The Gas bill.


The latest Gas Bill arrived yesterday and showed a surprising fall in usage compared with the same period of last year’s. And that is despite the gas rates having gone up. Some six years ago after moving in our town-house, we did fill up all possible cavities above ceilings with insulation blankets. It seems that the mania for installing downlights reached its zenith around that time too. We have dozens of them. The bathroom upstairs has three of those alone.

In the past, one light per room was the norm. With the innovation of low voltage lights, architects seemed to think they could now go berserk on installing a multitude of down-lights on every square metre of ceiling. Of course, by doing that they would not have found much opposition from the energy companies. The more wastage the better. It wasn’t till I crawled into the roof space one evening when I noticed the whole area ablaze with light as well. The insulation experts told us that a lot of leakage of both light and heat was due to the downlights. We had to put brackets over all the downlights above the ceilings so that the insulation could go over those downlights’ transformers, prevent possible fire.

The roofs already had insulation blankets underneath the rafters installed by the original builders. So, we have double insulation. Of course, this will not insulate us against our final ‘journey’, but at least we will be warm as long as possible in the process. This is also why we put in double glazing on all glass areas in our living spaces downstairs. Readers by now might well conclude we live like misers, going around the place with candles, cackling manically, and ghoulishly celebrating,Β re-reading old gas bills. This is not true. We live well. It is just a Dutch treat or trait, that wastage is the eternal enemy to guard against. It might well be genetic.

Today though we will really test the ability to stay warm. An icy blast from Antarctica is supposed to reach us within a matter of hours. Already further south, people have been warned to stay indoors. The TV news showed us people all huddled up and looking anxiously at the sky. They say, that keeping newspapers in between blankets is a good way to stay warm too. I would recommend NOT to use The Daily Telegraph, The Australian or The Financial Times. They are owned by Murdoch and likely to send shivers up your spine. The Sydney morning Herald or Dutch Australian Weekly, Suomilainen Lahti, Aldi’s catalogues or Die Woche are all fine.

Snow is expected to fall wide-spread, especially in the Southern Highlands where we are living. Well, we are prepared as well as possible and will survive. I do hope that those Danish doonas stolen so many years ago are still warming up a few lost souls. The events so long past whereby the thieves stole doonas and yet did not touch money or other valuables, speaks volumes. It still intrigues, does it not?

By the way. Our gas bill was $396,- compared with last year’s (over the same period) $489.-. The bill covers three months. We did have an extraordinary warm autumn though. Perhaps that explains it. Even so, the rates per M3 of gas did go up! I now pay those bills using the computer. Such has been my progress on using IT.

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17 Responses to “The Gas bill.”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    Your posts are always a treat to read, as you gently poke fun at yourself. I’m loving this cool winter after all those years in the north. A red nose suits me so very well! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We just came back from our walk. The wind-chill made it seem a lot colder. It was about 2C, which in Finland would be considered a heat-wave with people diving into lakes to cool off.
      Glad you enjoy the red nose weather. Helvi reckons my nose colour is due to quaffing Claret.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I’m also a huge fan of the Aldi catalogue. What synchronicity that we should both use it for thermal purposes πŸ™‚ in my case it’s for lining the canaries nests and for lighting the fire but thanks to your suggestion, i’m in a mind now to use it next winter in our bed – stuffing a few copies down the end will keep our toes warm… better keep off the bruinen bonen though, can you imagine the fire risks??!

    No chance of being to cold now. It’s been hitting the late 30’s this week and I’m writing this propped up in bed with the fan whirring by my side. Maybe I should get Irishman to become my punkah wallah and flap an Aldi catalogue in my face to sooth my sweaty brow. Lovely post, Thank you, Gerard πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thanks, Lottie. No canaries here. Milo would not cope with anything feathered. Aldi, as I write, are having a Dutch week. Lots of stroop wafels, red cabbage, sauerkraut, herrings, beans and all sorts of sweets and sandwich spreads. We stocked up on all the red cabbage and are ready to go back and get more. The Dutch oven will be on full blast if this cold weather keeps on much longer! πŸ˜‰
      We are prepared for the worst. I noticed Germany is selling Government bonds now giving a negative return and soon we will have to pay banks to accept our savings. Even so, can one imagine even fifty years ago, seniors clambering around inside roof cavities looking for leaking lights and escaping warmth?
      We have to keep going, Lottie. It is the only way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. stuartbramhall Says:

    Here in New Zealand we had the mildest fall ever. I used practically no heat at all in June.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The winter is on full now though. Getting up in the morning involves putting on a coat and quickly put on the heaters. Frost on the roofs and bird bath thick with ice. So far our Clivias have survived outside and are even starting to flower.


