THE VALUE OF WOOL.

An article that is necessary because of the enormous failure of our politicians to act in energy rich Scotland. We lie powerless to defend our people. It should be a National disgrace.

Photo by Maksim Romashkin on Pexels.com

A guest post from Ellie MacGregor who lives in Angus and is a spinner and fibre crafter. She shares advice and ideas on her twitter feed on how to save money. @Thrifty_Corner.

A little about me before I begin. I was born and lived in Leicestershire till 2010 when I came up to Scotland to begin a new life. I’d grown up spending many weekends with my grandparents, who had lived through WWII and learned to be thrifty to survive. They had continued to make do and mend through much of their lives as it seemed sense to them, extra money could be saved to pay for holidays to the Highlands where their ancestors had once lived. So I was actively encouraged to learn new skills to make things for myself and to be creative. At secondary school we learned cooking, household budgeting and life skills that would help me in the future. As I got older those ideas stuck, and though I’m able to do many things, I’m not a professional. Poor health means I’m currently unable to work, and with the cost of living crisis, those skills are even more important so I can hopefully continue to exist.


I’m always reminded of the well known saying “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime”. The same can be said for those important homemaking life skills and handicrafts. It’s not just the cost of living crisis that calls for these skills and ideas, but climate change and the very uncertain future facing us all on this planet. While governments play their political point scoring games and brag about who is leading the world, we need more practical ideas that people can do now. Financial aid would be the easiest solution, but as we’ve seen, it’s minimal and we are made to feel the need to tug on forelocks and be grateful for basically nothing, whilst being told untruths about the reasons for the problem. It can also create more economic instability if the government continue to heavily tax the less well off and ignore the pleas for windfall taxes on the oil and gas producers and taxing the rich.


I’ve been trying to find ways that I can survive the situation we’re in. As I only receive the basic rate of Universal Credit and am currently unable to work, any solution needs to be either free or at minimal cost. I can cook and I craft with fibre, so utilising my own skills seems a good place to start.


To reduce the amount of energy I use to cook, I made myself a hay box/thermal style cooker. It’s just a sturdy cardboard box, lined with layers of the insulating bubble wrap and waste wool. I have a stainless steel stock pot that fits neatly in the middle. I’ll start cooking a stew on the hob, and at the point where I’m supposed to let it simmer for X amount of time, I make sure it’s at a fast boil with the lid on. I turn off the heat and put the stock pot in the insulated box. Cover the top of the pot, close the box and put an old blanket over it. It’s then left somewhere it won’t be disturbed to cook for the rest of the day. I usually start it during the morning, and by the time I’m ready for my evening meal, it only requires a quick zap in the microwave to reheat and eat. The remainder can be portioned and put in the freezer to eat another time. One obviously must be cautious cooking certain meats and reheating.


There are plenty of resources online for recipes, and I’ve found I can use up to 70% less energy just on cooking. With the prices of both gas and electric increasing massively, that’s a big win for me.


I’m also looking at making myself a ‘Wonder Bag’. https://www.wonderbagworld.com/
Rather than use polystyrene beads I can use wool. An old duvet cover or sheet and even an old curtain would be great to make the actual bag. https://www.instructables.com/How-to-Make-a- Wonder-Box-CookerCooler/ . The less cost to me, the more I can save. Repurposing stuff is always cheaper and better for the environment.
This could be a great asset to those on low incomes. They just need to adapt the way they think about cooking. Making it themselves would give them a sense of pride in what they’ve achieved and give them some encouragement to use it.
But where would they get the wool to make the bag/box?

