Monday 8 December 2008

Every House Should Have One

In the main I blog to keep what's left of my brain active. At the same time I struggle to find something on which to write. I don't have the urge to write everyday, be topical or 'up to date' and of any case others do it better. ( Which doesn't mean I don't care what's happening in the world.) But I do enjoy it plus I may be grumpy but I try not to be boring. Which in a way is strange because I suddenly find myself writing a semi technological blog when I consider myself to be the least technological person in the world. Now talk about money and I'm yours, but for once the two are linked hence my interest. Let me explain.
Southern Electric recently sent us a thingy me bob that measures instantly how much electricity you are using at any one time. And boy is that a life changing experience. My wife fixed it up, plugged in (I told you I don't do technology) and away we went.
We recently moved house, having bought my daughter and son in law's bungalow, a state of the art little palace in which to end our days; but not yet I hope. So the running costs are unknown to us. Running costs, now they're boring for a start, but only a fool or a very rich man could ignore such things in this day and age.
The gadget has a screen that gives out continuous information. Now I know that electricity is measured in kilowatts (kW), without having the faintest idea what a kilowatt really is. No matter, as long as you know how much each one costs you're away. (Plus very cleverly the price is adjustable, you merely change the setting every time the price of electricity goes up, which is very frequently nowadays.) It also tells you what you used yesterday, what your monthly bill will be, etc, etc. Lecture over, now what.
My daughter, Sarah and husband Jeff Ascough ran a very successful photographic business from our present address that necessitated good lighting. Plus the younger generation are into modern 21st century living. So far removed from my early days. I remember sitting at home as a child doing homework, the hissing gaslight casting shadows, hindering my feeble efforts in the gloomy little room, the silverfish glinting in the embers of the fire. (Who was it who sang 'Those were the days my friend.') Sarah and family have gone to live in Lytham St Annes near Blackpool. Our bungalow would give Blackpool illuminations a run for their money.
We switched on our new toy, television was ignored and we watched the alternative screen with baited breathe. Basically a kilowatt of electricity is costing us around 13p. With virtually nothing switched on our costs are apparently around £27 a month. We try the four kitchen lights. (halogen). Evidently halogen lights use five times more electricity than ordinary lights. The cost immediately rockets to £47 a month. (Remember, four halogen lights only.) I turn on the electric kettle and it rockets the bill to £200 a month. I know you don't use an electric kettle for long but you get the picture.
I fetch a notebook and biro and walk round the house. I count at least fifty six light bulbs, of which forty three are halogen. I also count three televisions, two hi-fi systems, two Sky boxes and a radio. A washing machine, a tumble dryer, another dryer, a fridge, freezer, and two bread machines. A microwave, juicer, toaster, food mixer, computer, printer and a shredder. Plus the central heating is constantly on so the boiler naturally takes a hammering. Come to think of it, I don't know how the National Grid copes. Something has to go, something has to give, that's for sure.
Christmas decorations, bah, humbug. I sort out my seventy eight rpm records; my wind up gramophone needs a run out, it's so long since I last used it. Though I have a job reading the labels, especially in the dark. I hesitate, undecided, the choice, orchestral, Woody Herman or Tommy Dorsey. At least I'm not missing the central heating, three jumpers are better than two. Of any case, I'm going to bed in a minute. And I've not missed the television, honest. And if staying becomes too much of a bore, we can always go visiting. What nights are you in?


VioletSky said...

Very funny!

I remember (not as far back as you!) when I was rather poor and had to pay extra for electricity (it's usually included in the rent wherever else I've lived). I was so desperate to save money I even took out the fuse for the clock in the stove, and researched the cheapest way to boil water - electric kettle, stovetop kettle, microwave - and put in 25 watt lightbulbs everywhere. Then I went on holidays for 3 weeks and unplugged everything except the refrigerator. When I came home and saw my hydro bill for the month I was shocked and horrified to discover I had only saved $3.00!
All that effort and my fridge was draining me of every kilowatt electricity in my four walls.

Lakeland Jo said...

thanks for popping by at my blog- I hope you will come back sometime soon
all the best

Carah Boden said...

Brilliant you grumpy old bugger (not!) - you conjured up some marvellous images and really made me laugh!

Coincidentally, just the other day, I stood in our hallway peering up at the ancient old electric meter (set wrongly for economy mode which I must get changed as that in itself costs us a fortune), turning lights and kettles and things on and off to see how quickly the old spinny dial thing whizzed round. Safe to say, it didn't seem to make any difference whether I was standing in a silent dark house with the freezer dripping out its melty contents, or surrounded by lights, music and singing kettles. No. It just whizzed round the same. Conclusion? It's buggered, and so are we...

Thanks so much for dropping round at my place and for your lovely comments. I shall be back here too for some more laughs!

Robert said...

Just one comment - you're not as grumpy as a Grumpy Old Ken should be!

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about getting one of those gadget things but it sounds like they could cause more stress than there worth! Just off to replace my halogen bulbs now tho, and light a few more candles!

Mad Asthmatic said...

I am defini tely not getting one of those gadgets I think it would be the end of me. I have tho changed all my light bulbs to those energy saving ones.

I only have my heating on for about 4 hours a day. A couple of hrs in the morning to take the chill off the house and a couple in the late afternoon. I prefer to put another jumper on and have a warm wheatbag on my feet.

Am in most nights if you are out visiting hee hee. Or maybe the pub could be your new sitting room?

a tinsel bedecked MA

Troy said...

I went to look for one of these devices but couldn't find on. Southern Elec. sent yours for free? It is about time the price of gas and electricity came down in the same way as petrol.
Thanks for calling by my "Tractor Boy Troy" (amazed you found it). Hope you'll also like my main blog.
I'll call by again.

Stinking Billy said...

ken, Woody Herman, y' bugger? Are you a clarinet lover or did you simply like his music?

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Haha very funny post Ken!
That gadget look svery good and I can see how it would make you go around the house detailing the usage of everything!
Although I hope they don't start making them here as my Brazilian footballer would start making me turn all the lights off and stop using the television and internet so much! No, I will keep quiet about this fantastic little gadget!

ADDY said...

All you need to do now is find a computer that works on candles!!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

The joys of being poor. I remember it well
I will be back, I promise.
Her on the Hill
I bet it's supercool at Castleton tonight. But I still wish I was in The George instead of here.
On a bad day I am!
Those bulbs frighten me but i must admit they are good.
Mad Asthmatic
You are already doing your bit for the planet. (and mine by the sound of it)
East Anglian Troy
Another bad night. a black cloud hangs over Derby
My choice of 78's is limited. How about a Gal in calico Joe Loss or Just an Echo in the Valley, organ solo by Harry davidson. Bit before my time. bet you remember them.

Grumpy Old Ken said...


I have a valve radio in my 'museum' plus an old but not ancient laptop that weighs a ton.

Sam said...

You should heat your home with clean, efficient natural gas!