Monday, November 07, 2005

Global impacts in the middle of nowhere

The rioting and associated political debates in France do have an impact here. They crop up in conversation from time to time, but less often than you'd think. More often than not the weather (surprise surprise), local history, school and recipes crop up, (just thinking back over the last couple of days.

But don't let that persuade you that this little corner of the Massif Central is isolated from the world at large. Most people here have oil-fueled heating. And in the two years since we've been here, the price has risen from our first bill of 292 euro/m3 to today's order at 645 euro/m3. Renting this staging post limits our rights and enthusiasm to insulate better and we don't really have that many other heating options. But it certainly focuses the mind on having one or two other options. I'm a fan of renewables, which should come as no surprise, and they will certainly feature wherever we find ourselves. But the largest wind farm in France outside the window encourages thinking as widely as possible.

There are a number of disused watermills around here, the area seems to have been peppered with them at varous times. Unfortunately many are complete ruins, but one or two are relativeley intact and could be put to use generating electricity. This could also help restore and preserve the architectural heritage of the area. I wonder what the engineering case is? I must ask the oldest hippy what he thinks, he used to be an engineer. That will be a different topic of conversation...

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