Review: Toy Story 4 — spoilers



** Spoilers ahoy for both Toy Story 4 and Remains of the Day — Look away now **

The Toy Story 4 plot is a mixture of Remains of the Day and the Empty Nest Syndrome.

The story begins with a flashback to nine years previously when Woody has to choose between protecting and caring for his child, Andy, and love. At that time, Andy was young and still needed Woody who was the ‘favourite toy’, as the cowboy says in the movie.

However, time has passed and his new owner is more interested in playing with other toys. She prefers a cowgirl to a cowboy and Woody has to examine whether loyalty alone can sustain him as he is rejected and kept in the closet.

Woody used to be the leader of the toy household but now he can no longer claim that accolade.

Bonnie is set to begin kindergarten and on orientation day he sneaks into her bag — even though no toys are allowed — and helps her when she is all alone. He takes trash out of the bin to give her material to fulfil the creative task the tiny people are assigned. Bonnie creates Forkie, a combo spork and accessories who identifies more closely with being trash than being a toy.

We then see Woody in his parenting role as he has to spend sleepless nights babysitting Forkie and keeping him out of the bin. As the family and toys –including Forkie, the new ‘favourite’ toy — go on a roadtrip, Woody finds himself chasing down Forkie on a highways as the new trash/toy has leapt out.

Once he finds him, he helps Forkie see his new role in life as something warm, safe and secure for Bonnie. Woody can’t be that for her so he has to help her find it elsewhere.

In a second-hand store, full of antiques, Woody spots something that reminds him of Bo Peep, his true love; the woman he sacrificed for Andy. In that store he finds a doll who has been pining for the perfect life — the one she would have if only she was perfect and could finally gain the attention and love of the little girl whose grandma runs the store. To capture Harmony’s attention, Gabby needs a voice box since hers is defective. It’s something that Woody has.

More importantly though, the voice box is the link between the toy world and the human world. Gabby thinks if she can just communicate with the humans, they will love her and take her off the shelf. Woody realises by the end that his last connection to linking back to the human world — his voice box — is probably not going to help him.

Ultimately, toys gain their identity from belonging to someone; to children. That is their entire purpose. Or so it seems.

Woody doesn’t need his voice box to communicate with other toys. And the Lost Toys, the ones without children to watch over or care for, are proof that we can survive on our own. We can choose our paths.

Woody’s last decision will mirror his first one: does he choose his own happiness or his loyalty. In the first decision, he doesn’t really have a choice because he is nothing without a child. His identity as a toy (or as a parent) is tied up with his loyalty.

By the time he decides again, the loyalty is no longer beneficial to his identity. He won’t die without it — the Lost Toys have shown him that — and he isn’t of any use to his children anymore (one is at College and the other prefers the cowgirl Jessie).

Remains of the Day is heartbreaking because when the butler has to choose between his service or his personal life, he later realises that he was holding on to the wrong idea of loyalty.

Woody’s empowered choice shows us that there is life after parenthood; which is really the subtext of the book. We raise our children and then when we can do no more, we trust that the community we’ve given them, and the structures we’ve put in place will serve them well.

And then we pick up as individuals and carry on.


Knitting Politics: a method — TBC —

The picture of C.D.N.-N.D.G. Mayor Sue Montgomery, the borough mayor of Montreal knitting her way through a council meeting has now gone viral. She knits in red when men speak and in green when women speak. Her knitting is tapered and starts narrow but gets quite wide. I’ve read since her initial tweet that the ratio is around 80:20 men speaking, to women speaking.

As a knitter and a social researcher, this got me thinking. The first thing that occurred to me was that I had to try it myself. I am already a local politics enthusiast and so knitting my way through a Full Council meeting sounded like a brilliant use of my time.

I decided to even cast on by gender colour. Bristol City Council had/has a woman Lord Mayor and the casting on began with pink. I chose stereotypical colours to make the choices immediately visible.


Within a few rows, I encountered a methodological problem. Switching between colours after knitting for a while, meant that yarn was crossing the material all over the place; also, garter stitch meant that the previous row’s colour [once a change occurred] showed up on the next row.

