mardi 28 mai 2013

So why do these eco-freaks want more nuclear power?

For some time now I have been spoiling for an eco-rant - something I haven't indulged in for quite a while.

This maybe because the first bunch of hideously expensive eco-lightbulbs that I was forced to buy haven't lasted anywhere near the seven years stated on the packet. The last of the batch is just about limping past the four-year mark.

But actually it's more because I am getting seriously pissed off with eco-freaks lecturing me on all the reasons that we shouldn't use alternative energy sources.

I'm increasingly convinced that the swelling armies of the half-baked must therefore want us not only to keep all our lovely safe existing nuclear power stations (especially in France where there are billions of them), but even to build some more.

This has particularly come to mind because our Mairie is backing a scheme to put solar panels on top of one of our hills. Those about to whinge, we salute you . . .

 Once upon a time, shortly before the dinosaurs were zapped by a previous bout of global warming (or was it cooling?), I was a student. Dutifully, I attended the freshers' fair where duly I was set upon by the zealots of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

We must abandon nuclear power, they said - it's dangerous. I agreed. I wore my CND badge with pride, for so long that it eventually went rusty.

We must adopt alternative energy, they said - wind, solar, waves. I agreed. For about 30 years, nothing happened. Of course, anything eco contrives to cost a bloody fortune.

Then one day, I saw a windmill. And I read about the Thames Barrier. Gosh, that's good, I thought, we're finally getting somewhere.

Then the whingeing started . . . This is the age of the Eco-Nimby.

Eco-Nimbies don't like windmills. Well, each to their own. I haven't any real objection to them myself, except when they're put too close to motorways in order to hypnotise you into crashing the car . . .

The thing that really pisses me off is that these are same bloody people who were so keen to bend my ear about nuclear.

The other thing that really pisses me off is all the bloody silly arguments they use, such as: It will frighten all the animals! 

I refer you to the above pic by Martin Castellan of a bunch of sheep being terrified by a windmill . . . er, or should that be a bunch of hot woolly things standing exactly within the shadow of a windmill in order to escape the full blazing heat of a summer's day in the South of France?

And now the solar panels - I've been told we mustn't manufacture them because they use up precious rare earth metals. Er, no. They use these metals, then when the panel is life-expired, you reclaim the rare earth metals and use them again. This is a process called recycling which is, believe it or not, quite well known in eco-circles.

Apparently it is also deeply sinful that Fa's photo-voltaic installation would be built by a private company, who might make a profit. Now I understand that allowing anything to be remotely profitable in France is really not playing le game. But given that the French state owns all those lovely safe nuclear power stations, do you really think they're going spend anything at all on alternative energy?

Doubtless there's also someone with a long list of reasons why we mustn't use wave power. Britannia probably . . .

Il pleut comme un vache qui pisse - mon flippin' Dieu

Something rotten in the state of Denmark? Well I dunno about Denmark but it's distinctly mouldy round here.

It hasn't stopped raining since last November. As I write this soggy epistle, il continue à bollerk it down.

Que je m'ennui . . .

Les vieux canards or old ducks of Fa tell me it's been the wettest winter for 50 years and it ain't over yet. A couple of days back in not very gay Paree, they recorded 3°C, the lowest temperature in May since 1868.

Personally I'm getting desperate enough to launch a conspiracy theory, and for me that is seriously desperate.

I notice this all started round about the time that the World Didn't End last year in Bugarach. As the great day of the Apocalypse-free Apocalypse drew near, it began to rain in earnest, consummately even, resulting in a less than impressive turnout by the not entirely dedicated Loons of Armageddon.

The weird thing is that . . . it hasn't stopped since. Do you think someone is trying to tell us that the world ought to have ended? Certainly it seems daily closer to dissolving.

You may be wondering why these reflections, in a puddle so to speak, are accompanied by a picture of the church clock in Fa. That's the next stage in my argument: Our clock has gone wonky.

Normally the bells of Fa dong out solidly and confidently on the hour, every hour. In accordance with local custom, they even do it twice. Quite a lot of church clocks do that round here, presumably in case you didn't hear them the first time.

The clock at Fa does a highly impressive 24-dong double midnight, resulting in the standing instruction that insomniac visitors to Boulevard de La Pinouse shouldn't try bothering to get sleep until five past twelve.

My guests often wonder how I stand the bells but after 11 years I'm used to them and it's bloody chaos when they don't work. I find it particularly luxurious in the early morning to listen out for the dongs, and to know it's still an hour before I have to get up. No bells and you haven't a clue where you are, it's just not comfy any more.

I first suspected something was wrong one Sunday morning when I heard dong, dong . . . pause . . . dong . . . pause . . . dong, dong  . . . silent collapse. I realised that it couldn't possibly be 5-ish AM, as the sun was unexpectedly percolating through the shutters. It does very, very occasionally still do this.

This was quickly confirmed by the klaxonated whinge which heralds the bread van each morning at 8am. That's on the early side for a Sunday, and explains why I have long eschewed hangovers. I'm not particularly saintly but with that racket going on, you haven't a chance of sleeping it off.

Incidentally, for many years the klaxon had a distinctly Motown ambiance, being exactly on the opening chord of Mary Wells's My Guy. Presumably it eventually clapped out because these days it's just an amorphous noise.

So there you have it, Captain, the bells have buggered their dilithium crystals. Strictly-speaking, this ought to be due to a deep fault in the space-time continuum but may be merely because the mechanism has rotted solid under the pressure of constant immersion . . . which is a tad too prosaic for any self-respecting conspiracy theorist.

Suddenly we had two days of sun. I promptly caught a vile cold. Curiously I haven't had one all winter, presumably because all our local bacteria either died of exposure or were too frozen solid to replicate.

Then today it rained again. I finally gave in and lit a fire. Près qu'à la fin de bloody mai? This planet is going to les chiens . . .