As a spinner and knitter, I can make 2 sweaters from a single sheep’s fleece. The cost to me is just the fleece and postage. But because farmers only focus on fast and easy profits, the wool is becoming worthless because of the animals being bred purely for meat. Yes, 2 100% pure wool, bespoke, hand spun and hand knitted sweaters for around £30. If one looks online, you can expect to pay three figure amounts for just one quality wool sweater. They can’t just be put in the washing machine with the rest of one’s clothes, but they don’t need to be laundered constantly, as that damages the fibres. If they need washing, then hand wash. Cheaper on energy and no micro plastics, or do as the Scandinavians do, and just hang them to air naturally for a couple of days. Whilst in Turkey, I learned to make a thick blanket using wool fleeces and a couple of old sheets. So there is lot wool can be used for, it’s just not easily available to those on a low income who don’t have their own transport, or for those who lack the knowledge and skills to use it. My speciality is wool and fibre crafts, but there are many other crafts that would be useful to learn. Many of the tools required can be made for little or no cost.While I’d prefer not to be spending £30 on quality spinning wool to make a thermal cooker, there are alternatives.


Most sheep farmers send their wool to the British Wool Board at shearing time. But because wool prices paid are at an all time low, by the time the farmer has paid for shearing the sheep (a necessary process for the welfare and health of the sheep), paid for transport to the wool depot, he is already out of pocket because the wool prices are so poor. Yet, wool products are in demand and sell for very high prices. This discourages farmers from producing better quality wool and focusing on meat only.


I’ve seen many farmers giving away fleeces, or leaving them to rot in a ditch. Some even pour petrol on them and burn them, because they make no money from the wool. It’s not always the best quality, but could easily be utilised.
https://www.britishwool.org.uk/ksupload/userfiles/Farmer/Producer_Booklet/36pp-UK-Combined-A5- BritishWool-Brochure-AUG2021%20-%20interactive.pdf
Wool has many positive properties; it’s an excellent insulator, so why has no-one taken the initiative to use it to insulate buildings? Wool is fire resistant; it’s breathable, biodegradable, renewable, stain and odour resistant as well as being anti-static. Depending on the breed of sheep and fineness of the wool, it’s soft, elastic and adapts to body temperatures to be warm in colder weather yet cool when it’s warm.
https://www.learnaboutwool.com/globalassets/law/resources/factsheets/secondary/gd3270- secondary-fact-sheet_2019_j.pdf


Years ago, the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute developed a breed of sheep in Scotland called the Bowmont. A new breed that could survive the climate, produced soft and fine quality fleece and also good meat animals.
https://macaulay.webarchive.hutton.ac.uk/europeanfibre/effnnew1ar.htm
Sadly in the 90’s, it all ended as apparently EU funding stopped. The flocks were scattered far and wide, and no-one appears to have looked into this since. A shame as we would be less reliant on wool imports (much of the wool used in clothing manufacturing in the UK is imported merino wool from Australia and New Zealand), whilst the majority of our meat animal wool is used in carpets or exported for similar uses. The best we have is the Shetland Islands and the Shetland wool brokers. They pay a fair price to the crofters for the wool.


We have an amazing resource, wool. Many farmers are dumping it because of the poor prices paid, which leaves them out of pocket. Why not utilise this, engage communities to help themselves in reducing how much energy they use, and help those on the lowest incomes to survive this cost of living crisis.


Children in school are no longer taught the basic life skills. Many of them don’t know where their food comes from. Ask them where milk comes from and they’d likely say the supermarket. Many adults don’t even bother to sew on a button and will throw away a garment. How many cook a meal from scratch? How many would even cook and prefer to buy a takeaway? I often see folk asking on social media how to cook broccoli … or how long should they boil and egg? Yes we have the internet, and they could easily look it up. But they don’t or can’t be bothered. Or perhaps they don’t know how, even though many folk have phones with the capability of searching the internet.


Schools need to teach the children basic life skills again. Have crafters and volunteers teach these basic but essential life skills. Re-educate the population to be more conscious of where their food comes from, how to repair clothes rather than toss them into the bin because a button fell off, or a seam came loose. Let them learn different crafts and spark that creativity inside them to learn more about sustainable and environmentally friendly products. As well as learning to make their own. There are wealth of ideas and resources online as well as people in every community that have the knowledge. It just needs an initiative to have those people to share with the wider community.