This impacted the design of the project in three ways:

  1. The colours were not isolated so it was difficult to determine who spoke when, in small clusters of stitches. People would have to speak for a long time for it to be visible.
  2. The material is very ‘messy’ and making it into any kind of blanket or shawl would be almost impossible.
  3. Yarn would constantly have to be cut or moved around, and it was slowing down the knitting and wasting yarn.

I realised that knitting the colours together would not be a useful method. I suspect that the mayor was turning a row every time a new speaker began, or a different gendered/sex speaker began talking. However, this limits the use of using knitting to measure differences.

Method 1: Fail

I had also decided to make the knitting into squares so the narrow and wide parts of the shawl did not give misleading impressions on length of time spoken. This is one of the criticisms of pie charts — because of their narrow points and wide edges, it’s difficult to measure differences between categories. Bar graphs from the same axis are the best way to compare, in some situations.

Squares would also mean I could make a blanket at the end of say, a year’s worth of meetings.

An alternative I would like to also do is use different colours for different political parties, but one weakness to that method would be my lack of knowledge as to who is in which party. I recognise some politicians but not all. Would the Lord Mayor/chair have a different colour? Non-politician / city council people speaking, such as at public forum?

For now, gender [cis/trans] seems the easiest way to practice this.

 Method 2

I decided to try a new method. I would have two sets of needles (same size – 4.5mm) , two balls of yarn, and I would knit two separate squares. I would pick up either the male or female knitting set each time someone spoke.

One limitation to this might be that it could be cumbersome to have both sets at full council, in the chamber; or at home, next to wherever I was watching the council meeting.

One slip knot was tied on each needle to begin.

Each square would be 20 sts long and therefore the number of sts could be counted and measured at the end of the year.

This approach worked much better.

The red yarn was used whenever a woman was speaking; the yellow yarn was used whenever a man was speaking.

The evident, as in ‘visible’ conclusion is that women spoke more than men. Which seems perfectly acceptable.

However, another methodological problem appeared. The two yarns were slightly different in weight and texture. The red yarn has tighter rows with few gaps in between. If these two square-ish materials were to be measured in inches or centimetres, the result could be misleading.

Also, when the speakers finish in the middle of a row, I have so far knit to the end before turning and casting off. This is for practical purposes in order to make sure all the squares/rectangles can be joined at the end. I feel it

Method 2: almost successful

Method 3

Same size needles; same size and weight and type of yarn; CO as the speaker speaks, two separate knitting projects; Bind off; join.

Once all the squares for the year are knit up — and this can be done in retrospect too since the full council webcasts are available — I intend to conduct chi-square tests for how many stitches are expected according to the gender balance in the chamber, and whether reality signficantly differs from expectation.

Will we be able to reject the null hypothesis of: the length of time people speak in the chamber is unrelated to gender?

Method 3 seems to account for most issues with the research method. Note the difference in clarity between knitting both colours at the same time and separately [see image].

Both are approximately the same length of time.

Some further thoughts:

Should every speaker be counted to ascertain the numbers for the chi square test, or is it sufficient to note the ratio of attendees at the meeting? For example, there were a number of councillors at Full Council on 21 May but not all of them spoke.

Full Council: 19 March 2019 [3:54:57]

Full Council: 21 May 2019 [1:48:37]

List of attendees.

Conclusion from meeting 21/05/19

Of those expected and present, there were 50 men and 45 women, which means there were 52.6% men in the chamber: Of speaking time, men spoke for 40.9% of the time.

Data: 50 men (52.6%); 45 women.

men 18×20 =360 sts (40.9%) ;women= 26×20 =520 sts;

The chi-square statistic is 46.25, which gives a statistically significant result. More women spoke than expected.

— TBC —

Secrecy, the Western Harbour, transport, and billions in development

The Local Plan is currently open to the public for consultation:

At the Central Library the previous week, a young man, looking all suited and polished and very approachable, stood in front of a Local Plan display board. I went over to take a look.

I told him I was interested in seeing the part about the Western Harbour, and he opened the plan up to the relevant section, and showed me the relevant page.

“So where will all the high-rise towers be built,” I asked him.

He assured me there would be no high-rise towers at the Western Harbour, just a reclassification from industrial use to high-density urban. No planning applications exist for high-rise towers. The area had been used for warehouses and industrial purposes, and those were no longer needed so it was time change the usage.

When usage changes from say warehouses/industrial to residential, every few years, people who owned land that couldn’t be developed, suddenly get a windfall as their land multiplies in value.


