Christmas Lights

We are all trying to save money on our fuel bills in any way we can. I never leave any plugs switched on any more – nothing is left on standby and I try very hard to turn off lights when I leave the room etc.
There is one thing I have noticed though in this run up to Christmas, very few people are leaving festive lights running over night now. I don’t mean the lights on the indoor tree, I mean the lights and decorations that some people adorn their homes with. Some people just have a few lights and others have lots.
I have noticed very few on when I walk the dog at 5am. Six years ago, I’d look at the lit up houses with a certain amount of pleasure and amusement. There were loads of homes lit up, so many I would lose count. I first noticed the decrease about three years ago – the decorations were there – but switched off. Last year, I counted about twenty or so. This year it has gone down to just three homes in the area.
I miss looking at them – but I understand why they are not on.
And on that note – I think I’ll turn into Scrooge and turn the tree lights off now – only me in at this moment so as pretty as they are I can do without them on!
Happy Christmas.

The Fuel Poverty Death Rate

Nearly 8000 people die in the winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes. 65  a day. These are the World Health Organisation’s guidance and official excess winter death figures.

The previous governments estimate put the total of deaths relating to fuel poverty at just 2,700 a year.

So who is right? Either way, we can hardly call ourselves a developed country when some people are too poor to heat their homes.

Figures published have warned that there will by 9.1m households living in fuel poverty by 2016 – the year the government has pledged to end the problem. Let us see if they do something about it.

Personally, I won’t be holding my breath on it.

What are your views?


Have you received a food parcel?

When I first wondered if anyone I know had ever received a food parcel as a donation, I suddenly realised I had. Not just once either but twice!

The first one was about 18 years ago. I think I saw a sign say that anyone on Income Support (or whatever the benefit was called then) could go and get some free food products. I know I pushed the baby down to wherever it was, presented my benefit book and was given, cheese, eggs, butter, rice and some tinned stuff. I still remember the surprise I felt that I had been given cheese, eggs and butter. I don’t think you get these from food banks now.

My second food donation was a few days before Christmas 2009. I actually found a box on my doorstep. It contained breakfast cereal, pasta, tinned food, sugar and tea. On the underside of the box was a label with the name and address of a church about 3 miles away. I don’t go to church anymore. It was days before the penny finally dropped. I had been to see my doctor. I was very low. As I left, she said something that I thought quite odd. She said “I’ll pray for you at church”. When I saw her again after Christmas I thanked her for it. She said that her work as a Doctor enabled her to identify people who she felt might benefit from a gift. Her work in her church enabled her to put it into practice. I felt very humbled.

So have you received a parcel or hamper from a food bank or another source?