I know there are community gardens across Scotland, but these could be encouraged more. Link sheep farmers with community projects to utilise their throw away wool. So that people can learn to make a thermal cooker, learn to spin wool into yarn, then knit, weave or crochet items that would help keep them warm next winter.
Not only is this a small way to help ease the cost of living crisis, but it’s utilising a 100% natural and environmentally friendly product and that can help us all as climate change leaves us with a very uncertain future.
I have plenty more ideas for being thrifty, but I can’t put everything into words.
Mahatma Gandhi once said “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
Ellie MacGregor
More DIY wonder bag links
http://homesteadingdreams.com/wonder-bag-cooker-how-to-sew/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebOnFRjzVdw https://wonderbag.ie/PDF’s/the_wonderbag_recipe_book.pdf

MY COMMENTS

I want to thank Ellie for this article. It is a bit different to what I would normally publish but given the cost of living crisis and the enormous hike in energy costs any ideas on how to live without facing these enormous bills is very welcome. Her twitter feed @Thifty_Corner also features many other practical suggestions. That these ideas may help people survive is a measure of the dire crisis that many in our communities face today. Quite astonishing that in such a energy rich country as Scotland our electoral choices have resulted in us facing such an energy crisis. we seem to be immune to wake up calls! More pain ahead until we pay much closer attention!

51 thoughts on “THE VALUE OF WOOL.

  1. I certainly do not wish to offend the writer or Iain with this comment but I may do.

    Like most “craft” stories of making low cost items it misleads. The required equipment, learning the skill, the manhours expended, costs etc are all ignored in the economics.
    Like DIY – unless you have a workshop with tens of thousands of pounds worth of tools it is probably cheaper to get a tradesman in.
    How many people could mitre a Kitchen worktop with an invisible joint. Who has a computer diagnostic kit for car maintenance. Even if you have the skill to install an extra socket you have just broken the law and voided your house insurance. As someone with the tools and the skills I have been defeated by several domestic pieces of equipment because they are not designed for maintenance. I have a full kit for doing watch battery changes and I reckon it is still much cheaper to go into a shop and I don’t fill another cupboard of the house.

    Safety factors – Even cleaning your own gutters of a bungalow could land you in hospital.

    Do things you love to do because you enjoy it. Do things you are still fit to do. However it certainly isn’t the solution to a cost of living crisis.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What a miserable response, not to mention incorrect and misleading. The author is plainly not, had you read it, recommending specialist tools or kit (incidentally I change my own watch batteries with no specialist tools, unless a small screwdriver is ‘specialist’, and it is very cheap).
      This is an imaginative guide to thinking and acting differently in a highly ordered and commercialised world. Wool is a great example of a natural resource we waste and it shouldn’t be hard to understand the metaphor for the many other resources we as a country waste or ignore, or indeed sell off cheaply.
      And nowhere does it suggest that acting in such a way would magically solve all of the problems we face. Instead it demonstrates how small things can kickstart all sorts of useful thinking and acting. Bottom up instead of top down.
      The world needs more creative thinking and this is a great example, very refreshing, and I am glad to read it here. Thankyou, Ellie.

      Liked by 16 people

      1. Thank you for your comment. We have so many resources that are ignored because we live in a throw away society. The situation with wool is just one of many.

        Liked by 11 people

      2. Pathetic,cynical response to a thoughtful,based on experience article.
        You do NOT need much to start knitting,crocheting…you can pull out wooly jumpers and Ellie gives basic instructions on how to do things for next to nothing.
        Great work,Ellie…keep it up xx 🌈💜🐑🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

        Liked by 10 people

      3. In defence of clootie, at the head of their comment , they insisted that they had no wish to offend the writer or Iain , what they are doing is issuing a caution that things aren’t always as easy as the reading of an item may lead you to believe . Clootie’s comments are always worth consideration and I don’t believe they were going out of their way to be rude or hurtful
        So I believe misinterpretation of a genuine belief to be honest and enlightening has been taken as criticism

        Liked by 4 people

    2. I think this response is harsh Clootie, many, including Ellie herself does not have the money to “go into a shop”. She is unwell, has no job, so probably has a lot of time on her hands. Coming up with ways to fill that time in a constructive practical way is to be commended. Particularly if allows her sparse resources to be used for other purpose.

