Thursday 26 October 2006
This story sounds awfully familiar. Our home is heated with bottled gas which is even more expensive than either bulk-delivered LPG or oil, the options described in the article. Each bottle costs us nearly £40 and, in deep mid-winter when there is nightly frost, we can get through a bottle in six days. Do the maths. We can’t upgrade to either of the bulk options without investing in a (costly) tank plus associated plumbing. You find that, after the first bill arrives, you quickly learn to put on a thicker sweater insted of turning up the thermostat. Our wood-fuelled stove is also a great friend.
In addition, as the article hints, those of us living in rural areas, even though we are only a short distance from two small towns, have to use cars every day as there is no realistic public transport alternative. There is a weekday bus, but it runs only once per hour, goes only to one of the neighbouring towns and starts too late and finishes too early to be of any value to commuters. Bizarrely, it calls at the nearby railway station before coming to our village, so you can’t use it to hook up with the rail service. I’ve never actually counted them all, but our road consists of 31 properties but yet must be home to at least sixty cars. Parking is a nightmare.
Now, I’m not expecting government handouts to help us out (although there could be more help to encourage people to insulate their homes and make them more fuel-efficient – this would both help them financially and reduce emissions). But a realisation of the problem in government and elsewhere would be a good thing. As suggested in the article, villages like ours are often home to those on very low wages (farm workers, for example) and how they manage, I really don’t know (actually, I do – they have wood-fuelled stoves and take wood home from the farm as a "perk". But that doesn’t heat your water or cook your dinner).