Posts Tagged ‘Souther-Highlands’

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.

Two-Up and Two-Down

April 26, 2012

With the weather bleak, stormy and struggling to climb above 10c, Anzac Day was appropriately somber and into remembrance at our Southern Highlands. The clouds overhead were racing towards a letting go of dread and relieving rain.

We had watched some TV and after the bugling stopped we felt a drink was not totally out of order. We can remember dread of war even better when surrounded by a roaring log fire and a lovely lunch at the local pub.

On days like that, my own memories go back to 1940 Rotterdam and my birth just after that city was bombed. Not that I can remember much of my birth! What I do remember were the dodgy German rockets the V1’s and V2’ being inaccurate, often coming down near us and well before their destination which was the UK, especially London. This was during the latter years of the war.

The more cheerful memories are of those Lancaster bombers dropping food over Rotterdam and I can still see my dad maniacally running towards those dropped bags of nutritious biscuits, risking getting killed by the dozens of overhead planes dropping the food without parachutes. Food was urgently needed and some thousands of people, mainly children had perished of hunger in that desolate city during that last dreadful winter. My birth city.

After arrival at the pub which was chockers with people, young and old, we had trouble finding a table but kept an eye on a couple that had obviously finished as she was wrapping her shawl around her elongated neck. She had a lovely Modigliani look about her. I was looking forward into taking her still warm seat.

We ordered a simple Angus Beef hamburger with chips and after paying were given one of those buzzing disks that go off buzzing and moving about the laminated table when the food has been cooked. It wasn’t long after when it moved about and vibrated wildly.

Since the war and child hunger, my intake of food has always been a bit over the top. My wife often tells me to be less enthusiastic with my utensils noisily clicking around the plate. “It will not run away, Gerard” she reminds me. Also, “can you look away from your plate, sometimes?”

This time I made an effort to take it easy and even time my speed on the hamburger to be slower than that of my wife. I succeeded. This was partly due to two couples that were also eating near us. One couple, the woman with a plate of something fried and somewhat grilled looking, perhaps a large quiche with salad and he, an enormous ‘Mauger from Burrawang’ supplied T-bone with chips. They were a couple keen on each other. She had her arm admiringly around his shoulder as he was carving his way around this his T-Bone. She took delight in his appetite and he was reciprocating with every now and then speaking to her and smiling. They were obviously in love. You can tell, can’t you? It’s the way people are radiating towards each other.

The other couple were just as nice looking but no keenness or love. He was enormous, a bit like a T-Bone as well, bull necked but fiddling with his mobile phone nonstop, interrupted only by sticking his fork into his food next to his phone. She was pretty and kept looking at him. She appeared sad. I think she knew the situation together was doomed. He had no interest in conversation and would just mumble something when she tried to engage. We felt like kicking him. You fool; don’t you notice her at all? What was the point of having lunch together?

As we, left the Courtyard had gotten very lively; Two-up and Two down in full swing.