Sunday, August 24, 2014

retirement writings

Over the past few months I have been talking with many members of Men’s Sheds throughout the North Island of New Zealand, as well as reading extensively on issues relating to retirement.
The key themes apparent in my study of retirement issues are that a loss of purpose upon retirement after decades of responding to the manifold demands of work and family can make life appear to be meaningless. Faced with a loss of purpose and a lack of meaning can lead people to give up hope.
A sense of hopelessness is often what precipitates a rapid decline in physical and mental health in retired people, and it may be noted that the loss of hope can be the final straw which drives people to commit suicide.
In discussions at the Shed about retirement, Shed members often refer to the fact that their fathers and other older male relatives were often dead within eighteen month of retirement. Studies have shown that eighteen months of feeling “blue” (not even mildly depressed) can have a severely negative effect upon the body’s immune system and general functioning to the point where severe illness sets in, leading to a rapid decline and death.
This is the first in a series of notes (which I intend to turn into articles for publications) in which I will explore the issues men face upon retirement - issues they are ill-prepared to face, and which comprise the most difficult problems many of us have ever encountered.
My main themes will be addressing loss of purpose, meaning and hope as discussed above, how planning and adapting to changing circumstances can help overcome these problems; and, of course, the invaluable role Men’s Sheds can play in developing strategies and providing opportunities to help us successfully cope with these and other complex retirement issues.

These writings may be followed on my dedicated Men's Shed blog:

Sunday, August 03, 2014

feng shui art for sale

I have been busy uploading my images of my Feng Shui artworks to my new blog:

Nathan at the Men’s Shed has been helping me with ensuring that my translations and interpretations of the calligraphy and texts are correct.
In addition, I am preparing to produce a new body of work based on the I Ching as well as images and texts in Adjit Moorerjee’s book “Yoga Art”.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I have been busy at the Men's Shed North Shore refurbishing some old tools, which I will take up to the Pacific Islands next year. The boys at the Shed have been helping me with donations of tools, as well as technical advice on woodturning, sharpening and other technical matters - thanks guys!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

free steel!

My chum Eric from the Shed and I scored some free metal for the Shed from a local demolition site.
See more pix at my Shed blog:

Monday, May 05, 2014

goat road kill

Over Easter I drove down to Tarankai to look after the sheep farm & campground for a few days while the Herberts attended a wedding in Wellington.
On the way I came across a young goat which had very recently been hit and killed outright. Once gutted it fitted neatly into my spare chillybin, and neighbour Lindsay gave me a hand to skin it.
I then hung the carcass in the woolshed for 24 hours before roasting the ribs - delicious!

Monday, April 14, 2014

feed the man meat!

Here is the meat haul mentioned in the Sunday Star Times article (below) the other week - this is my pile, I gave as much again away!

stacked in the freezer

Thursday, April 10, 2014

freeganing in the media

On Sunday 31 March the Sunday Star Times here in Auckland published an article on the tremendous waste of perfectly good food worldwide - and included an interview with myself:

photo by Lawrence Smith/FairfaxNZ
Diary of a Well-fed Freegan
0ne man's Waste is another’s dinner, and it’s not just about dumpster diving, writes Shabnam Dastgheib.

AFTER SEVEN years of not paying for food, tools or art supplies, 63-year-old Martin Adlington has freeganism down to a fine art.
He finds wine, biscuits, eggs, cheese, and bread and dips in a typical haul from a typical dive in a typical supermarket dumpster. He goes only when he feels like it and often finds enough to donate to large, hungry families in Auckland.
This month, World Bank senior economist Jose Cuesta targeted retailers and consumers to find a
solution to the world’s staggering food waste. A United Nations- backed campaign Think Eat Save
estimates that in industrialized nations 300 million tonnes of food fit for consumption is wasted by retailers and consumers each year.
Wellington volunteer organisation Kaibosh “rescues” food and redistributes it to charity organisations. General manager Matt Dagger said the organisation took the food only with permission from the retailers and there were strict health procedures in place.In the past 12 months they had rescued 120 tonnes (equal to 342,000 meals) of food. “There's a lot of food that is being wasted while there’s a lot of people who are hungry,” Dagger said.
This is where freegans come in: they use up some of the food which would otherwise be wasted
and they shun the consumerism which they believe has led to poverty and inequality.
There is a lot more to the movement than just dumpster- diving - though it is most commonly associated with digging around in the trash - because most don't do it out of financial necessity.

Martin has spent virtually no money on food, tools or ar supplies for the last seven years. His biggest expenses are insurance, rates and healthcare which come out of his savings from years of self-employment but everything else is almost free.
Breakfast: I make a coffee out of coffee I have found in the trash. Sometimes I find a sealed kilo bag. For breakfast I often eat bacon that I have found and eggs from the skips. They shrink-wrap the eggs in trays of 30 so if one breaks, they throw the rest away and I find those. I eat that with lebanese flatbreads I often find in the skips.
Morning tea: Might be some biscuits if I've been lucky enough to find them.
Lunch: I often find a lot of dips in the skip, pesto and pate. I find cheeses like feta and ricotta. When you see the expiry date, it’s often still in a week's time. It's insanity on an industrial scale. I eat the dips and cheeses with vegetables and bread I have found, or the trimmings of vegetables from grocery stores.
Pre-dinner: I have a beer which I make myself or wine if I find some. Other freegans find juices which are fermentable and make wine from these.
Dinner: tonight snapper and gurnard are on the menu. Last night it was flounder with vegetables. There isn't often fish, but there has been a run of it lately.
The other week I filled my entire freezer with meat - some of it yet to expire in a few day's time.
Sometimes I find and eat roadkill. Pretty much every road trip I find something - turkey or pheasant -it might have only broken its neck: and be very recently dead.
After dinner: I'll go out in the van and go out in the skips. I don't go out every night but  feel like it or l’m low on things I will. Sometimes if l find quite a lot of food, I will donate things to big families I know in Auckland. There are kids going hungry so they are happy to get the stuff.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

freeganing again

Looks like bacon'n'eggs for me for the next week or so - I found six packets of bacon & a tray of 24 eggs in the skip last night (gave half to my neighbour).
Check out the "best before" date on the middle bacon = 1 May 2014!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

pacific aid project

As an environmental artist I see a lot of perfectly good materials being disposed of in landfill. Having lived in Fiji and visited several Pacific islands I am aware that much of our waste would be very welcome to our neighbours - particularly after disasters such as tsunamis and hurricanes. The remoteness and often poverty of these islands makes recovery from disaster extremely difficult and very expensive.
I have previously organised assistance to Bali after the bombing ("Byron Loves Bali" in 2003), and to Niuatoputapu in Tonga after the tsunami (2010). Currently I am continuing to collect tools, knives, nails, and pots and pans for Niua as many of the people have by no means recovered from the damage of the tsunami.

See details on my blog

tsunami damage

someone's roof in the lagoon
john with donations 2014
distribution of goods from yacht Atutaki in 2010
hammers for niua 2014