Over at Womagwriter’s amazingly informative blog (http://womagwriter.blogspot.co.uk/), there’s often a “story behind the story” post from writers who have a piece of fiction appearing in a current magazine. In a similar spirit, I thought I would explain where the idea for my “Yours” story, Green Granddad, had come from.
As my friends and family know, I’m fairly “eco” minded (other than driving a 4×4!). Though far from wholly self-sufficient for fruit and veggies, I try to get something home-grown on the table in the appropriate seasons. I compost anything compostable, and dig it back into the garden. I keep hens, so we always have a decent supply of eggs. As a family, we try to reuse or recycle as much as possible, and avoid rash purchases of things we don’t need. I hate waste, and hoard all manner of potentially useful things (fabric, bubble wrap, ribbons and trimmings etc). And we have more “rescue” furniture than our house can reasonably hold, because we hate to see something useful thrown away.
And where do I get my frugal nature from? My parents, of course. On the face of it, Mum was house proud and tidy but she was a secret hoarder of bits and pieces (as ‘you’ll never know when it might come in handy’). And my dad is a proper old-fashioned gent. He was brought up in an era where “make do and mend” was a necessity, not a lifestyle choice. Almost his entire way of life would be seen as embracing many eco ethics. From the ingenious ways he reuses all manner of items around the house and garden, to his care over the food shopping to avoid waste, to the fact he still uses his bike rather than the car if the journey permits (he’s 85!).
Yet my dad would not see himself as someone concerned with “green issues”. Like so many modern trends in life (healthy eating, sensible exercise, DIY, etc) “green” is rather meaningless to my Dad. He does all these things because they are part of the way he was brought up in an age when you simply couldn’t afford to waste anything – be it food, clothing, or fuel. I often watch news items about “new initiatives” in matters of money, health or the environment, and have a wry smile to myself, wondering if Dad is watching the same news item. If so, he’ll be muttering that none of this is new – it’s simply what he’s done all his life.