Energy saving tips

  • If you have air-conditioning in the home, get rid of it. Take it in turns to keep each other cool by wafting giant fans, constructed from sustainable wood products.
  • If you have central heating in the home, get rid of it. Take it in turns to run around the house until you are hot and then hugging a member of the family who is feeling cold.
  • If you have a dishwasher, get rid of it. Wash all crockery and cutlery in rain water, using straw for scouring purposes. Hang washed items on a washing line, to dry in the fresh air. If a passing bird poos on any item, repeat the process.
  • If you have a washing machine, get rid of it. Wash all clothes in the nearest river, using straw for scouring purposes.
  • If you have a tumble dryer, get rid of it. Hang your clothes out to dry on a washing line. If a passing bird poos on any item, repeat the process.
  • Another good way of drying wet clothes is to put them on and then run around a lot until they’re dry. This may get them a bit sweaty, in which case you’ll need to wash them again (see above).
  • If you have a computer, get rid of it.
  • If you have a TV, get rid of it.
  • Don’t bathe or shower indoors. Wait until it rains and then wash outside, using straw for scouring purposes. If a passing bird poos on you, repeat the process.
  • If you must bathe or shower indoors, make sure you share it with at least two other people.
  • Make sure your home is adequately insulated. If it isn’t, take the stuffing out of your furniture and cram it into every bit of roof space and wall cavity.
  • If you have any open fireplaces, brick them up.
  • Sit in the dark as often as possible.
  • Get used to drinking cold tea, made with cold water.
  • If you have a car, get rid of it.
  • Don’t throw anything away. Let all your rubbish accumulate until you can think of something useful to do with it.
  • If you feel cold, put on more clothes and/or get the member of your family who’s been running around to hug you.
  • Work from home, regardless of your job. Explain to your boss that you are doing it to save the planet. He / she is sure to understand.
  • Take empty beer bottles back to the brewery and ask them for re-fills.
  • Turn your wheelie-bin into a compost bin, by chucking a few worms on top of the rubbish it already contains. You can use the resulting compost for something worthy, I expect.
  • Prudent use of toilet tissue, with careful post-use drying on the loo windowsill, can extend the life of a typical sheet to at least four wipes.
  • Don’t flush the loo until it’s in danger of over-flowing. Reduce the amount of water wasted with each flush by filling the cistern with concrete.
  • Sneer at anyone with a carrier bag.
  • Stop buying books. Encourage family members to write their own stories on the walls of your house.
  • Don’t waste water on grass and plants. Let them die, unless they’re trees (see below).
  • Plant as many trees as you can fit on your property. This will help to reduce CO2. Don’t worry about damage to the foundations caused by the roots; it’s just nature.

Hot and cold running torture

I travel with work and have stayed at a wide range of bed and breakfast establishments around the United Kingdom.  I have discovered there is a hateful device to be found in many of the guest houses and small hotels of the land: the electric shower. Generally, these are based on a common design principle, usually requiring three main controls: a cord hanging from the ceiling, a power setting switch and a temperature knob.  In my experience, most electric showers appear to have these controls implemented as follows:

The pull cord, which controls the supply of electricity to the water heater, is hidden (e.g. behind the bathroom door).  Its presence and state (switched off) aren’t discovered until the showeree is ensconced in the bath or cubicle and has been drenched by a sudden jet of ice cold water.

The power setting switch usually has ‘high’ and ‘low’ settings. More sophisticated examples, with more settings, simply offer finer degrees of the same thing.  The ‘high’ setting alternates the water temperature – at random intervals from ten to fifty-five seconds – between scalding, instantly skin peeling heat and whatever setting is selected on the temperature dial.  The ‘low’ setting alternates the water temperature – at random intervals from twenty to ninety-five seconds – between blood thickeningly freezing cold and whatever setting is selected on the temperature dial.

Clearly, the temperature knob plays a crucial role in the overall showering experience.  Most examples have a setting scale of one to ten; they never have actual temperature settings.  Settings one to five are normally coloured blue and six to ten coloured red; the implied effects on water temperature couldn’t be made more obvious.  But it’s all a lie, of course. Numbers one to three are all just above freezing.  Numbers four to ten are all just below boiling.  The region between three and four results in a temperature fluctuation between fifteen and eighty-five degrees Celsius, the rate of which would be predictable, were it not for the randomising effects of the power setting switch.  Within this region, there exists the mystical and rarely discovered “safe zone”, in which a bearable temperature can be maintained for anything up to a minute, though rarely longer.  The safe zone can never be found directly, but has to be discovered by selecting a nearby hot or cold setting and enduring it until the safe zone, if it chooses, anoints the blistered, or frost-bitten, would be clean person, with water at just the right temperature.

It’s amazing how adept one can become at washing, quite thoroughly, using only a hand basin.

Mind your head!

Eventually something will hit it. Be ready for that eventuality. A skateboard helmet is light, but surprisingly sturdy. Being of open-face design, it doesn’t get in the way of eating, drinking, licking postage stamps etc. and can be decorated with small herbs; I favour the chive.

I’m sure there are spiders living behind my noticeboard. I can hear them whispering to each other and giggling at each other’s arachnid quips. I wonder if they post their own notices on the back of the board, which they consider to be the front? If so, perhaps they have discussions about the human they suspect lives on the back of their noticeboard, commenting on the fact that they’re sure they can hear the occasional, unmistakable sound of a chive falling from his skateboard helmet.