Friday, 1 January 2010

Conserving Energy

I know my readers need no introduction to the importance of conserving energy. You may even have heard of “10:10”, a lobby group that wants us all to cut 10% of our energy consumption in 2010. (Here's the link: 10:10.)

The Mandall household has been hard at work on this. The boys for instance have taken to putting our new digibox on “pause” for hours, just at the moment before the car explodes: think of the energy that saves!

Mrs M has been getting ahead with the washing. I bought some rubber balls to go in the dryer. The more we use them, the more energy we save! I also think the towels are fluffier, but Mrs M is silent on the matter.

From the above, you see an example of the division of labour in our household. I buy the gadgets, Mrs M does the work, and the boys are, well, busy growing.

Mrs M generously says that the division of labour is not unfair. For instance, I’m in charge of the garden. I’ve been hard at work saving energy since November, when I started listening to snippets of Gardeners’ Question Time, hoping to hear Bob Flowerdew tell me that it’s time to hang up my spade and take a well earned rest from my labours.

November is long gone, but with luck, frost and water-logging will save me the energy of lifting spade or Flymo for weeks yet. And it will certainly be a while yet before the earth passes the trouser test. This is my mother’s energy saving tip. Lower your posterior onto your seedbed. If you can count to 20, remove your over-garment and try again. Only if you can do this in comfort, it’s time for sowing.

When our plastic greenhouse blew over again, I decided to research whether the blast off the Goyt would drive a DIY turbine on the roof, and help the Mandalls through the recession. However, I’ve not seen these advertised since someone pointed out that they can consume more electricity than they generate, and can also shake the chimney to bits as well as the neighbours’ nerves.

So it’s back to saving energy. My top tip is to visit the ironmongers in Marple, rather than trail into the DIY superstores in Stockport. Straightaway I’ve saved 10 miles of driving! Of course I could just shop online to see who’s offering a bogof on insulation, but Hollins offers more fun for less energy.

I spent a happy hour there researching key-hole covers to stop the howling draught through the back door. The better class of covers come in boxes and are called “escutcheons”. These sound a bit heraldic for me. I imagine a knight charging up the drive from a jousting contest in his shining Range Rover. He proudly fixes an escutcheon plate on the front door, and presents his fair damsel with a golden key.

I settled for a brass-effect key cover in a blister pack. Mrs M makes hardly any fuss about the extra fiddle getting the key in the hole.

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