Sunday, December 28, 2008
dear readers, yet again i have neglected you all. this has partly been due to what is known as the festive season. although this year the peeps have not had the usual amount of shopping for gifts to distract them. they agreed not to get each other anything in order to allow them to purchase a nice present for my boy. he has been wanting a satnav for quite some time and it was decided that he could have one as a joint birthday and christmas present.
some of my more astute readers will have spotted the slight anomoly in this idea - my boy does not have a car. this has not stopped him, of course. he has navigated the peeps on foot round the neighbourhood. and of course whenever the chance to go out in the car has come up he is there like a shot, in contrast to recent weeks when the prospect of going in the car caused fear and trepidation.
as well as a decidedly scrooge-like approach to gift-buying, another side effect of the credit crunch chez nous has been a fall in the ambient temperature in the house. herself has, as regular readers know, been trying to make the family finances add up. this has stretched even her creative genius. the price of domestic heating has gone up exponentially in recent times. gas (as in the blue stuff that comes out of the cooker, not the stuff my readers in the usa run their cars on) has gone up in price 76% in the last 5 years.
herself has always paid the fuel bills by a nifty little thing called a direct debit. this allows the fuel company to sneak into your bank account every month and help itself to a large chunk of money. the upside of this arrangement is that you don't get hit with scary bills that you can't afford every 3 months. instead you get hit with slightly less scary bills that you still can't afford every month.
herself has increased the direct debit several times recently in an effort to keep up with price hikes. but the peeps are still considerably in the red with the fuel companies. so herself decided to do an online energy survey. this was on the website belonging to the fuel company so it may be seen as being a little biased, but herself entered into the spirit of things. however, there was soon a general air of disatisfaction.
" 'how do you heat your house?' " she read from the screen, "they give you a choice of gas or electricity. they don't have a box for 'i go out in the freezing cold and pouring rain and collect wood which i then bring home and saw up and burn on the fire like an old troll-woman!' "
and then she read some more.
" 'when do you have your heating on? a) all the time b) evenings and mornings in the week and all the time at weekends c) evenings and mornings 7 days a week' how about d) 'when one or both dogs teeth are chattering' !"
herself finally got to the bit where the recommendations for saving energy were delivered. this caused even more mirth.
" 'turn your heating thermostat down by one degree.' how is that going to save us any money? you would have to have the heating on for that to make any difference!"
luckily uncle martin's generosity got us through christmas in a warm and cosy glow. uncle martin works in a place where they make things from wood. there are big chunks of wood that are offcuts from this and just before christmas uncle martin gave himself 3 large bags of this wonderful stuff. it burns very hot and does not need sawing up. so we had a roaring fire to sit by over the festive season.
i hope all my readers had similar good fortune and that your paws are warm and cosy.