Tony Allen: And finally... Power to the people

Nov 10 | 2022

“Don’t forget the candles,” said the lady of the house. Strike a light I thought, it’s like living in the dark ages!

Tony Allen: And finally...“Will we ever need them?” I asked myself – “Surely we’re not really living in the dark ages!” But in some ways it often seems that we are. But in the words of some scout leader or other, I suppose it’s better to be prepared.

Frequently these days we now hear the term ‘a perfect storm’ mentioned in the context of our present existence, and this doesn’t only refer to the weather. Although it’s fair to say that global warming is potentially one of our major problems. Looking back, I find that even seven years ago I was writing in this column about the need for action on this front. In reality very little seems to have changed. We seem to be more concerned about offending somebody by using a word slightly out of context than we are about our future security.

I don’t want to turn this into a rant, but I come to you fresh from reading a most interesting article about the most efficacious ways to utilise a hot water bottle when your heating is turned off due to possible shortage of funds. I’m old enough to remember the time when a hot water bottle was one of the best defences against a cold winter and here we are back again! The better-off among you will be able to afford an electric blanket but it’s not much good in a power cut, but even so we don’t have to take it lying down. Anyone that has a warming pan hanging on their wall could be in a very strong position at the moment.

Over the years we have become more and more used to relatively affordable ways of heating our dwellings and alas things are now changing; for a whole variety of reasons energy is becoming more expensive. The only thing that appears currently to be over-heating is our economy. With central heating having become an almost standard necessity, very few people are aware of just how cold an unheated winter bedroom would become after a few days.

Fortunately we always have the highly trained experts to fall back on. For example, were you aware that you could save money by wearing an extra jumper or two during cold winter nights? This is certainly most useful information and maybe you should pass it on to your friends and family! A pair of woolly socks won’t do any harm either.

The result of all of this is that fuel costs are going through the roof, and in some cases quite literally. Everything is becoming more expensive and inflation is taking off – have you seen the price of balloons?

I suppose in the very nature of things everything changes, and not always for the better, and some of us with more years on the clock may have seen it all before. I remember when in the winter we had to scrape the ice off the inside of the windows and that sort of stuff …

When you come to think about it, we used to have ample supplies of energy through coal mines located in many parts of the UK that produced abundant supplies of coal and gas and which were relatively cheap to use. Of course coal was unhealthy and dangerous to mine and extremely harmful to the atmosphere. Somehow, for all of these reasons, and at great cost, mines were closed throughout the country. Of course we had North Sea oil to soften the blow, but as a result, unfortunately we became more reliant on imported gas and oil and therefore subject to commercial and political blackmail. Alas we are feeling the effects of this right now .

So, as winter closes in, don’t forget your stock of candles and maybe an extra pair of woolly socks wouldn’t do any harm; and let’s hope that you won’t need them. Just remember that things are never as bad as they initially seem and anyway it’s all probably happened before and we’ve come through it OK. Just look at how, despite a high degree of apprehension, we got through the worst of COVID.  (There, I’ve said it!)

Anyway, stay warm.