      Liked by 11 people

  2. quite different from the more regular pieces this is an interesting commentary.

    Quite perverse really that good natural material is being thrown away, due it would seem to a combination of low fleece prices and high transportation costs. With this sitting alongside expensive pure wool clothing it certainly suggests there may be opportunity.

    Wool does make for some iconic products. Everyone has heard of Harris Tweed and maybe to a lesser extent Fair Isle or Shetland jerseys., I’m not quite sure of the economics of the Harris Tweed operation from shearing to cloth to fashion house but it does seem to provide spinning jobs in the Western Isles.

    And so, structured appropriately maybe there could be an opportunity across other parts of Scotland to create a network of wool spinners where value is created locally in a structured cottage industry. Pure Scottish wool is, natural too, is this not one of the things Scottish enterprise could look at.

    In fact, before the country got swamped with cheap imports there was for a long time a successful Scottish woollen. industry. Back to the future perchance and especially now that our world is getting locked in to a new Cold War where product and trade from China and Russia and the east is now being outlawed.

    Indeed, as a side comment, look at the price of sunflower oil now that Russian or Ukrainian supply is cut. Ditto oil and gas. Should we now be growing sunflowers and oil and gas. Well maybe yes, sunflowers at least, oil and gas are not ours to grow.

    Anyway, interesting article. A bit different from the usual. Certainly made me think about wool, a product, like cotton, all so different from our more usual oil refinery based artificial fibre clothing.

    And there’s Pete Wishart praying for the opportunity to sit on the woolsack. But I digress, that’s another story altogether.

    Liked by 16 people

    1. Thank you for your comment. Farmers are sadly losing out with wool. It’s such a shame as it’s such an amazing resource that could potentially open up many opportunities. Like many resources it’s ignored or under utilised.

      Liked by 8 people

    2. We do grow rapeseed oil in Scotland and I have used some, bought at a Framers’ Market and found it fine for cooking.

      I alreadi have an earthenware crock which is part of a slow cooker I have had for some time so I am planning to to try Ellie’s technique of a hay/wool insulated box to finish a stew or soup without using the electicity need for the slow cooker.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. I’d include communication and organisation in that list of life skills – you can’t make use of surplus wool if you don’t know it’s available. The internet doesn’t solve problems all by itself.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. I like this article very much, and just to play devil’s advocate, the point made that it is not always that simple, is also valid.

    For example the sheeps fleece needs washing, then drying and then dyed and dried again, all before spinning and then knitting/weaving. The washing and drying alone require equipment, space (the water gets everywhere when your trying to squeeze it out), hot water, soap, more hot water for rinsing, and then the wool needs air dried, just pray for good weather.

    I do think teaching folk (not just our young) life skills is desirable and increasingly essential, and I do think there is a valid market for wool in this country.

    More importantly, thinking along these lines and getting others to do likewise, opens up opportunities and creative solutions… and we really need that now.

    I love the home made heat box for slow cooking, for those cooking single meals consider using a thermos flask if you have one…. works a treat for making porridge.

    Thanks to the author, and thanks Iain.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Thank you for your comment. On a small scale, to wash and dry a fleece only requires a bucket, hot water and washing up liquid, and to spin it, just a stick. if one wanted to dye it, then food colouring and vinegar works as well as plants or commercial dyes. It really can be that simple.

      As for the wonder bag, I’ve made one and use it regularly. I’ve made rice pudding, soups and stews and even bread in it. I made mine using an old curtain, a sheep’s fleece for stuffing and of course my time.

      Creative solutions are what we need right now, they are sadly lacking from our leaders.

      Liked by 10 people

  5. Loved that! it actually cheered me up as I had ventured on to another site and had been irritated beyond measure by the ‘woke’ brigade.

