Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Circus is in town

Hey everyone, the circus is in town!

Maybe I'll give it a miss. In case you've missed it, I live in Northern Norway. Circus Merano are Norway's touring circus. These are just a couple of creative commons pictures I found but if you want to look at Merano's website, you can find birds, dogs and goats as well as the elephant and horse, performing for the happy children.

I mention the fact that I live in Northern Norway for a good reason and that is because it is a long long way from anywhere else, including southern Norway. I have seen these circus trucks traveling and the conditions look none too comfortable. When we needed a car two years ago, Matthew drove to Trondheim, the next major city south from us to get a better deal. It took him 11 hours to drive it and that's only a little way down! I cannot think what these animals go through during these journeys. Yet I guess that's nothing compared to how they were trained to perform such wonderful crowd pleasing tricks.

I have always had a huge problem with circuses that exploit animals. Why can't a circus build a reputation on the clever things 'people' are capable of? Yet if people decided to boycott circuses that use animals, these companies would be forced to make a change. Yet the audiences still come. Those who would 'rather not think about it' keep this inhumane activity going and prolong the suffering of animals such as these. For those who say these animals are happy, they are not. Both you and I and everyone else knows it.

As I passed the poster for the circus the other day I was playing a CD in the car. It is Heidi's favourite CD and used to be one of my old albums entitled 'The Runaway Train'. Just as we passed the poster, 'Nellie the Elephant' came on the stereo and I sang it all the way through to Heidi's amusement. We listened to it 3 times with Heidi joining in as she learned the words.

Please let you children grow up knowing that animals deserve better.

Saturday, 24 May 2008


Today Heidi, Miller and I took a trip to the next town below us, Bardufoss, whilst Matthew spent the day at the studio editing and uploading Yoga Baby (that's one good husband I have!) On our way we passed a family of Reindeer om the main road. I was able to stop and get a couple of pics so thought I would post them up. It also reminded me that people here, including my friends, eat Reindeer meat. I remember just before I left the UK seeing Reindeer meat listed as a delicacy in an upmarket (apparently) supermarket. It doesn't bear thinking about when you see a family of animals like this, doing no harm to humankind, just going about it's survival. What happens to the children in this family when its mother and father are caught and killed, or shot in the name of sport (hunting is a popular pastime still)? Does anyone even care. Well, they should. Heidi was thrilled to see these beautiful creatures and I would never ask her unknowingly to eat the flesh from one of them. How could I and be a caring and conscious individual? Not when our survival doesn't depend on it. I just hope the family I saw today and which brought such a moment of joy to us, will live a peaceful and natural full life.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

My boots

Hi all,

I hope you are enjoying Summer. I cannot believe it is still snowing here. Yes, I know i live in the Arctic but this is late for snow even here. At last I am due some sun soon as I am leading a yoga holiday mid June to Greece, I'm excited but my first time away from the children so it will be hard too.

Last Saturday I had a rare opportunity to go out socializing which was very pleasant, beside a lot of drunk people falling around the place, I got to see a great band and met some Swedish people working on a contract up here. However during this night my vegan argument fell down a little! I had on a pair of suede knee high boots. I have had these boots for a number of years and when I turned vegan I toyed with ideas of what to do with them. After some thought (perhaps not enough) I decided to keep wearing them for now until I found a vegan pair I liked and could afford with the thought that I could not save the cow now and throwing them away did not gain anything for the animals. So, here I was, talking about veganism in a bar at 2am and the conversation moved to my boots. I explained my choice as I have above but it did not sound convincing, even to me. I felt like a fraud.

The outcome was that I came home, took the boots off and threw them in the rubbish pile. I now realize that it is hypocritical to talk of my compassion for animals whilst wearing their skin. I realise I may not have money to but vegan boots on the internet right now but at least I can make my choices whereas the cow being killed for its flesh and skin does not have any choices.

Just found this definition of Suede on Wikipedia as I wondered if it was just cow skin - here is the answer...
Suede leather is made from the under side of the skin, primarily lamb, although goat, pig, calf and deer are commonly used. Splits from thick hides of cow and deer are also sueded but due to the fiber nature have a shaggy nap. Because suede does not include the tough exterior skin layer, suede is less durable but softer than standard ("full-grain") leather. Its softness, thinness, and pliability make it suitable for clothing and delicate uses; suede was originally used for women's gloves. Suede leather is also popular in upholstery, shoes, bags, and other accessories, and as a lining for other leather products. Due to its textured nature and open pores, suede may become dirty and absorb liquids quickly.

