Wanting, in so far as I could, to do my bit for the environment and dwindling resources, one of my first acts on moving here was to request recycling boxes. Having done this, I started to think to the future – and, to be specific, those who live in this house after I am gone. I wondered if – by using a nip here and a tuck there – I would be able to get Solar Panels installed.
We had them at my old house – and they were marvellous, especially during the warmer, sunnier weather. I knew they worked, therefore, and that they were making their positive mark upon the energy crisis.
But, the scary Birds of What If started flocking around my head the moment I seriously looked into the solar option. What if my car conked out and I was unable to afford a new (second-hand, you understand!) one; what if an unforeseen and costly repair was necessary to the house; what if I was never again able to afford to go on holiday to Crete; what if, what if, what if…
Having allowed hundreds of these squawking black Corvids of Terror to encircle me, I suddenly broke into a belly laugh at how farcical I was being; how – dare I say it – middle-class and privileged!
My car, now fourteen years old and mine since 2011, is fine at present and one can never plan absolutely for every known emergency. Holidays, whether abroad or in this country, are a luxury and not an entitlement – and, if I really want to go on one, I’ll just have to save up for it!
My upbringing was all about saving up for things, waiting, knowing how lucky I was compared to so many others. Instant gratification was not part of my childhood. Seeing things as treats and luxuries very much was. As, indeed, was working hard for what you got. As the oldest of five children, it was made plain to me, from an early age, that my parents were not in a financial position to help me once I reached my majority, so there was never any question of my opting to do nothing once I left university: As most of you know, I became an English teacher and taught full time for thirty years.
But these panels are not just about me. If they were, I doubt if I would have bothered. The thought of utilising a renewable energy source, in the current climate, was both compelling and attractive. The thought of passing this technology on to the next dwellers in this house also grabbed me: My gift to the future, you might say.
Hoarding does not appeal to me, whether it be money or possessions. The concept of an unknown rainy day fund smacks, to me, of the kind of emotional terrorism we so easily inflict upon our nearest and dearest. Better to celebrate the known than wait in fear of a catastrophic financial tsunami which may, actually, never come.
And so, decision made, I made inquiries, was talked through the process – and, at the end of it, was told that my panels would be hoicked up on June 8th, Election Day.
Yesterday was, in parts, beautifully bright and sunny – and, mid-morning, I received an unexpected phone call: The Solar-men were working near to Glastonbury, had finished their previous job early and wanted to know if I’d mind them coming over a day early.
Mind? MIND?!! I was ecstatic! Sooner the better as far as I was concerned, and this way it would not eat into the General Election.
The trio who turned up early afternoon were a complete hoot! They had a particularly fine line in lugubrious banter and stone-faced wise-cracking which had me in stitches at times.
They got on with it. The weather, like a spoilt child, whinged for an hour or so and then had a fully-fledged tantrum. I provided tea, cold drinks and biscuits whilst the lads drilled, banged about in the loft and leapt up a ladder to attach the panels to the roof.
A friend came round during the merry mayhem – and the two of us sat in the kitchen, sipping tea and laughing at the humour wafting through from other parts of the house.
And then, finally, men gone and rooms hoovered (by them, I hasten to add), I was able to go outside, stand on the other side of the road and look up. Wow! That was a wonderful moment, I can tell you!
Okay, so it was raining cats and dogs; the driveway had tiny bits of flex and so forth lurking upon it and the General Election still loomed, like a Political Leviathan, out of the Sea of Threat – but, hell, for a few moments, I felt hope and happiness. I felt I had made my own contribution, no matter how small in the scale of things, to a more sustainable future.