    Ellie your kind of ‘woke ‘ I really like and it took me back to my time with my Gran who was an advocate of ‘waste not want not’

    Liked by 11 people

  6. That was a really interesting article. Wool really is a wonderful product and using it to be able to save money makes it doubly interesting. I lived in New Zealand for over 20 years and used old wool in my garden. I don’t understand why farmers would or could burn it; it is fire retardent (which is why it can be used as insulation in timber framed houses) The wool is biodegradeable and is an excellent fertiliser. I pulled the wool fibres apart and surrounded my plants and bushes and then covered the wool with earth. You can’t use this for indoor plants as it would smell too much.
    I have seen it used very often in the New Zealand timber framed houses ( I used it myself) It can be used over ceiling joists, between floor joists and in the walls; it is a great thermal and acoustic building insulation. The fibres draw out the moisture and helps condition the wood.
    I don’t understand Clooties difficulties with changing a watch battery. Using basic tools I have always done it myself.
    In fact I do all repairs myself. It brings satisfaction and saves money.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. I am all for being thrifty having only 1 light on now . I ware a woollie jersey and sit in front of my wood burning stove to keep warm usually with a whiskey. I refuse to be carpet bagged by a greedy elite or big business corporations who are trying to recreate Prince John’s Medieval society for me. Yeh while they live in unimaginable luxury rolling in excess cash that they couldn’t spend in a life time, but they want more. Their mantra is you shall have nothing and be happy. If that good for me why isint it good for them the elite. Because they want total control on you and your life to guarantee your subserveance ,democracy is a nuisance to them it prevents their narcissistic greedy desires ,or use to. They have not learnt anything from the time of the Tsars . We all need to mobilise start having days of action against these greedy corporations by having organised switch off days and refusing to pay inflated energy cost.
    Government should be their for the people not the faceless 1% that pulls the stings. Stop buying news papers that feed us propaganda and lies switch off the TV and stop paying them for their collaboration in this dystopian Eton fantasy which is Brexitland. Desolve the Union.

    Liked by 10 people

  8. Interesting article , which suggested comments about * sheep * and ” pulling the wool over our eyes ” . Seriously though , the neglect of crafts in education at the same time as undue focus is given to * Sex Education * kind of sums-up the warped priorities of our Government/s . Utilitarian skills downgraded , useless , minority interests promoted . This could be a metaphor for the current Scot/Gov

    Liked by 13 people

  9. Before the jaggernaut of the anglosaxon god of globalization crashed onto the scene most society was functionally, if not always efficiently, autarkic.
    The notion of being «scientifically» self sufficient in basics, assuming the basics are locally, cooperatively planned and managed in accord with the principle, is a kick in the teeth of corporatism and big country/power bloc hegemony.
    The centrally planned economy of Soviet Russia resulted in famine and it was the despised and persecuted peasant farmers who came, ironically, to the rescue of the system. The Globalized free market capitalism is little different. A supply crisis is looming.
    The concept of «small is beautiful», basically if you have the skill to make it’and grow it then do so, was once a widely held view among nationalists, the discovery of «the black gold» smothered it.
    Time it was given a reviving shot. Too daring, too extreme?

    Liked by 9 people

      1. The «apathy» is engendered by the seemingly overpowering, massive global forces at work. Turning them off by focusing on what matters to the local organic society/community or nation is the first step, a deeply psychological one which some might fear to take.
        Politics at the moment does not deal in such empowering psychology it appears to have a preference for the enthralling opposite and many political «leaders», by virtue of their notional rôle, are temperamentally unsuited.

        Liked by 8 people

  10. I have some old carpet beaters, a washboard and wringer plus a few shoe lasts and some kegs in the loft.

    OK OK I get the point but give me a modern hi tech fleece I can throw in the washing machine and dry without ironing will still be my choice. I like flushing toilets, double glazing and central heating.

    Above all I enjoy the free time I have for leisure pursuits that our ancestors didn’t have because they were too busy doing all those things being discussed that kept them alive.

    One request. Do not bring back woollen swimming trunks OR had you forgotten?

    Liked by 5 people

  11. More than one energy provider has included in their list of handy energy saving tips, “ why not leave the oven door open after you’ve finished cooking”.
    Rather punctures my thesis that only the public sector employs idiots.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I have to wonder how many folk will leave the microwave oven door open after reheating a meal, then complain that it does nothing to conserve energy.

