Posts Tagged ‘Gas’

Is the world becoming irrational or is it us?

October 11, 2017


It just doesn’t let up. As each day passes the madness grows. A perfectly normal day brings news that would normally be seen as grotesquely unbelievable if not untrue as well.  The latest is that in order for Australia to pass the expected summer heatwave the Australian Government urges us we should think of saving energy by switching off our air-conditioning cooling systems or anything else that might save electricity. The Government will subsidise the customers by paying those willing to save energy handsomely with $ 250.-, and could even include tickets to the cinema or visits to Dreamworld with free water- slides as an extra bonus.

With Australia having the world’s largest reserves of gas, coal  solar, wind and everything else to produce energy, it has all been sold overseas and we are now  running short of electricity. That is the sort of ‘freedom’ the market gives when given unfettered reign. We can buy back our exported energy cheaper overseas than locally! The Government is in a blind and groping around like an amok running Weinstein in a hotel corridor.

Pensioners who want to stay cool could do so by gathering in the coolness of air-conditioned shopping-centres. Others are provided with handy hints on how to stay cool. Included in the list is using wet sheets before retiring to bed. It is suggested in real scout-master science that with the open windows, an air flow over the wet sheets might blissfully give some cool relief to the hot, bothered, and profusely perspiring resident.

It looks totally mad to me but then so much is madness. We have a ‘normal’ man going through a terrible killing spree for which a motive has yet to be found.  Apparently gambling on a daily basis is seen as ‘normal’ now. A President who is  unpredictable, irrational and impulsive and like madman throws tweets about, risking fire storms and annihilation in order to appease his own monstrous need for grandiosity. Not a day goes by without another show of madness on the news.

A film producer who made brilliant movies, has five children, and has now locked himself up in a sanatorium for sex-addicts. As if it wasn’t his doing, raping and groping around the corridors of power!  Mr Harvey Weinstein promises to come good and repair the damage after being healed of his addiction. A true to form trick of wanton Psychiatry giving an escape from taking responsibility by blaming a ‘condition’ over which they have no control.  The poor man!~

We have almost reached the stage of watching re-runs of Seargent  Bilko or Steptoe and Son, The Flintstones.  At least it was a real world.

The Gas bill.

July 13, 2016


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, 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.

The second coffee.

March 10, 2016


Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

The second coffee usually treads a familiar path. Normally it comes after the first. But, normality took a break this morning. You have no idea how complicated the publishing of a book can be. I wonder if the homeless under the bridges or highway overpasses are the results of those desperadoes seeking self-publishing? I am so sick of reading my stumbling words with  ‘a kind of this’ and a ‘kind of that’ getting repeated so often. I’ll delete them, but the rate I am deleting, soon I’ll have a brilliant book with no words.

With each change the family gets  consulted. Their patience will be rewarded in lofty credits in the book if it ever manages to escape the US taxation laws or the pernicious PDF Word Files. One major decision was to change referring to Mum and Dad to father and mother. Back through the whole thing again re-edit and change to the latter. Was it a good move? At 3am I get up and micro-wave a mug of milk (60 seconds) add a spoonful of wattle honey, climb back in bed afterwards and hope for kindness of mind and some sleep.

I made a fatal mistake on reading (Googling) up on back-page blurbs. The general idea is to give the background to the book with the minimum of words. ‘Less is better,’ is the sage advice. In any case, the expert blurb writers warn never more than 250 words. I spent days on that alone till my daughter took over and wrote a very good one. She reckoned my own blurb concentrated too much on colonoscopies and wacko erectile dysfunctional benefits. ‘Just give a hint, don’t rub their face in it,’ she advised.

The torture of the night gets relieved when the first of daylight manages to climb through the bedroom window. It is first- coffee time and this alone heralds a new day. I  leap out of the bed and put on the kettle.  The leaping is not as vigorous as it used to be. The kettle has a whistle and the water heats up by gas. I try and prevent too much of the whistle in case it wakes H who normally gets an extra half hour in. Often breakfast doesn’t happen till well in the morning, usually after 11 or so. This is where to-day’s the second-coffee comes in. Most times we put in a solid couple of hours upstairs on our computers, abusing the Australian Government on the ABC’s on-line forum.

This morning second-coffee was unusual. The same amount of boiling water is put on about three table spoons of ground coffee. I rattle the cups and spoons so Helvi upstairs knows the coffee is in the making. This morning I was perhaps a bit more absent than normal and instead of taking Helvi’s keenly awaited cup of second coffee, I carried a complete two litres of milk upstairs instead. I did not even realise what I had done till I handed it over.

‘You are going ga ga and slipping,’ she said, and laughed her head off.

The dreaded Gasman’s Knock

November 20, 2013

imagesThe neighbourhood has been unsettled this week. The Gasman is around. All letterboxes have received notices that gas connections need updating. The ‘next-generation’ of newer and better gas deliveries will be installed, the brochure lauded. It all started some years ago with ‘logistics’, followed hot on the heels with ‘solutions’. All problems are now solved with ‘next-generation’ technologies. The elderly, already on tenderhooks when the butcher started selling ‘meat solutions’ instead of good old honest sausages and mince are now further pushed into nervous anticipation of ‘next generational’ improvements. They suspect their lives will just become more complicated with higher bills, no matter how much the gas delivery improves. I mean, gas is gas isn’t it?

