Friday, 16 November 2007

Thursday 15th November 07

A good day as at least two, possibly three things happened, interesting things! Firstly, at 10, as booked, a chap from the Cooperative Insurance came, Mark his name was. We were rung up last week and told he'd like to tell us about some new products.... this was the first time we'd ever been visited by someone from the Co-op, and Gill was convinced that he was coming to snoop round the house and check our smoke alarms were working, etc, and was embarrassed by the untidiness. However he was lovely. He had come to tell us about the new insurance policy and we also discussed savings and ISAs... I don't think about money much so it was interesting to have some stuff explained. He was lovely and Gill's fears were unfounded. My new bike is now insured.

I had aranged to have lunch on the allotment with Jo... whilst we chatted I dug out a working compost heap and transferred it to another New Zealand box (pallets!) and then restarted the original one with chopped up brambles. We had a good chat, she had an interesting weekend in Whitby and had a lot to tell me. Whilst there Jessica came with her wonderful digital camera and of course asked where mine was! She wants me to get some images downloaded onto my computer and onto RedBubble or perhaps even my blog... that would be good! Then Phil popped by... he's preparing for a court case as he's refusing to pay his council tax as he blames the council for the problems he's experiencing with vandals attacking his home, and he's had to board up his windows and the council have told him to unboard them. Interesting!

So got back from the lottie at 2.45 and Gill was preparing to go to school, so I did some emailing and got a comment from Annabel on yesterdays blog post, about how I am qualified to write about environmental and ethical issues. I spent quite a long time replying and explaining, but when I sent the reply, it came back as not able to be delivered to Annabel, so I hope she either sends a contact email and I'll send her the original reply, or I could explain on this blog... not sure what to do.

I went to get our eldest at 4.15 after his drama club, and one of his friends came back too which was good as it means good behaviour. Before teatime, I got a phone call from someone with an Eastern European accent, possibly Russian, allegedly called Vishka. He said he wanted to join my circus! I explained that I wasn't actually a full circus, but did circus tricks at events as an entertainer... but if he wanted to meet me or learn some skills, or find out how I organised myself as an entertainer, he could meet me. I agreed to meet him at 10.30 tomorrow at City Screen.... he said he'd be wearing a trilby! I was suspicious whether he was spoofing me, so I explained that sometimes pranksters did ring me up and try to have me on, and he assured me he was genuine. We'll see!

Gill made tea, pasta parcels and veg with garlic bread, and soon after I went to the CRAG meeting. This was really good, I learned quite a lot. Denise was from the Energy Efficiency Advice Centre in York, which is one of 46 nationally set up by the Energy Saving Trust in 1992 as a response to the Rio 'Earth Summit' which urged us all to act to combat climate change. She started with an observation about when she was young, 40 years ago, she had just 4 electrical items in the house, an iron, the telly, lightbulbs and a 'town gas' cooker (presumably electrical ignition?) Nowadays, we have several TV's, all sorts of gadgets like breadmakers, mobile phones, gameboys, ipods.... a huge list of electrical items. We got lots of facts:
UK homes responsible for 29% of our CO2 emissions,
20% of energy in the house is wasted,
UK committed to reducing domestic C emissions by 12.5% by 2010 from 1990 levels, and we are on target for this. We have made a voluntary comittment to go for a 20% reduction but we're not approaching this, mainly because of the rise of gadget use which increases electricity consumption.
She explained how the Energy EfficiencyAdvice Centres worked and why it was important, the benefits of saving energy, (not just reducing climate change but releasing money currently wasted, increasing health, effecting behaviour change, etc) and their campaign to 'Save your 20%'.
She had examples of low energy lightbulbs and a catalogue from 'Megaman' bulbs, and how much money could be saved by fitting just one low energy lightbulb (£9).
There was a diagram of where energy is lost in an uninsulated house (roof, 26%; walls, 33%; single glazed windows, 18%; floors, 15%; draughts, 11%) and lots of info on insulation.
There was one section which really interested me.... on how to insulate solid walls, as our 1930's house doesn't have cavity walls, it has solid walls, and there are 4 ways of insulating them to reduce that 33% loss of heat. There are 3 ways of internally insulating ('dry lining', using thermal board and something called perhaps 'sempatap'... I'll look it up!) and the more efficient way of externally insulating, which is what I'd like to do with out big wall on the coldest side of the house, away from the woodstoves. She even had the name of a company who fit external insulation (Wall Transform)!
Then we got onto renewable energy. tbc

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