      Liked by 5 people

  12. Thanks for that, Ellie. As you, no doubt, know: wool, until it was displaced by slaved-cotton, was one of life’s universal necessities in this country and elsewhere. The reemergence of aggressive, imperial expansionism, may yet see wool reemerge as the staple that it once was; if for all the wrong reasons.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you. Yes, cotton was the downfall of wool. Yet cotton is not sustainable.

      We are encouraged to drink 2 litres of water each day .. based on that, one pair of jeans uses the same amount of water to produce as one person would drink in 10 years! With our throw away society and the constant change in fashion, over 300,000 tonnes of clothing is dumped in landfill sites in the UK alone (most of it man made fibres).

      We need change, we need leaders to support that change. So much potential for a greener and better society.

      Liked by 6 people

  13. Thank you, Ellie, for this article. I am of an older generation that was taught Domestic Science at school. The old Glasgow Cookery Book was used and how to buy (yes, really) fresh produce was taught. Pupils were taught to cook basic meals from scratch. Basic sewing and knitting skills were also taught. Now it seems that ‘Hospitality’ and ‘food technology’ have replaced hands on experience in a domestic kitchen. I know teachers are doing their best within the constraints of the curriculum and available resources but basic cooking seems to me to be vital in terms of managing money and making use of what is cheaply available as well as getting people off take-aways and ready meals which are costly and sometimes unhealthy.
    Can I recommend a cookery book – Jack Monroe’s ‘Tin Can Cook’. She was a single parent relying on food banks at one point in her life and she developed interesting and healthy meals based on what you would get in a food bank food parcel. ( She is also the one who was influential in getting the people who make up the food inflation figures to look at what poor people actually buy and to change what is included in the figures to include ‘basic’ and ‘essential’ supermarket items. These items have gone up more, or even disappeared from supermarket shelves altogether, than other ‘ordinary’ items on shelves.)
    As regards wool, I was looking in a wool shop a couple of days ago for yarn. I was amazed at the cost of balls of real wool. They are astronomical. I wondered at this as I remember seeing a news item a few weeks ago which said that fleeces were costing farmers money because the price they got for them was so low. So who is making the profit on these balls of pure wool that I looked at and decided I couldn’t afford?
    Ellie, there is so much food for thought in your article that I think I need to go and read it all again. Thank you.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you so much. Jack Monroe has done an amazing job getting changes in the supermarkets. Combine her book with a homemade thermal cooking bag and eating decent meals that cost next to nothing to cook are easy. I made a curry this morning, and it’s currently cooking in my DIY wonder bag. I’ll only need to make some roti later and I’ll have a delicious meal.

      As for knitting yarns, that is one reason I learned to spin. Over the years I’ve learned so much and it’s so much cheaper.

      If anyone wants to learn to spin their own yarn, then I’m more than happy to teach them the essentials.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Thanks For your article Ellie, we are proud long-time owners of a wonder bag. We bought one back in 2014 after embarking upon a permaculture design course PDC. That course change the course of our lives and motivated us to upsticks and set up a smallholding and now a market garden, perennial food forest, and tree nursery and my wife is now qualified to run her own courses.

    There are so many circular solutions out there which are scalable and could be applied right here in Scotland and yet our policy makers are so limited in their thinking. Food sovereignty (which in itself is a massive pillar of national sovereignty), is going to be a massive issue in the very near future and our politicians are twiddling their thumbs. We definitely have to act local but we need to be far more vocal to politicians enjoying the good life.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I’ve made my own version of a wonder bag and used wool to fill it as it’s affordable and gives exactly the same results. With so many people worried about their energy bills, it’s the perfect solution to allow them to cook meals using minimal energy. I estimated that my old hay box style set up saved me around 70% on energy costs alone.

      There are so many things that could be done to help folk in more practical ways than money off their council tax bills etc. It doesn’t resolve the situation at all or make us feel any better about the situation.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes theres lots of help online about making these and funnily enough I was talking to some folk in the local community here about making a distributing them for the winter. It is something which could be done in conjunction with the schools as it involves a useful skill.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. With shearing time getting closer, it could be the perfect time to make them. I’m sure there are farmers who will be desperate to get rid of the fleeces rather than send to the Wool Board. I really hope it works out for you and for the community.