“Your gas will be disconnected between 6am and 7pm this Tuesday,” a curt little notice in our letterbox heralded. I went to bed intending to get up before our gas would be cut off. The morning coffee would go through no matter what sacrifice would be asked for. I slept restlessly as is my wont when unexpected interruption to routine are foisted upon us and outside my control. Retirement was always seen as a steady flow of unquestioned and calm supply of essential commodities including gas. The turmoil of earlier adventures during life’s proclivities were always supposed to come to rest in the calm waters of ‘retirement’. The very word implies a retraction or retreating from previous action. Even so, the anticipated knock of the Gasman on our door was hardly reason for my nervousness. I have searched my fickle conscience where this stems from. I can only come up with this feeble excuse. Ever since our upheaval from Holland, and before that, the bombing of Rotterdam, I have been subject to feelings of imminent dread. What next; the reading of the riot act while gas is turned off, a street curfew?

Nothing has ever been improved on, as a small boy of seven or eight, my watching the re-building of Rotterdam. I have been fascinated by giant holes in city scapes ever since. Giant cranes would lift a weight of several tonnes only to release it onto wooden beams driven by this pile driver into the muddy ground necessary for the foundations to be built. The noise was thunderous but not quite like the V1 rockets that used to come down earlier during the war.

Give me a building site, preferably with large cranes and giant holes and I’ll happily neglect everything. What a Louis Vuitton David Jones shopping front with skinny mannequins might be for women, a building site is for men. Next time you walk past a building site, you will hardly ever see a woman peering through the gaps of the fence. Men, on the other hand can be transfixed by the noise and commotion on building sites for days. It’s back to the meccano set for them.

Our street was uprooted during the next gas generational logistical supply solution. The whole street was blocked off with traffic diverted by bearded men holding signs with ‘stop’ and ‘go’. Huge mountains of sand piling up and lots of men with mobile phones in hand while wearing yellow helmets and iridescent jackets shouting to bulldozers. Enormous coils of yellow pipes were being fed underground to apartments, houses and domestic abodes including ours. It was worth a morning off from the usual duties. Our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ was on special alert, listening in to all those exotic noises. Jackhammers and a petrol driven compactors, the smell of Diesel, the shouting.

It was a good day, terrific really.
Can it get any better?
Yes, it can;

The times are a changing.

March 2, 2012

The rains are not as rare as they were just a couple of years ago. It’s one of those lovely truths that are real.

If you stand outside and it rains, you’ll get wet. Try and disprove that, and you’ll come up against a fairly formidable body of dissent.

But irrefutable truths are becoming rarer these days. It is strange that everything seems to be in flux and that truth changes so often. It is not as solid as I first thought. Let me give you an example.

I go to bed having sorted something out. It might be something as insignificant as planning to pay the gas bill the next day. I fall asleep with yet another pleasant intention, a man of action after all.

The next morning all that resolve may be gone. You just feel different, and anyway, it is not a good gas-bill-paying day. It’s more than that. Ecouter svp. The truth of the evening before has changed. Why, and how?

One of the latest truths to change is that I always thought that the benefits of our domestic utilities were grounded in a solid unmovable truth. All gas and all electricity comes through the same cables and pipes. The cost of which depends greatly on usage and, (I foolishly believed) we are all charged the same.

If I see a nice suit in a shop I pay the price that is on it. If someone else wants the same suit as well, he pays the same as me. So far so good, but it is not so the case with gas and electricity. Even though my electricity and gas are the same type as my neighbour’s, the bill might be quite different.

Soon after moving here we had a knock on the door (not the dreaded midnight knock) and a young man told us the calamitous news that the gas and electricity company we belonged to had been privatised and we should, with some urgency, change over to another more stable and cheaper company.

He was a nice young man and seemed earnest. His brown eyes had a kind of pleading look and he even had taken his shoes off. People in socks have vulnerability about them. You feel they must be honest and sincere although the link between not wearing shoes and those attributes are difficult to prove if proving you must.

We quickly and assiduously changed over to the more reliable and more solid company with a well-known and trusted name that had withstood the ravages of time and, most importantly, the scourge of modern life ‘privatisation’. We were fortunate for this young man to have knocked on our door. Just in the nick of time.

It’s a difficult life for those unable to ‘let go’. ‘Letting go’ is one of those sociological popular phrases that has taken the world by storm. Only last year everyone was busy with forming ‘new paradigms’. We felt snug and above it all, but alas, as always, we grew tired of it and it soon wore off, we live in such an ever-changing ruthless Google world. It is so hard to keep up with the latest but ‘letting go’ might well give us an answer for a momentary survival in this neck breaking and speed obsessed life.

Please let me continue.

Six months after we changed over to the new gas and electricity provider, we had yet another young man on our doorstep, who convinced us that the latest company we signed with had now been ‘overtaken’ by a foreign company and was now out of the hands of Australia. Our future bills would be at the mercy of Taiwan. We would soon be charged with even higher prices. He had also taken off his shoes and had also the look of being so earnest together with hints of an entrepreneurial aura.

‘What the heck,’ we thought and changed over to yet another utility provider with yet more pensioner discounts and cheaper rates per cubic metre of gas.

Then we received a bill including a penalty of having broken our signed contract with the previous provider. We are now years behind financially. Unbelievably, we have just had another knock on the door – yet another friendly young man with brown pleading eyes and a solid-looking laminated name tag around his neck, with yet another earnest story about joining a truly ‘Aussie’ provider.

This is why my previous night’s resolve to pay the gas bill has evaporated. I am now having a little cry with a biscuit and cuppa. The gas bill will have to wait till after I learn ‘letting go’.

Gerard Oosterman is a word painter and blogger of tens of thousands of very wise and/or whimsical but hopefully amusing words. View his full profile here.