Pottering around and sustainable living in the Philippines

Pottering around with a dog - Harry potter with dog

This isn’t the Pottering around I was talking about but its still something I haven’t done before. Generally in the UK I see old people as pottering around looking for things to do to keep busy generally because they have retired and got nothing else to do with their times. Often its seen as interfering as they get involved in things that normally affect others but generally its just to keep the body and brain active.

But in the Philippines its something more than that as simply it keeps people away from drink, sane and can help create a bit of space for ones self that disconnects from everything else. Gardening is something I have been researching heavily for the last few years as our space is limited I have been looking at what we can produce with limited and vertical spaces. At the same time things that can be introduced to others. The problem you often find here though is a lack of interest of others in getting involved which is where pottering around comes in as you do it yourself rather than look to involve others if it happens it happens if you don’t want it happening it doesn’t have to its up to you.

Business is often difficult here and having a switch off mechanism such as today where I went off to get a shower and tiles before installing them allowed me to take myself out of the daily stuff for a few hours. I know I grumble a bit more than usual lately and most of that can be blamed on a damaged 35mm lens and bad weather both are keeping me off the photography trail. I am used to being outdoors most of the time and when cooped up get irritable. One of the biggest problems has been dealing with local population either on construction or business switching off to go do something else for the day is not just pottering around but a badly needed break.

You probably notice that I have lots of on-going business ventures running side by side at different stages and often get stalled for times this is caused by the local way of working and not something I am normally used to. Like the shipping containers jumping in price by 60% for no reason whatsoever but when visiting they tell me the “cheaper” ones were 1980s ex stock where these are newer. While telling me this I am thinking the ones I am being pointed out too as the original ones they wanted to sell I am thinking they are beyond useable due to the amount of damage that they have not its age. Everything takes time here and its probably why the Chinese have been so successful as they are used to just developing when markets become available beyond that they sit and wait for the opportunity. This is what I am doing currently, the shipping containers will come down in price at some point and I have other things to go on with my current task is wood machinery as its something that I enjoy doing but I have a lot of ideas of things for export although will be unique items that justify the expensive export costs. On top of that have lots of things I want to make I can’t buy. If I can’t find them and want them no doubt other people are in the same boat so over time this could move from my own needs and a hobby to a small venture. Difference is this time on the learning curve is that nobody is allowed to use the machine tools except myself. The mentality with most people comes down to a major problem firstly most people haven’t used good equipment and secondly they don’t care about damaging it. This has resulted in several of my power tools being beyond repair. On top of that I find that most of the tools are unavailable here and the stuff that is often appears fake and second hand.

Now the most important thing about pottering around though is realising its productive not negative. Everything that has happened in a negative way since my arrival is simply a learning curve. I may feel like letting my blood boil sometimes but to be honest its a waste of time and effort it won’t make any difference. If you have a bad mechanic for example that breaks things on purpose get rid of them at the first sign as its very common here for mechanics to do more damage than repairs, some people believe its malicious but personally I think its down to them not knowing what they are doing judging by construction work of others. I have a scooter that needs entirely stripped and rebuilt thanks to a mechanic in 2009 I bought a new one this year and just shoved the old one to one side as I didn’t want anyone tinkering with it unless they know how to rebuild it. The jeepy developed some faults recently and the mechanic has repaired it a couple of times no problem. Although a funny thing came up when it came to not firing due to a faulty starter motor where my father in-law said a mechanic nearby (another) could fix it as he done the electric rewiring originally. Why funny? because the windscreen wipers don’t work, the dashboard electrics are intermittent which tells me don’t let this guy near the electric looms! Nothing major mind as I can do it myself its often just about time and gets back to something to do when pottering around!

On the productive side of pottering around though you have to look at the fact you can produce some food in your garden yourself which is rewarding not only for filling the belly and the fact you grew it yourself but its something to wake up and go and have a look at every day to see how they are developing. Some people get it others don’t but if you don’t unless you have something better to do I would say give it a go as you may enjoy it after things start to develop. I remember when I originally started gardening in the UK in the 90s I was growing things in a propagator in the kitchen originally to try and sell plants at the car boots in the UK as work was difficult to find in the early years after school. Although not a great money spinner it did keep me optimistic about getting work and at least doing something funny how things come about where you go back to things you forgot you enjoyed. I think when you look at old people in the UK looking for things to do just pottering around with lots of spare time you start to realise all ages potter around its just that most of us are too busy most of our lives until we are either out of work or retired to undertake such hobbies.

There has been a guy that has the words involving barrel and aquaponics (Removing the Aqua) complaining about the use of the word because he “Trade marked” it in the U.S. internationally it doesn’t count and he seems excessively pushy on getting his name recognised everywhere for the guide he put together asking for links to his site and that the author should be written all over the web post about it. BUT normally I would do it without a second thought except its a NGO project and everyone knows how I feel about those, I can’t tell what its funding patterns are or how its spent so I cannot support it in anyway so that information will not be added. The odd thing is the document that I give for “FREE” download using my bandwidth has not been altered as I know it offers valuable information on setting up your first system and that was the deal in the original content is that the document itself couldn’t be altered and it hasn’t. Asking for XYZ and threatening me with legal action for using his version of the word yet it was actually advertising his e-book was madness and obviously got my back up instantly..

Anyway the point being I am putting together the Aquaponics in a barrel system over the next 2 weeks. I say 2 weeks for the simple reason is I have the pump
, I know where I can get the barrels from but currently I am trying to source all the pipe fittings and cost. What I will do though is give you a list of a rundown on the complete kit cost and if anyone is interested I can supply a kit form to save you roaming around Cebu for all the parts, some may see this is profiteering but I have already spent 2 days finding the different bits myself I am doing it to save people the hassle they will simply be able to pick up the job lot of all the materials from my place ready to go, if you want it prebuilt can do this as I can find someone locally to do it although to be honest I think part of the fun is building it from scratch yourself gives a good understanding of the system and the main reason I am doing this one is the next one will involve a large fibreglass tank that I will build myself.

Anyway its 1.30am (problem with getting to bed early I get up at midnight and cant sleep until 5am) so will say happy pottering and let me know what you do to keep yourselves busy (keep it clean!)