        Liked by 2 people

  15. I was so so relieved to read this article. Those of us remaining who lived through the 2nd world war will be smiling. I have a photo of my sister and myself taken in the late forties, every stitch we wore was hand made and my dad repaired our shoes using very stinky bone glue. You are so right Ellie about the curriculum in schools which in reality trains the population onto flocklike thinking to keep us all believing that the capitalist way is the only way. I have a friend who has collected Granny’s kitchen equipment and teaches how laundry, cooking and cleaning was done before. This is the quiet sort of self sufficient revolution that could really beat capitalism, a real people’s revolution. Thanks for the article. I am currently in dispute with my electricity supplier who is hiking my direct debit by 50% and has written to tell me so. My response was to throw out my kettle, boil the water on the gas hob, turn down the gas heating and dig out the thick socks and shawl for the evening and I am lucky to have a smart meter which shows my bill coming in well under my original direct debit amount. Poverty is no fun for anyone and because I always had a garden and thrifty resilient parents as well as a big chunk of luck and blessings I have never known it. But this article really does show the way to bypass the horrific political economic lies and deceit that have been perpetrated upon the people and hammered home by advertising over the last 50 years and in the far north st least these real solutions are not far from the surface. Thank you so much Iain for your farsightedness in publishing this piece of first class wisdom. Granny’s kitchen becomes a political force. Yay!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  16. On a rather important side note it may be that we shall all need to learn how to subsist close to nature.

    Recognising that Britain has already got military forces fighting in the Ukraine against Russia, that British personnel are now being killed and captured, that we are pumping in ever more billions in weaponry and support to fight the Russians, todays news that 8,000 British troops are being mobilised and sent to the Scandinavian and Finnish borders with Russia, it certainly looks like the big conflagration is about to lift off.

    And what a battle this will be if it does. Russia is now surrounded, effectively fighting the west through huge commitments from the US and British. The stall is set.

    Maybe this will be the war to end wars. Maybe the hegemony of the US will prevail. But if it goes to an all out shooting war it isn’t going to be pretty. Europe has been flattened, absolutely flattened before, and it looks set to potentially happen again, but maybe on a wider scale.

    The widely reported craic about one Satan missile, fifteen warheads, minus one Great Britain in a world tooled up with 15,000 nuclear war heads of all shapes and sizes, certainly gives a grim chuckle. The ultimate Pyrrhic victory in fact.

    Maybe granny’s utility kitchen cooking might be an an absolute necessity in the not too distant future.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I doubt that Russia would bring down NATO on herself. The West, in particular the UK, has left no room to escalate on sanctions: we have thrown the book at Russia. The probable realty is Russia will train and organise arms length pro Russian terror groups to take the fight to the West. Those attacks will not justify NATO engagement and there is nowhere left to go on the sanctions front. Something should have been held in reserve to force the monster Putins hand – he knows we don’t want nuclear war anymore than he does (though BJ may prefer that to losing his job). In all probability it will be the ordinary people that get the brunt of this and so the UKG will not care at all. Secure behind their many layers of protection Number 10 will be stuffing itself on caviar and Russian champagne in a show of solidarity with the nation. Only the dog and the cat are decent in that place.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. The whole ‘just in time’ malarkey is going to fall on its arse – and it won’t take a War for it to happen.
      Sadly we have careerist points scorers for politicians at a time when we need political warriors.

      Liked by 4 people

  17. Belonging to that generation that has an allergy for every day of the week, I cannot wear wool. Cotton OK but the sheep stuff does me no good. In the modern world there is always someone with a however and a but.
    Agree with the rational principle and alternative thinking behind the concept though.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The whole problem in today’s society is that we are set up to consume ever more.That is the economic model. Produce more, scrap quicker, and produce more.