Sunday, 11 May 2008


Ok, by now you know my views on meat eating but if you cannot stop your habit immediately, how about letting one thing at time go. Let's start here.

Calves raised for veal are taken from their mothers immediately after birth and raised so as to deliberately induce borderline anemia. Calves are then denied basic needs, including access to their mother's milk, access to pasture and exercise and often prohibited from any movement at all in order to produce the pale-colored flesh for which veal is coveted.

Calves confined in veal crates, usually measuring 2-feet-wide, cannot turn around, stretch their limbs, or even lie down comfortably. Scientific research indicates that calves confined in crates experience "chronic stress" and require approximately five times more medication than calves living in more spacious conditions. It is not surprising, then, that veal is among the most likely meat to contain illegal drug residues, which pose a threat to human consumers. Researchers also report that veal calves exhibit abnormal coping behaviors associated with frustration including head tossing and shaking, kicking, scratching, and stereotypical chewing behavior. Confined calves experience leg and joint disorders and an impaired ability to walk.

Based on these finding and incredible outreach and advocacy by animal advocates, the American Veal Association has just passed a resolution calling for the veal industry to phase out the use of individual stalls. This is a good first step by the industry in recognizing the suffering that calves destined for the veal industry must endure. However, our work is far from over.
What You Can Do

1. Please don't buy veal, and educate others about this abuse.
2. Contact restaurants in your city and urge them to take veal off the menu. Ask them to sign a "no veal" pledge.
3. Contribute to Farm Sanctuary's campaign to end veal production.

Farm Sanctuary - East
P.O. Box 150
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
ph: 607-583-2225
fx: 607-583-2041 Farm Sanctuary - West
P.O. Box 1065
Orland, CA 95963
ph: 530-865-4617
fx: 530-865-4622

Thanks to Farm Sanctuary for the information.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Potato, lentil and baked bean cakes.

So this could be the oddest dinner I have made the kids in while but it turned out to be one of the best I had ever made! I wanted to share it because Miller and Heidi absolutely loved the outcome of this thrown together mess of leftovers. You could make it from fresh and I'm sure it would be even nicer! Apologies I don't ever measure - it's more fun that way!

Potato, Lentil and baked bean cakes:

Some cooked red lentils (I had made some earlier in the day and used a full cup of cooked lentils blended with half a roasted red pepper and some olive oil to make a sandwich spread which was pretty good too, need to play a bit more with this recipe!)
Mashed potato (or ready to go mashed potato mixture)
Flour (just to take the stickyness out of the mixture)
Couple of spoons of cooked baked beans
Optional herbs

Mix everything up (make sure lentils well drained). Add touch of water to mixture if needed to get a patty like consistency. If too much add a bit more flour or some breadcrumbs. Heat a frying pan, drizzle pan with olive oil, form the cakes into whatever shape you like - I was going to make mine into fishes with Heidi but her favourite show came on tv and I suddenly wasn't very interesting any more. Cook until crisp on each side, cool a bit, and serve, preferably with a salad if your children will entertain it, I am struggling with getting my two to eat salad but they are eating so well now I don't mind so much :-)

And there you have it. If you didn't tell anyone the ingredients I am sure you could pass these off as a posh dinner appitizer with some rocket and a chilli sauce dip - gorgeous!

Sunday, 4 May 2008


Just a very quick post today to share great site with you. It is called Vegan Essentials ( After searching all the stores here to find a hand cream without animal parts in with no success I had a look on the web. I had ordered some vitamins from vegan essentials before so went there to have a look and the range of goods they have is brilliant. It even gives you currency conversion to your preferred currency and is super easy to navigate around. I ordered a bundle of stuff, hand cream, face cream, soap, deodorant, blah blah and I think my order can to around 15 us dollars. Not bad!

So, that's it for this post, apart from to say the cute picture is of Heidi and Miller taking yoga practice with me. Ended up more like wrestling but what the heck!

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