Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Golden Cloud is glistening on the horizon

The Golden Cloud 15/12/11

As one life begins to end, the Golden Cloud is glistening on the horizon.

I write this entry sat on the train on my way to the family home for christmas. When I return to Uni in January, The Golden Cloud will be home! I left the hotel first thing this morning and on the way out, the boss gave me a bottle of wine and some lovely biscuits. I can't help but think these "luxury" items may be the last, and will be savoured with that in mind.

In the bag with the wine also came my tip slip. I thought of no better way to use this money  than to head to a favourite old haunt of the local cafe, and have a big breakfast.The result was leaving town with a big smile and a belly stuffed with too much food. I wonder if those feelings will happen in 2012?

On the train we tootled past the boat yard, and i'm filled with a sense of what's to come. There was a pristene beauty to the valley as we sped past. The wintery haze hid the larder of natural foods that will soon be at my disposal. What I saw through the train window, only made my excitement and thought processes run wild. I wondered the best ways to catch and cook canada geese, if there was a hidden delicacy in the reeds, indeed were the reeds themselves a scrumptious treat?

As people came and went, bought things off the trolley, and played football manager on their I-Pads, I couldn't help feel that somewhere our modern society had lost it's way.

The £5 per litre fruit juice (with numerous preservatives and chemicals added) from kenya on the trolley. The thousands of pounds of laptops and I-things that our society makes us crave. Our obsesion even through a tough economic climate (the worst times since the 1980's according to a certian D. Cameron) with this tat, and crap, that honestly doesn't improve us or our lives.

I looked out the window and saw a world of under-utilised natural plenty. These people on the train speed past unaware, as they are engrosed in the latest episode of "strictly come dancing" on I-player. A few months down the line they may visit these beautiful places on Google Earth, on holiday, or on a team building exercise. unaware that they can admire it's beauty from the train journey too!

Last Night I had my final meal as a Uni Seminar Coordinator. The meal's purpose; to amuse and chat up a lecturer of another uni, sucking up basically. I had spent in excess of a combined week's food and energy budget for this task. While everything I ate could be caught, forraged or grown in the local area, and cooked with relatively little skill. Don't even get me started about how the majority of the dish was 5 months out of season.

I realised sat there, and sat on the train this morning, that we've become so disconnected with the natural rhythms of the world, with the true value of things. As a society we say we can't afford or its too hard to live sustainably. Yet we will easily waste the equivilant money of a high spec solar panel or wind turbine, for our annual upgrade of laptop, mobile, i pad or the next new piece of kit. This would be understandable if we needed the upgrade to do what we NEED to do on the computers. But all we NEED to do on a laptop is type, and research on the internet, neither needing high spec, or regular upgrades. What does need the regular upgrades is for the new version of Football Manager, Call of Duty, or FIFA. We buy these things and they stop us from doing things outside, they cost us money, they take up our time. Because of this we then have to spend further money on a Gym Membership, an excersise bike, a week's holiday to somewhere hot (and a massive distance worth of aviation fuel and pollution). 

If we just thought long term, not for our next techno fix, we'd save enough money in a short period of time to buy solar panels, wind turbines, land, woodland, shelter, and all the things one would need to live a life where it doesn't cost money to live, and it does't damage the planet. If we lived more sustainably we wouldn't need the gym membership as lifting the logs into the fire would build our biceps. We wouldn't need the holiday in Tenerife, as even Aberystwyth has an average of 4 hours of sunlight every day (1455 hours a year). The thing that grinds the most is that IPad (which I admit I'm also jealous that I don't have one!) may have cost around £1000 now, the second it's brought its value will halve by the end of the year its outdated and chances are will just be hoarded in a cupboard. If i spent £1000 on renewable energy equipment, (say £300 turbine, £300 panels, £150 battery, £150 transformers and controllers) based on output rating (normally the output is below this admittidly) I'd make 15p worth of electric an hour (on the price N.Power was charging me) Thats £3.6 a day, of £25 a week, of £1310 a year. In one year with these rough figures I could afford an upgrade on my solar panel and a new IPad!

Enough ranting, my train's just passed some snow topped peaks, and that reminds me to say, Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year!


  1. shall be very glad to give you secret nettle soup recipe - must be something in the air, Adam has been drinking nettle beer this week!

  2. jo mate ,.,.... hard to take the 'consumerist nightmare' rant seriously when you are using a laptop to blog ......

  3. The rant was whether it was using money for something thats needed.... or not. My £250 laptop that I use 90% of the time for uni work, <5% for the blog, 5% for other use.
    Thats using money wisely in my eyes...

    £1000 for an Ipad for Ipads sake to only play football manager.... that seems abit of a waste of kit, and money