Our esteemed contributor Mr.Happy sends us this radical proposal …
While concerns continue to be expressed regarding global warming I have, dare I say, a possible solution.
In an attempt to return to the Golden Age of Yore, I am promoting a return to the good old-fashioned open fire. Fellow rheumy-eyed readers will be very familiar with this concept and the benefits that accompanied this much-maligned aspect of our history.
For example, the front of your body glowing red-hot while your back remained frozen by the draughts from ill-fitting doors, floors and windows. The supply of hot water from the back-boiler that enabled the weekly bath-time ritual, whether you needed it or not. The ever-present smoky atmosphere, added to by the toasting bread left too long exposed to the licking flames but nevertheless eaten with great relish having been spread with a meagre helping of 'scrape'. The fire/burnt-toast combination ensured true equality - we all had the same hacking cough.
We should also remember that popular fireside family game of 'dodge the sparks', as the cheap coal hissed and spat like some demented dragon. And we should not forget the all-important family-bonding exercise, 'whose turn is it to bring in the next bucket of coal to ensure that the toxicity of the air is maintained?' Such fun times, which I am sure many others can recall with equal enthusiasm.
Now the serious stuff. With massive increases in energy costs, no doubt the (any) Government will be only too willing to join me in the promotion of this worthy cause. Naturally, it will need to set up and fund incredibly expensive research initiatives to ensure everyone, including schoolchildren, appreciates the benefits of the New Fireside Policy.
There will, of course, be dissenters. Aren't there always? But the Government will, inevitably, stifle their disagreeable contribution. Doesn't it always?
Government grants will be made available, subject to means testing, to facilitate a return to the pre-central heating idyll that once existed. Many people won't notice much difference because they already can't afford to turn on their heating systems.
Ultimately, and no doubt with much regret, the Government of the day will be forced to implement massive tax increases to ensure that the new 'promised land' of warmth and comfort for all is controlled. This will be all done for our own good and that of our children, and their children etc., etc.
(Memo to self: energy suppliers are permitted to earn massive profits. Customers have to pay, or else. Government applies additional taxation on energy providers' profits. Said taxes enter government coffers. Does this equal stealth tax? Investigate)
Apologies, I digress. Pensioners in particular will benefit from the Fireside Policy. When, inevitably, they are unable to afford the 'proper' fuel for their open fire (not fires, too expensive), they can burn all that ugly old furniture that they were going to pass on to their children (who hate it anyway). Generally, a win-win situation for all concerned.
Of course, such a worthy cause will require a website. I thought maybe 'Friends of the Hearth' would be an appropriate name. What do you think?
The GOS says: I think when all the furniture is gone we could cut out the middle man and burn the pensioners themselves. This would free up housing stock for first-time buyers, reduce the nation's pension burden, relieve our hard-pressed NHS and leave a few seats free on the bus.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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