Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Will the last person to leave the country please switch off the lights

I've made two faux pas' on Facebook this last week.  First of all, I turned a friend's very beautiful baby girl into a boy by describing her as 'he'...twice....and failed to notice it for a couple of days.  It's too late to delete the comment now.  The second one was to get a friend's son's name wrong...Will I called him, not Wilf. Again it took me a couple of days to realise.  I doubt any of them will speak to me again.

The Cat is returning home next weekend.  Such is the nature of Universities that now you pay a small fortune to attend, the terms are shorter.  She is delighted that Hippo reposted her trailer...clearly Angola is going to be a big market for the film!

In the meantime, The Cat's Mother and I are left alone amongst our Christmas decorations.  Peace and quiet reigns supreme and we can enjoy ours own company.  It's lovely.

The Boy has landed on his feet.  He spent one night in the hostel before meeting up with one of the instructors from last year...there was a space available in the Instructors Chalet so he moved in pretty sharpish.  He's been fitted out with his uniform, and  on Saturday took his first lesson.  A German lady.  It went very well indeed, and she booked again for Sunday.  In the meantime he got reassigned to looking after the small children on the Kinder Slopes...which means that he will have a full week's work early in the season.  That may be a good thing as there is a constant stream of  emails such as 'any evening that includes facepainting with charcoal and goats outfits must be good'...

I nearly cried when the government announced last week that it was dropping green levies on energy companies, and some of them immediately announced that bills would be reduced by £50 next year.  That was the week after they'd put them up £150, so they'll only go up £100.  The green 'levy' will still be made, but through 'general taxes'. So if  we were concerned that energy company shareholders were filling their pockets before, then there's no change.  I don't believe that basic energy - the stuff that lights and heats our homes should be in the hands of private companies who by their very nature are trying to make a profit out of their customers for their shareholders.  That's basic capitalism.  But that is the way it is now, and the politicians seem unable or unwilling to change that.  Don't think for one minute that the Ed Miller Band approach of freezing bills is anything but a short-term tactical election ploy.  The same, of course, applies to water (marvelous announcement from Ofwat that water companies will no longer be allowed to make super-inflated profits....why were they ever!?)  And rail companies.

The only real way to reduce energy profits is to reduce consumption...and that is our hands.  There are grants to insulate homes and instal renewable energy sources such as solar cells.  I once became (and still am) a great advocate of Personal Carbon Trading schemes.  The idea behind this is that every country has a 'carbon allowance'.  That allowance is then divided between the population of that country.  Some people will not require their full allowance and are allowed to 'sell' it to those that do.  In the same way that water meters tend to reduce people's use of water, this approach would generally reduce energy consumption levels.  The bonus of this, is that the people who wouldn't need their allowance are the less well-off who live in smaller properties...the people who need more than their allowance are the people who live in bigger properties and have lots of plasma TV's (etc!).  So in one fell swoop you get a 'green' energy policy and the redistribution of wealth.  Of course, it does add an extra level of complexity of life (but that is the way of things now) as the 'trading is done online, but apart from that for me it's perfect!  There are some complexities, as you need to set the level to include families with children, but that is a detail.  Where you can extend this is to include people's car so that instead of there being the clumsy annual car tax (RIP Tax Disc I see), this can be included as part of their carbon allowance.  Genius.  Don't say otherwise.

Anyway, I'm off to switch off a few lights now.....