75% of the land at the Western Harbour is apparently owned by the council. Who owns the other 25%?

Much of what is happening has been shrouded in secrecy so we don’t know much.

Even the term Western Harbour was announced in secrecy last September when the mayor went on some visits:

The [leaked] brochure the mayor took with him overseas on his tour includes the first mention of the Western Harbour, currently known as Cumberland Basin. Bristol City Council claims [it] “is one of the most desirable development locations in the UK”.

The nice young man at the library told me that it would be too expensive to maintain the road system at the Cumberland Basin so it will be redesigned. He didn’t mention that with it gone, there would be potential for over 1000-3000 homes.

So roads & transport are a priority.

One of the first and perhaps only pieces so far to discuss the future of the Cumberland Basin was the following one on Bristol24/7: The Future of the Cumberland Basin.

“With 75 per cent of the land already owned by the city council, […] The residential elements alone hav[e] a gross development value estimated at more than £1 billion.”

The big issue is roads.

“Unless you solve the traffic issues, you don’t have a project,” said Kevin Slocombe, head of the mayor’s office who has also been working closely on the Western Harbour project. “And you would not develop that site with the existing infrastructure.”

“The transport options have to come first,” Slocombe added. “You cannot even imagine the scale of the development unless you get rid of those roads. That opens up the scale.”

Which may explain why the mayor’s head of office & Colin Molton also sit on the Bristol Transport Board. As covered by Kate Wilson in the Bristol Post:

“The two representatives [the council can nominate] are Colin Molton the interim executive director of growth and regeneration and head of the mayor’s office Kevin Slocombe.

“Mr Slocombe has no transport role as part of his brief but when asked why he was on the board as well as the mayor and what he would bring to the role, he refused to answer saying he didn’t see the “relevance” of the question.”

It seems that billions worth of investment and development rely on how transport and infrastructure is decided in Bristol. Despite the council now establishing its own housing company, the development is possibly geared to being done privately:

But the Western Harbour itself looks likely to be financed privately, with that Argos catalogue of a Bristol Investment Brochure giving investment opportunities that, in Rees’ words, “develop firm and long lasting investment partnerships with you that deliver for the people of Bristol”.

Further information about the progress of work on the Western Harbour has been gathered together at the following website:

“The stakeholder group is pressing for early community involvement in this development but so far, only a single meeting with members of the mayor’s office in June 2018 has been held.”

It’s beyond me why there’s so much secrecy. The brochure had to be leaked before the residents of Bristol knew what was for sale, and the councillor of Hotwells & Harbourside has little information.

Mark Wright told the growth and regeneration scrutiny commission:

“Why do we have to keep dragging every bit of information out of the council on this?

“It’s not usually quite so secretive about the reports. People are wondering what was in the brief.

“It wouldn’t normally be the case at the scrutiny committee a year after this started with us asking ‘where’s the brief, why can’t we see the brief?’

“In this case, all we keep hearing is the mayor has an amazing idea and then we have to keep dragging out the information.”

From the minutes:

It was confirmed that there were 10 options being drawn up and all of them would be available for the public to view.

Members asked what types of schemes were being drawn up. They were informed that the company were given a free reign.

A Member commented that they felt it was difficult to access information about this project and that in their opinion officers were being unusually guarded about it. It was agreed that the feasibility project brief would be provided to the Commission Members and would also be up-loaded onto (link: http://Mod.Gov) Mod.Gov for members of the public to see. ACTION: for the Western Harbour project brief to be sent to the Commission Members and uploaded to the meeting webpage.

See the following piece from Local Democracy Reporter Adam Postans about the goings on and complaints at the Growth and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee.

The following document is the project brief to Arup: Project Brief for Cumberland Basin feasibility study.

I have put in a freedom of information request to try to access a copy of the report that has long been promised to scrutiny and councillors but has yet to make an appearance.

