to the address above.

Back here in Nanyang I’ve found a yoga class. It takes place every lunchtime so that the lecturers from the university can take part. I’ve exchanged a few business cards in the changing room (never miss an opportunity) and yesterday one of the young biology professors approached me to say that she really didn’t think that straw was strong enough to use as a construction material. She knew of a local company that used straw as a fermentation aid for producing alcohol but certainly not for building. I said that I would bring her a copy of Barb’s book http://strawworks.co.uk/buy-the-book/ then we could discuss it further. She looked pleased but bemused. I’ll keep you informed. I’ve put a pic of the yoga studio below, see the scary fabric and handcuff things? Apparently they are for use during ‘air yoga.’ Happily so far the air yoga teacher has been away in Beijing so we haven’t been introduced to the delights of this yet. I’m hoping she has a long hol.

I’ve been spending a bit of time increasing my Linkedin profile. Does anyone know how to use Linkedin to its full potential ? I’ve started looking to join more groups: green architecture, strawbale building, straw etc. Again (this post is full of requests!) if anyone has any tips, please email them to me.

Barb (my business partner) and I are fellows of the RSA https://www.thersa.org/ and although it’s nice to have the kudos and permission to use the John Adam St headquarters in London as an occasional meeting place we haven’t found much to connect with in the organisation. However, last night my friend Jan Portillo got elected to the board of Trustees, which is great news and we look forward to working more closely with her and the RSA from now on particularly in the area of affordable housing.

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Finally, our Bristol courses are full this weekend but the Cambridge ones due at the end of November still have some places http://strawworks.co.uk/cambridge-preparing-to-build-with-bales/

Just to bring you back to the Chinese theme of this blog I’ll leave you with a picture of the Medical Sage of Nanyang and his mate.

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Final, final stuff…here are my top 10 things I love about straw: smell, texture, insulative properties, the look, the fact that you can shape it, flexibity, strength, the fact that it’s a waste product and is so useful, it’s empowering to work with and it’s natural.

Let me know your top 10 and I’ll list and rank them.

Categories: bike, blog traffic, books, bookshops, China, Clare Balding, Golden Week, haiku, insulation, low cost housing, Nanyang, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, RSA, Shanghai, Time differences, Top 10 things I love about straw, training for strawbale building, Travel, travel writing, Uncategorized, Working abroad, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Hi from China! It’s all about timing…

Working for Straw Works & The School of Natural Building (SNaB) both UK based organisations, while living elsewhere in the world has some problems, one of which is timing. Until my friend Mary showed me how to use the weather app on my phone (for those of you of a certain age if you have several locations on your weather app including your own,  press the menu and your chosen locations come up on the same screen with the time alongside – really useful) I used to speculate about the time differences, which meant I was never entirely sure when something was going to happen.

For example, I had a skype meeting organised with our European partners recently. They had kindly arranged to meet at 10am their time so that it wouldn’t be the middle of the night for me. 10am UK time is 5pm for me. The only problem was that their 10am was in France which is 4pm for me. Not realising this I had welcomed in the Chinese Mr Fixit with his drill at 3.45pm my time, I hope you’re keeping up with this!

The drill started just as the skype ring tone began. Needless to say my urbane European counterparts were scathing. So much so that they’ve arranged the next meeting at my time 10pm on a Friday evening!!

Timing can be a problem for family too – note the WeChat (Chinese version of What’s App but with video) call from my sister at midnight my time, she was surprised to see me in bed!

Seriously though, there is only a small window of opportunity to actually talk to people in the UK from here and I am awaiting with great trepidation the clocks changing in a couple of weeks.

Last week was ‘Golden Week’ here in China. A national holiday when millions of people are travelling. We joined in and went to Shanghai. A fascinating city with a fusion of cultures. Here’s some pics.

img_2814  Pudong

img_2888 Night time from the Bund

img_2879 The magnificent Shanghai Grand Theatre

Categories: China, Golden Week, insulation, natural house building, natural plasters, RSA, Shanghai, strawbale building, strawbale building courses, Time differences, training for strawbale building, Travel, travel writing, Uncategorized, Working abroad, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Writing @ Cranleigh Arts Centre

I’m running a travel writing workshop as part of Daisy White’s pop up shop initiative. Here’s the details:

Travel Writing Workshop

Join me Eileen Sutherland on Friday 7th Feb at Cranleigh Arts Centre from 1-2.30pm.

I’m running a travel writing workshop.

It’s bound to be wet and miserable outside so come into the warm and spend a bit of time writing about places in the sun.

£5  pay on the day but email daisy@daisywhiteauthor.co.uk

or call 07973864612  to book a place.

 Looking forward to seeing you there.

Best wishes

Eileen Sutherland

Author of Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria.

This workshop is part of a bigger initiative called Daisy White’s Booktique – a pop up shop for authors and artists –see other leaflet and website http://www.daisywhitesbooktique.co.uk

 

 

Categories: bike safety, books, bookshops, cycling, loss, love, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, travel writing, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pop up Indie bookshop in Horsham, West Sussex

I’ve got a ‘slot’ at Daisy White’s pop up indie bookshop from 11.30-12.30 on Saturday 28th September. I’ll be reading from my book, ‘Changing Gear: a bike ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ and running a haiku workshop. You’ll be surprised to hear that the haiku topic will be cycling.

Horsham is a lovely market town with a great Saturday market, interesting little shops. and lovely cafes.

Why not take some time out on an autumnal morning and join me?

