Tuesday, 24 August 2010

And I thought changing a light bulb was simple. Wrong.


It sounded so simple. Our main kitchen light decided it didn’t like me any more when I came down this morning – no, I wasn’t up THAT early but we had dark cloud and heavy rain.

Of course, we didn’t have a spare. The empty box sat on the ‘landing strip’, AKA the top of the shoe rack in the hall where we couldn’t possibly miss it. It had been there for some time, muttered over when dusting, forgotten when going to the hardware store.

So, this afternoon, Alan set off for the hardware store and wandered round, empty box in hand, looking for a replacement. I should point out at this point that light bulbs in the UK have an option of two fittings – as above, screw thread or, as below, bayonet fitting.

BCincandescentlampSorry for the quality.  Not my photo but posted under a  GNU Free Documentation License, Our bulb was a screw thread, one of at least two sizes that I know of!

We had forgotten that a new EU (European Union) directive has come into force that incandescent light bulbs can no longer be sold.  They use ‘up to’ five times as much energy as the low energy bulbs.

1. save electricity – thereby saving fossil fuels. According to experts they will save 60% of the energy used by light bulbs in the EU.

2. A low energy bulb lasts ‘up to’ 10 years.

1. Low energy bulbs cost something like 6 times as much as the incandescent ones.  This is a cost no one can avoid.

2. The low energy bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and under new regulations for hazardous waste, councils are obliged to recycle low energy bulbs at a cost to the tax payer, over and above the cost of the bulbs.

3. The EU has now admitted that the claims for equivalent brightness have been overstated –  On a website intended to answer consumers' questions about the switch to energy saving bulbs, the European Commission states: "Currently, exaggerated claims are often made on the packaging about the light output of compact fluorescent lamps. For example, a 11-12 Watt compact fluorescent lamp would be the equivalent of a 60 Watt incandescent, which is not true. The light output of 15W compact fluorescent lamp is slightly more than the light output from a 60W incandescent."

We already have low energy light bulbs in most lamps in the house – we do TRY to be green – they vary in brightness and time taken to warm up.


1. I like being as green as possible. I do believe we have a very short time frame for stopping climate change.

2. I object to the cost of low energy bulbs.

3. Perhaps this bulb – if it really lasts 10 years – will ‘see us out’.  I’ve tended to see light bulbs as consumables and have never thought about their life spans.

4. Mercury is a nasty element in any quantity.

5. I hate and distrust any claim which is ‘up to …’.

Tall Ships – Hartlepool 2010

DSCF3578-1We’ve seen the Tall Ships leave harbour twice before, from South Shields and from Liverpool, but it’s always such a grand sight that we timed our trip to North Yorkshire to see them again.

Each year, the ships visit four European ports and race the first and third legs of the journey and sail in company for the middle leg. Hartlepool was the last port the 67 ships visited this year.

DSCF3438-1In the ‘Historic Quay’ – worth a visit in it’s own right – the ships were moored along the side. The picture above, taken from the landward side, shows just how tall they are.

DSCF3428-1There was lots going on with many people in costumes but the real attraction was the ships themselves, thronged with young sailors, 50% of whom were 15 – 25. Some of larger ships had crews of 200.


The first event was held in 1956 as a farewell to the sailing vessels which were obsolete. 20 ships raced from Torbay in Devon to Lisbon in Portugal.

Alan has written about the developments after public interest was stirred by the event here.

Alan went alone as those sorts of events are not suitable for small elderly dogs and I spent the day relaxing on site in sunshine (coffee and a book = heaven) while Alan got wet several times and took over 250 lovely photos for me to enjoy when he got back.

I’ve posted more photos at Picasa – but not 250!


DSCF3575 - smaller Perhaps, when the oil runs out, we will see more of these elegant vessels being commissioned and be glad that the skills to sail them have survived.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Travelling north again – The North York Moors


We’re off again, this time staying on a site near Stokesley in North Yorkshire – though I don’t think I should say the name of the county too loudly as this is one of the many areas in England which was slotted into a ‘new’ county during a reorganisation in 1974.  That was Cleveland (pronounced kleevland). Cleveland was an ancient name for the area but, in true bureaucratic style, the new county didn’t cover the old area exactly.

In 1996, the county was abolished and Stokesley is now in North Yorkshire. In common with other areas, some of the people who live there feel a little annoyed about having their identities changed by politicians!  Some people would still like to call North Yorkshire ‘North Riding’, which was the old name for the county.

We’re right on the edge of the hills and have a lovely view from the caravan.  Today, we went up the Bilsdale valley and visited two lovely sites.

DSCF3222Claybank had a viewing platform, complete with little plaques which were memorials to people who had loved the place and several indicated that their ashes had been scattered there.  Far from seeming morbid, I thought it was a lovely idea.

P1020454-1  The couple in the car next to ours had scattered seeds on a wall on the edge of the car park and several chaffinches were happily enjoying the gift.

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