The 20 Worst Polluted Places in Bristol

The 20 worst polluted places in Bristol 2017


The 20 worst polluted places in Bristol 2017


NO2 µg/m3
(2017 annual average)
% above legal limit


1 Parson St. A38 East 67 67%
2 Ashley Road St. Pauls 65 63%
3 Colston Avenue (The Centre) 63 58%
4 Anchor Road 62 54%
5 Newfoundland Way 61 53%
6 Bedminster Down Rd (Ashton Motors / Plough PH) 58 46%
7 Galleries 57 41%
8 Parson Street Bedminster Down Road 56 40%
9 York Road 56 40%
10 Top of Brislington Hill 54 35%
11 Three Lamps 53 32%
12 Stokes Croft 52 31%
13 Stapleton Road Heath Street (M32) 52 31%
14 Merchants Road Hotwells 52 30%
15 Bath Road (Arnos Vale) 52 29%
16 Parson St (Bristol Scuba) 51 28%
17 Whitehall Rd / Easton Rd 50 26%
18 Victoria Street 50 25%
19 Horsefair 49 23%
20 Gloucester Road (Bishopston Library) 49 23%

[Source: Hotwells and Clifton Wood Clean Air Group]

The cancelled Bristol arena is costing the city £12m

The cancelled Bristol arena that is not being built is costing the city £12m.

The 2019/20 Budget shows that money has been found from reserves to cover the costs. Ordinarily, the costs would have been funded from the capital stream of the budget; the part that deals with capital costs for things such as buildings and investments. The revenue stream deals with costs like libraries, and cuts, like those to libraries.

In the Resources Scrutiny Commission report we have the following comments. There is no mention of costs incurred due to the arena in this year’s budget:
8. Arena Funding

Members wanted to understand what the revenue impact of not going ahead with the arena at Arena Island was and to know what the interest savings were. Officers confirmed that £2.5
million per year is being saved.

 Members were keen to understand more about the differing land values for the site
depending on the eventual use but were told it would be valued at the time depending on
the scheme. Members were surprised that such calculations had not already been carried
out by officers utilising the various different possibilities for the land use.

 Members requested to receive further information in due course about the alternative
business cases that will be submitted to the LEP Board for the now unused £53 million.

In the Resources Scrutiny Committee Report, (p.14) however, there is the following chart that shows £12m of arena costs have reverted to the Revenue budget because they can no longer be treated as capital.

The Revenue budget is explained by the council as follows: ”

Before the start of each financial year, we need to set a budget for our day-to-day expenditure. This is called the Revenue Budget and is the amount of money we’ll need to provide our services during the year, taking into account grants we receive from the Government. Examples include staff salaries, building maintenance and the costs of running council vehicles.”

It is from this budget that the £12m was paid, the one that impacts staff salaries. The council drew money from reserves to meet this cost.

We know that from 2020 onwards, we are on our own and almost all our funding from central government will have gone – meaning the city’s services will be almost entirely dependent on council tax, business rates and income we can raise from other sources. By this time, responsibility for funding key services will have effectively shifted from central government to local tax payers.

We know, as the budget tells us, that by next year, there will be no central grant left and it will be local tax payers who will be funding key services. This is no time for spending Bristol’s money on projects that are not being built. It is also not the time to be losing £53m of funding that would have gone into the arena from the LEP.

All Budget reports can be found at the following page with all the reports and appendices.

Marvin Rees blames NHS for air pollution deaths in response to doctor’s petition

An excellent post by PsychoPolitico on aggressive behaviour by the mayor of Bristol.


Anyone who follows the trials and tribulations of Bristol’s local politics is already familiar with the Mayor’s hostility towards questioning, and inability to tolerate any form of criticism.

As a case in point, Marvin was so prickled by a petition about air pollution at Full Council this week that he managed to attack the NHS itself for causing deaths from air pollution.

The lead petitioner, a doctor, asked on behalf of 70 health professionals:

“We would like to know how the inaction on cleaning up our air is justified, and what equalities focused measures the Mayor is considering alongside the clean air zone to mitigate its costs for those who can least afford them, are contributing the least to the problem, and who are suffering the most”.

After some condescending deflection, and a mandatory ramble about Labour’s green credentials [sic], Marvin responded in fairly typical Marvin style by going on…

View original post 382 more words

Bristol City Councillor attendance and absence

On the 24th of October 2018, I queried councillor attendance at meetings they were expected to attend. The data is at the following link and I have queried from the beginning of 2015 until October 2018.

