Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life

Article excerpt

The loud clanging of metal poles woke me rudely from my sleep.

I opened my eyes suspiciously, accustomed as I am to disasters creeping up on me when I least expect them.

I lay for a few moments contemplating the sounds and what they could mean. Builders shouting, vans pulling up and driving away, heavy objects being flung around my front garden. This was definitely not something that would go away if I buried myself deep - er in the duvet and tried to get back into my dream about ponies.

I struggled into my dressing gown and, with a due sense of exhaustion and dread, opened my front door.

I was greeted by such an immediate and almost impenetrable wall of scaffolding that I could barely get out.

Metal poles criss-crossed all over the place, the front of my house had entirely disappeared. Builders in blue boiler suits swarmed all over my garden.

It was like the scene in ET when the family realise that Nasa has attached entry tubes to their house so it can get the alien out with - out contaminating the atmosphere.

'Excuse me!'

I shouted at one of the men in boiler suits. He barely looked up from hammering another pole in place.

'Excuse me! Can you tell me what you are doing?'

'Putting up scaffolding.'

'Yes, I can see that. But why?'

'For the solar panels.'

I admit, I have had a lot on lately, and I am sometimes absent-minded, even, dare I say, scatty, but I had no memory at all of having decided to put solar panels on my roof.

n fact, I would go so far as to say that if I ever suffer a serious blow to the head the doctors in A& E trying to establish whether I am quite myself could do worse than ask me, 'Would you like some solar panels on your roof?'

I f I answer yes, they will know that my brain has been squished.

I would like to make clear at this point that I am not a climate-change denier.

I con - cede that there is overwhelming evidence that we're heating up like frogs in the middle of a pan of water coming to the boil. However, I tend to the view that we should all go quietly to sleep like the frogs and stop fussing.

The earth will sort itself out after we're boiled so there really is no long-term imperative to worry. Something will come after us. …

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