  4. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I have to look twice to remember that you are having winter while we are still roasting in 80-90 days continuing to dry out our starving gardens. Our gas and electric bills reflect the air conditioning cost. But on a hot day who cares? It seems odd too to think we should check on the roof condition of this old house before the rains come. One estimate a few years ago was possibly $40,000-50,000, so it behooves us to keep it in good repair.
    What is a Danish doona? I am such a dummy.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      A Danish Doona is just a comforter or blanket but made of a sheeted bag filled with whatever gives warmth the best. The Danish one is filled with eiderdown. It is light yet gives warmth. I believe polar explorers and mountain climbers use jackets also filled with eiderdown.
      I am more of a roof cavity explorer without a jacket.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. rodhart (@roderick_hart) Says:

    I have no experience of downlights and after reading your post intend to keep it that way. You raise an interesting point about paying banks to look after your money. The end logic of that would be that banks would pay you to borrow money – but that won’t happen, of course. Here in the YUK rumour has it the base rate will go down today, maybe to 0%. If that happens what do savers do, put ten pounds under the mattress? Here the custom is to blame everything on the EU, which does leave a lot to be desired. But these structural problems actually stem from the crash of 2008 from which there has been no genuine recovery.

    We could stuff our Doona with paper money to keep warm?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it seems a difficult era has begun for investors, Rod.

      My advice would be to go short on pork bellies and pile into Dutch red cabbage or take long positions on Yorkshire’s smoked kippers. Even the haggis option market is now openly talked about in Frankfurt.

      Of course, the canny Scots keep it all close to their chests. πŸ˜‰


  6. shoreacres Says:

    My mother grew up poor, and had some experience of using newspapers as additional warmth between the blankets. She said it worked rather well, though she much preferred today’s fleece.

    We’re running the air conditioning, too. Right this minute, it is….36C, with a heat index of 47C. Now and then, I put fresh water and ice cubes in the birds’ water dish, and enjoy their antics while I linger inside and amuse myself with paperwork and computer tasks. I have become a wussie in my old age.

    Stroop wafels. Now, there’s a treat. I still order them from the bakery in the little Dutch town near where I grew up, as a Christmas treat — along with Speculaas. Perhaps Christmas in July is in order.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Linda. Heat can also strike us here during summer. We have no air-conditioning and use fans if it gets too much. The double glazing helps to keep heat out during the day, and the nights generally cool of. We keep all windows open during the night allowing the house to get cool again for the next day of heat to arrive.

      We went back for more preserved red cabbage at Aldi’s but there had been a run on them. All sold. Fortunately, the sauerkraut was still available. Plenty of stroop wavels and rogge-brood. There has been a lot of attention on Australians being the world’s second most obese people. Even suggestions about raising a sugar tax.

      However, the economy is somewhat shaky, and any suggestion of taxes is greeted with howls of protest, but…what about the cost of future health?

      At any time now the first of the Santas will arrive. They come sooner each year. Christmas is coming.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Been reading about the coming cold from other Aussie bloggers, Gerard. Keep warm. Like Linda, out temps are pushing up to 38C. So the problems are the opposite. We don’t have Linda’s humidity, however. Agree with you on the Murdoch papers, but in a pinch, any old port in a storm… –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The wind was fierce. We wrapped up and went for a walk. A bit scary. We we kept clear of those huge eucalypts that grow in this area. There was nobody about and we felt terrific facing the elements with feeling the drama of this blast from Antarctica.

      Our Jack Russell, Milo, was also enjoying the challenge.
      Today the weather is back to normal.

      I might go for a bike-ride. Your delightful story encourages bike riding.


  8. sedwith Says:

    I dread my bill. $750 last quarter. Power and water in Darwin owned by one NT company Jacana Energy a government-owned corporation with a Shareholding Minister and a Portfolio Minister. The Hon David Tollner MLA, the Treasurer, is the Shareholding Minister and the Hon Willem Rudolf Westra van Holthe MLA, Minister for Essential Services is the Portfolio Minister. They ‘sponsor’ the CEO Sleepout where some phony solidarity with the homeless is shown by a meagre group of CEOs who own 4 wheel drives and love camping. A Darwin travel site called Enjoy Darwin tells me “Darwin has the highest rate of homelessness of any city in Australia, with an estimated two to three thousand people living rough at any one time.
    This is at least partly because of a very tight rental market, with limited accommodation available and high rental costs.”
    I have anecdotal information that ‘longrassers’ as they are known here number more like 10,000.the abc recently did a spot on our coconut Aboriginal Chief Ministers take on this
    How does that work?
    Half the NT $ come from our share of GST more than any state or territory. We sold off the major port to China. Want to make NT a ‘Foodbowl’ , we’re hosting 1200 US marines‘ if I hear the phrase ‘Moving forward’ one more time I might lose it completely. Love your work Gerard.


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