Only currently active councillors have any data attached to them.
Note that reasons for not being in attendance can include being unwell, maternity leave, etc. Margaret Hickman for example has stated that she had been unwell.
There’s some additional insight in this following article by Local Democracy Reporter Amanda Cameron. Quoting then-Labour councillor Harriet Bradley, it is pointed out that:

“Many of us are standing down at the end of this term because of the workload and stress,” she said, as an investigation by the Local Democracy Reporting Service reveals that fewer than half of Bristol’s 70 councillors have turned up to every full council meeting this year, according to council records.

Six councillors, four from the Labour group and two Conservatives, have shown up to just three or four of six meetings, the records on Bristol City Council’s website show.

The striking thing about the high percentage of absences from councillors is that for a period of time, the lowest attendances were from the Lawrence Hill councillors.
The following data table is from the time period August 2019 to January 2020. Margaret Hickman’s percentage attendance [not shown] was 92%, while her fellow Lawrence Hill councillor’s is down to 40%.
august 19 to January 20
But the data can be misleading. Councillor Mike Langley is no longer at the council after having died in 2019. Councillor Liz Radford has been on sick leave. The reasons aren’t given.
We also don’t know from this top level data, which meetings weren’t attended and what effect this may have had on constituents, if any. That would be interesting to investigate.

New book by Darren Allen, 33 Myths of the System

The cover looks as if the ground and nature have opened up and slowly produced a book out of the leaves and petals and stamen and poetry. If Walt Whitman had drawn Leaves of Grass, I imagine it would look like Darren Allen’s cover to the 33 Myths of the System. Maybe without the pause button.

The content is offered as freely as nature offers her creations; to be delighted in or stomped on, you choose.


What Allen says:

A brief guide to the Unworld

As civilisation reaches endgame and begins to disintegrate, as the illusions of left and right coalesce into a single, spectacular omnimyth, as every rootless mind begins to directly experience the stupefying dystopias of Orwell, Huxley, Kafka and Dick, the time has come to understand the whole system, from root to fruit.

Drawing on the entire history of radical thought, while seeking to plumb their common depths, 33 Myths of the System, presents a synthesis of independent criticism, a straightforward exposure of the justifications of the world-system, along with a new way to perceive and understand the unhappy supermind that directs, penetrates and even lives our lives.

33 Myths of the System confronts the fabrications of both capitalism and socialism, both left and right, both theism and atheism. As such it may be, for some, a challenging read. But if you are willing to face not just the world out there, but the anxieties and desires in here which sustain it, 33 Myths of the System — together with its companion 33 Myths of the Ego — will be a liberating read.

33 Myths of the System is now available from the following link:

Advent crochet blanket – 24 days of crochet patterns

Advent Crochet Blanket

[Dec 2, Update: Day one picture, hook size, yarn; Day two pattern and picture; Day three; Day four; Day five; Day six]

With no Advent Calendar of my own to keep me busy, I thought I’d post on 24 days of crocheting. A couple of years ago I wrote up 24 patterns but haven’t put it together well enough to publish as an actual pattern so I thought I’d post here. I’ll update this post daily for the 24 days of Advent.

Day 1 — Crochet candy cane square

Wool or a non-stretchy cotton/linen/bamboo DK. The bigger the yarn, the bigger the blanket.

Hook 4.5mm.

Dc = Double Crochet
Sk = Skip
Sl St = Slip Stitch
Sp/Sps = Space/Spaces
St/Sts = Stitch/Stitches
Chain 20 loosely.
Row 1: Dc in fourth ch from hook and in each ch across. (18 dc)
Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc, now and throughout), turn; dc in next 17 sts. (18 dc)
Row 3: Ch 3, turn; dc in next 5 sts, ch 2, skip next 2 sts, dc in next 10 sts. (16 dc)
Row 4: Ch 3, turn; dc in next 8 sts, ch 2, skip next st, dc in ch-2 sp, dc in last 6 sts. (16 dc)
Row 5: Ch 3, turn; dc in next 6 sts, dc in ch-2 sp, ch 2, sk next st, dc in last 8 sts. (16 dc)
Row 6: Ch 3, turn; dc in next 6 sts, ch 2, skip next st, dc in ch-2 sp, dc in last 8 sts. (16 dc)
Row 7: Ch 3, turn; dc in next 8 sts, dc in ch-2 sp, ch 2, sk next st, dc in last 6 sts. (16 dc)
Row 8: Ch 3, turn; dc in next 4 sts, ch 2, sk 2 sts, dc in next 4 sts, ch 2, sk 1 st, dc in last 5 sts. (14 dc)
Row 9: Ch 3, turn; dc in next 4 sts, dc in ch-2 sp, ch 2, sk next st, dc in next 3 sts, ch 2, sk ch-2 sp, dc in last 5 sts. (14 dc)
Row 10: Ch 3, turn; dc in next 4 sts, dc in ch-2 sp, ch 2, sk next st, dc in next st, ch 2, sk next st, dc in ch-2 sp, dc in last 6 sts. (14 dc)
Row 11: Ch 3, turn; dc in next 6 sts, 2 dc in ch-2 sp, dc in next st, 2 dc in ch-2 sp, dc in last 6 sts. (18 dc)
Row 12: Ch 3, turn; dc in next 17 sts. Finish off. (18 dc)