      All well and good until you realise that the model consumes ever diminishing resources whilst polluting the planet in every which way. Plastic is a particular example of that. A product of the sister companies to Big Oil, and a product that does not biodegrade nor recycle all that easily, and our products come absolutely wrapped in the stuff.

      I am not a chemist but there must be sound renewable alternatives that could and should have been judiciously deployed by now. But it’s a bit like the economics of war where there is money in the production of weapons of destruction. Plastic by comparison might not be so bad.

      And so again, a thoughtful piece, and many thoughtful comments. We do need to find different ways, more natural ways to support our continued existence on this planet. Or, maybe a cynical comment would be to ask if a Third World War would help reduce the world population and resource consumption.

      Maybe we shall find out?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Plastic is a source of «rogue» oestrogens which are linked to breast and testicular cancers and lower fertility in men.
        Supermarkets are full of it, despite world wide evidence for its associated environmental and health problems. The plastic water bottle, water flavoured with plastic microparticles, is a genetic time bomb as every living thing is now contaminated with the stuff.

        Liked by 5 people

  18. Ellie,

    My granny used to knit socks for me for fitba. As she grew older, and nto her nineties, the socks got smaller and smaller, and too small for me. And so my girlfriend , now wife of “cough” a number of years now, would unpick the socks and ball up the wool to return to granny for another pair of socks.

    If it is of benefit to you, I’d be pleased to purchase a sweater from you. your design, your price. Iain can advise you my e-mail address.

    We are being suckered/conned into accepting unnecessary technology. Mobile phone issue no XX, E-cars of such complexity, that the best option is to lease – at a cost.Prediction as e-cars increasingly populate the roads, the loss of road tax revenue will be adjusted by some other levy on e-car use. Remember the income incentive to install solar panels on your roof? What is the income now i wonder?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love the idea of re-using the yarn. I have a few pairs of socks knitted up from several others that had just been darned too often to be worn.

      Sorry, but I don’t sell any of my knitwear. My health problems mean that I can only just keep up with my own needs. But I’m always happy to teach the basics of how to spin wool, so they can make their own.

      I’ve found one way to beat all those adverts trying to entice me to buy the latest phone etc, because I apparently need it … LOL I don’t have a TV! So already £159 better off.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Such an inspiring article. Well said, Ellie and thank you for your many innovative ideas. You are a treasure trove on how to cope. We all need Togo back to basics, now more than ever before. Thank you and bon courage.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. On a topic related to self sufficiency, China the default workshop of the world is probably headed for civil strife sparked by the draconian authoritarian, socio-political control «health» initiatives of the Xi government.
    Cosmopolitan Shanghai could be the game changer. If only Scotland could find the chutzpah to change its game.
    The flock has been penned too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I think we are missing the point here. Why the hell do we have and tolerate fuel poverty, poverty, child poverty, hunger, unemployment, in-work poverty, homelessness, highest fuel costs of the UK and homelessness in 21st century oil rich Scotland, whilst the colonial administration keeps us that way and repeatedly fails to protect us and free us from the causes of all our ills yet profits from the peoples misery. Politicians are criminals that kill on a mass scale because of their decisions and policies which are always self serving and profitable to them and to hell with the masses. Remember 130,000+ deaths from austerity and god knows how many from covid (175K UK, 12K Scotland). They are taxing and raping us back to the stone age. When will enough be enough?

    Liked by 2 people

  22. @ Alan McHarg: former PM David Cameron made it quite clear in an interview, not verbatum but he said, essentially – “Income from Scotland’s oil and gas would be of great benefit to Scotland alone, but spread within the larger economy of the UK, not a huge contribution”. Same goes for generated power, and whisky, and food, and income tax.

    Now that the “UK establishment” has successfully achieved Brexit and so protected their offshore interests from the EU, the masses may well receive some easing of financial constraints. The next uK general election isn’t so far in the future, some appeasement/fooling will be done I expect. The objective will be to keep the middle classes “just ticking over”, with just enough disposable income to keep them docile.

    Ever questioned why the “UK” has protectorates, with banking facilities, sprinkled around the world?

    Liked by 3 people

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