Hope to see you there.

popflyer_horsham_130927_29_Fbk Sept 2013

Categories: bike safety, blog traffic, books, bookshops, Bulgaria, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, haiku, middle aged women getting fit, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, West Sussex, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cycling and pop up indie bookshops

Picked up the Easy Way Cyling map for Crawley the other day. It’s a really good, handy sized map of the town centre cycle paths. I called Kay Wagland, one of the people at the council responsible for promoting cycling in Crawley and as a result found myself invited along to a trial ride with one of the councillors. She’s the glam looking one in the pic.

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Also had a great ride last Saturday to Horsham – about 8 miles each way. Left Crawley through Ifield, passing The Gate pub  (where incidentally the Boom Town Rats played just recently), rode through Rusper- which is a bit hilly but manageable and down into Horsham.  The purpose of the ride was to take part in Daisy White’s Pop Up Indie Bookshop

It was a really fun day, I ran a haiku competition, met people from the Crawley and Horsham Writers Circles and I (or should I say Daisy) sold 6 of my books – result!!

 

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, haiku, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, West Sussex, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Al’s Sprint Triathlon

My husband Allan is doing the London Sprint Triathlon on 27th July.

That’s 750m swim followed by a 20k bike ride and finishing with a 5k run. Al’s a pretty fit guy but he’s also 60 this month, so he’s been training hard for this event.  This is what he says about it:

‘I’m doing the London Triathlon in memory of my son Matt and to raise funds for The Compassionate Friends.

It’s 10 years since Matt died and we miss him every day. I think he would have approved of me doing something crazy like this, so please give a donation.

Alreet son! ‘

If you’d like to donate please go to  justgiving.com/allantriathlon

Thanks

Categories: bike safety, books, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, fitness, London, loss, love, Northumberland, running, triathlon, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Melt Yourself Down

Yet again this is not about cycling but it is something you should know about. So here goes.

The tickets were a Fathers day present and I was included.  So last Tuesday evening we went to a gig in Islington. I write the word ‘gig’ advisedly! The band playing were called, Melt Yourself Down. I can’t describe the type of music they play, best to watch this clip to get a flavour.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p019dqxl

Despite being an older person I have to say I loved it! The venue admittedly was a bit claustrophobic and I wondered if I’d be able to stay the course. But the music was so engaging and the lead singer, Kushal Gaya so absolutely mesmerising that my worries about not being able to breathe, about where  the fire exits were, about being able to leave when I wanted all paled into insignificance. If you get a chance to go & see Melt Yourself Down I’d advise you to take it.

I have to say however I was so tired yesterday that I couldn’t even be bothered to write this blog…

Categories: blog traffic, books, cool stuff in London, jazz, London, Melt Yourself Down, middle aged women & music, music, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free book on Kindle for Bike Week

My book, ‘Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ is free on Kindle from tomorrow 15th June to 19th inclusive. UK Bike Week starts tomorrow. Click here for a copy http://tinyurl.com/co5b6ee

This next bit is unrelated but I have to include it in my blog. You would too if you had the opportunity…the other evening I attended the First Woman awards and had my photo taken with Clare Balding!! She’s a very nice woman and she did a great job at the event. Also I seem to remember she did a TV programme about a bike ride in the UK, so mentioning her is not entirely out of place here.  Re the photo below, I must learn from Clare how to look at the camera!!

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Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Kindle, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m so excited…..

I looked at the Kindle rankings this morning and saw my book was number 14 in the Kindle travel section. There are 31,445 books in that section! How cool is that?

But then, to use a ‘Pointless’ phrase, things got even more exciting, when I checked the Kindle non-fiction rankings. There are 1,090,000 books in this section and Changing gear is number 179!!!!

This is probably too many numbers for this time in the morning, so I’m going to stop now and go to the V&A and get inspired.

Thanks to everyone who has bought/downloaded a copy of Changing Gear.

Categories: books, Bulgaria, cycling, Cycling holidays, downloading, Kindle, London, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Top 200 non-fiction books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Running & repairs

Poor Bertha’s been in the wars again. She’s had her front hub greased and generally sorted out…that’s technical talk for you! And she’s all the better for it. No longer does she shimmy from side to side while I try to propel her forward. In fact she’s acting like a proper bike. However because the weather’s been so bad she and I haven’t been out anywhere exciting. In fact we’ve only been as far as the shops. Instead I’ve been persisting with the running programme.

You remember the  NHS from,’Couch to 5k’? On Friday I’ll be on week 9 and will be running (well jogging really) for 30 minutes without stopping. Ideally during that time I’ll cover 5k. I know I’m close because we went to Goffs Park recently where there’s a 4k marked trail and I did that with a bit of time to spare.  Who would have thought it? I’m really pleased but I’m going to have to work on my self belief, as I start every run with the thought that I won’t be able to do it. Any tips on cultivating positive thinking will be gratefully received.

Which leads me to other empowering stuff… Straw Works, a company I work for is holding a 1 day introductory course to natural plasters – lime & clay, on the 20th of April.  Go to http://www.strawworks.co.uk  Click on the ‘Bale Frenzy’ button and check out ‘Getting Plastered.’ You’ll love it!

Last thought…my book Changing Gear. A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria will be free on Kindle from 5th-9th April inclusive. Click here to read it http://tinyurl.com/co5b6ee    Hope you like it.

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, cycling, Ecobuild, fitness, middle aged women getting fit, natural house building, natural plasters, running, strawbale building, strawbale building courses, womens cycling, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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