Day One pattern, candy cane

 Day 2: Classic Granny Square

TR – triple

CH – chain

Chain 5. Join with a slip stitch.
Round 1: Ch 3 – counts as first triple (TR); Make 2 TR into the ring; (Ch 3, 3 triples into ring) times 3; Ch 3 and join to first triple with slip stitch;
Round 2: turn; Ch 3 — into the 3-chain space, make 2 TR into the same space; chain 3; 3 TR into the same 3-chain space;
Ch 1, 3 TR into the next 3-chain space, Ch 3, 3 TR stitches in the same 3-chain space;
Ch 1, 3 TR stitches into the same chain space, ch 3, 3 TR.
Ch 1, 3 TR, ch 3, 3 TR, join to the first “ch 3”;

Round 3: turn; Ch 3 — into the 3-chain space, make 2 TR into the same space; ch 1; 3 TR into the next 3-ch space [a corner]; Ch 3, 3 TR; ch 1; 3 TR into the next 3-chain space [non-corner];
continue by crocheting 3 TR – ch 3 – 3 TR in the corners, 1 TR in the chain spaces that are not corners.
When you are at the first chain space of this round: 3 TR, ch 3, join to the first ch 3.

Continue with the rounds until you have added enough to your granny square to make it the same size as the Day 1 square.


Day two pattern, Granny Square

Day 3: Crochet Square – through the back loop

Chain 20;
Note: Crochet each triple (TR) through the back loop.
Round 1: Ch 3 – counts as first TR; TR into each of the chains. Turn.
Repeat Round 1 twelve times or until it is the same size as the squares from the previous days.
Optional: slip st through each st to finish off.

Day three, triples through the back loop.

Day 4 – solid granny square

Ch – chain
TR – triple
Sl st – slip stitch
Ch 4, then join with a sl st to form a ring.
Round 1: Ch 5 (counts as first TR and ch-2)
Work 3 TRs into the ring, ch 2 (1st TR-group)
Work 3 TRs into the ring, ch 2 (2nd TR-group)
Work 3 TRs into the ring, ch 2 (3rd TR-group),
Work 2 TRs into the ring, insert hook into 3rd chain of the initial ch-5 and sl st to close the round.
Turn it around and tug firmly at the yarn to tighten it up.
Round 2: You should have 4 lots of TR-groups. And four ch-2 corner spaces.
Insert your hook into the corner space directly to the left of where you just finished round 1. Yarn over and work a slip stitch.
Ch 5 (counts as 1 TR plus ch-2 space)
Work 2 TRs into the corner space.
Work 1 TR into the top of the first st after the corner space.
Then work 1 TR into each of next 2 sts. Your first side is done.
Into the next corner space, work the following, 2 TR, ch-2, 2 TR.
Work 1 TR into each of the next 3 sts, then (2 TR, ch-2, 2 TR) into the next corner space. That’s your second side and corner group made.
Work 1 TR into each of the next 3 sts, then (2 TR ch-2, 2 TR) into the next corner space.
Work 1 TR into each of the next 3 sts and that completes your fourth side.
Work 1 TR back into the very first corner space (it should sit right next to the ch-5 that you made in the beginning).
Make a slip stitch into the third stitch of the first chain-5.
Round 3:
Insert your hook into the corner space directly to the left of where you just finished round 2.
Yarn over and work a slip stitch.
Chain 5.
Work 2 TR into the corner space.
Work 1 TR into that first stitch, then 1 TR into each of the next 6 stitches.
Into the next corner space, work (2 TR, ch-2, 2 TR).
Work 1 TR into each of the next 7 stitches,then (2 TR, ch-2, 2 TR) into the next corner space.
Work 1 TR into each of the next 7 stitches, then (2 TR, ch-2, 2 TR) into the next corner space.
Work 1 TR into each of the next 7 stitches, then 1 TR back into the first corner space so that it sits right beside the chain-5 you made at the start.
Sl st into the 3rd chain of the beginning chain-5 to close the round.
Your Solid Granny Square is now done.


