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May 2008 - Blowing in the Wind

'Er indoors and I have had occasion, in the last week or so, to be doing quite a lot of driving around that pointed bit, down at the bottom left hand corner of our fair and glorious land.

The main purpose of heading west, rather like the young man, was to accept Mr S of Cornwall's kind invitation to visit his little rainforest, together with the various other portions of his project.

However, having earned our official "non-emmet" status, many, many moons ago, we decided to stay down there for a few extra days, just pretending to be emmets and taking in a few of the other attractions of the county.

That, dear viewer, is the reason for the driving about; and the driving about, dear viewer, is the reasoning behind the subject for my jestful jottings this particular month.

And, as an aside, yes madam, an aside this early on, well, a prelude really, rather than an aside; isn't jestful a wonderful word.  I was chatting to a friend of mine, the other day, who'd had it used in an incoming missive to him, but didn't particularly like it as a word.  I said at the time that I thought it was a rather nice sort of word and I thought it could fit beautifully into an edition of Nick Harvey's Comment.

It's odd, is it not, that you can easily be in the minority when it comes to particular subjects, but if you really want to turn your minority into a majority you just have to keep plugging away to eventually get your message home.

Which returns us, rather nicely, to Mr S and his project.  If he hadn't kept plugging away with his ideas, then there'd still be a damn great hole in the ground just to the left of St Blazey, instead of what some now describe as the ninth wonder of the world.

And, as it happens, Mr S's ideas on sustainability happen to be extremely similar to many of my own.  Particularly when it comes to wind farms.  You see, I'm one of the few in that minority which loves to see a clutch of wind turbines on the top of a hill.

Quite why the nimby brigade are so vociferous about opposing each and every wind farm, I really don't understand.  I'd love to have one on the hill outside my back window at home.  I could sit and watch them for hours and hours on end.  Indeed, I've been guilty in the past of parking up in a lay-by and doing just that.

I realise this is where I really am in the minority, but I just think they're beautiful things.  And, what better place than Cornwall to drive around and check quite a few of them out?

And, as to the subject of the so-called noise which they generate, what of it?  I've yet to hear any significant noise from a wind farm, but I'm confident that if I did, my brain would quickly tune it out, just as happens with numerous other things.

I've just spent a few nights sleeping next to the church clock.  No, not in the tower, you understand, but with my bedroom window pointing straight at it, and a very few feet away from it.

I heard it strike the first time after I put my head on the pillow on the first night, but that was all; my brain then tuned out the sound and just ignored it.  That's exactly how it would happen if there was any noise from a wind farm.

So, having jotted thus far, not all that jestfully, I suppose I ought to welcome you to the May edition of the load of old cobblers which is Nick Harvey's Comment.

Given the title above and the ramblings up to this point, I see little reason in explaining the subject for in-depth analysis under the jolly old Acme microscope this month.  The intelligent amongst you will have already gleaned that from the text.

Now, having done quite a bit of driving about down there in the last week, quite a number of wind farms have now had the Nick Harvey inspection.  I, therefore, need to draw your attention to one particular peculiarity found in a full one hundred percent of the sites inspected.

I shall couch the peculiarity in the form of a question; answers on the back of the usual ten pound note to the usual address.

Why is it that on every wind farm inspected, all but one of the turbines were facing the wind and revolving happily, but there was always one turbine facing in completely the wrong direction and totally at rest?

No sign could be discerned of a maintenance man, oh, sorry madam, maintenance person, working on the motionless turbines, or anywhere else on any of the sites for that matter.

So do they always install a spare only to be used in an emergency or something?  As I said, it was the same at every single site, so I think we ought to be told!

Now then, rather like Mr S originally doodled his idea for a sustainability project on a scrap of paper, I've been doodling my own sustainability idea for the transport of the world, on this bit of paper I have in front of me.

Here's the plan, folks.  We install a wind turbine on the top of every motor car.  The power from the wind turbine will drive the engine, then as the car moves along, the turbine blades will be blown round and round, producing more and more power to go faster and faster.

Don't you think that's a fantastic idea?  Okay, yes, I too can see just a couple of very minor technical problems, but we mustn't let them get in the way of us pressing forward with this exciting idea, must we?

I agree that all the cars would need to be manufactured on the top of a hill, initially.  That way they can easily be given that initial push down the hill to get them started in the first place.

There might be one or two other little teething problems which would need to be ironed out during the prototype stages, but I'm certain there's nothing major enough to stop this idea going ahead.

It would end our reliance on petrol and diesel at a stroke.  No more would we care if a dispute diverted all the hot air into pointless speeches, when it ought to have been making the steam to pump the oil ashore from the North Sea.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject of petrol and diesel, there's something else I noticed whilst we were wandering in the west.  In keeping with everything else doing the rounds at the moment, I note that we now have retro-fuel as well.

How many of you out there remember 1967, the year that the Texaco brand name came to garage forecourts across the country?  Up to that point, the brand name at all those stations had been Regent.

Dear viewers, I can reliably inform you that Regent is back.  We saw three stations under that name during our travels, something which rather surprised me.  An amazing amount of research, well, a couple of minutes chatting with Mr G Oogle, tells Nick Harvey that the name re-appeared in 2004.  Well, fancy that!

There you go, you see, it's facts at your fingertips all the way when you read Nick Harvey's Comment.  Really good value for money, don't you think?

And, after a brief proof read of the story so far, I note that not only is Comment damn good value for money, but absolutely masterful at throwing out the grammatical rule book with the bathwater.  Had you realised, as you read, that, thus far, four paragraphs and one sentence have begun with that most banned of words, "And"?

And who cares?

Shall I return to the rule book for the next exciting edition?  The answer to that, and many other questions, may, or may not, be answered when it appears, promptly on June the first, so I trust you'll join me then.

In the meantime, I need to go outside and try to attach this electric fan to the roof of the rapid racer.  I'll hope to get it all working for you by next month and report back.  Right, I'm off, where's me superglue?

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