Day 5: Mitered Square

Chain 30 or 40 for a bigger square.
Round 1: Use the back loops only, DC in each st.
Round 2: Chain 2, DC each stitch using the back loops, and skip the two middle stitches.
Repeat round 2, and keep decreasing in the middle.
Once you get to the last three stitches, draw up a loop in each of the three stitches and pull it through all four loops to finish.

Day 6: c2c square

TR is UK terminology; for US, use DC.
Chain 6.
Row 1 (Right Side): TR in 4th ch from hook and in next 2 ch; turn – 1 block made.
Row 2: Ch 6, TR in 4th ch from hook and in next 2 ch, (slip st, ch 3, 3 TR) all in ch-3 space of previous row; turn – 2 blocks made.
Row 3: Ch 6, TR in 4th ch from hook and in next 2 ch, [(slip st, ch 3, 3 TR) all in next ch-3 space of previous
row] twice; turn – 3 blocks made.
Row 4: Ch 6, TR in 4th ch from hook and in next 2 ch, [(slip st, ch 3, 3 TR) all in next ch-3 space of previous row] 3 times; turn – 4 blocks made.

So far, the rows have been increasing the amount of blocks. It’s now time to reduce them in order to make a square shape.

Row 5: Slip st across first 3 TR, * (slip st, ch 3, 3 TR) all in next ch-3 space of previous row; repeat from * to last ch-3 space; slip st in last space; turn, do NOT make a block in last space.

Repeat Row 5 until you have a square.

Day Seven: Peephole Chevron Stitch

Chain 22 (multiple of 10 sts + 2)
Row 1: Skip 2 chains (count as 1tr), 1tr into each of next 4 chains, *skip 2 chains, 1 tr into each of next 4 chains, chain 2, 1tr into each of next 4 chains; rep from * to last 6 chains, skip 2 chains, 1 tr into each of next 3 chains, 2tr into last ch, turn.
Row 2: Chain 3 (count as 1 tr), 1tr into first st, 1tr into each of next 3sts, *skip 2sts, 1tr into each of next 3 sts, [1tr, 2ch, 1tr] into Chain-2 sp, 1tr into each of next 3 sts; rep from * to last 6 sts, Skip 2 sts, 1tr into each of next 3 sts, 2tr into top of tch, turn.
Rep row 2 for desired length.

Let’s have city sanctuaries instead of city farms

City farms were introduced in the 1980s so that children could see where their food came from, a friend was recently telling me as she munched on her bacon sandwich. As an Australian living in the UK, I like this view of the world as ‘other’ as something I can observe and not have it affect me as my direct experience.

“Since the early days in the 1960s and 70s there are now more than 120 city farms and school farms, nearly 1,000 community gardens and a growing number of community-managed allotments. They help to empower people of all ages and backgrounds to build better communities, often in deprived areas.”

And these farms seem to be doing their job quite well. Kids now probably realise to a great extent that to enjoy their tasty sandwiches they have to kill things, or be happy with killing things. Farms tell us that food needs to be killed. These animals are food. Farms make that point very clearly.

What if, instead of ‘animals=food’ we had animal sanctuaries in our cities? What if we protected living beings and taught children and adults that animals are there to be protected and cherished and helped, just like we should be doing with other humans too?

I completely agree with the Animal Welfare Party and their point 2.5, that City farms and sanctuaries, large animal companions, and working animals

Large animals are sometimes kept at city farms, as companion animals or working animals. City farms
should operate as animal sanctuaries, where animals are not sent to slaughterhouses.
• Allowing rescued animals to live out their lives should be the main focus of city farms, together
with education.

There is a lot more to these farms, however, which is why I think the idea of sanctuaries is not so improbable.

[More tomorrow.]

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