Home is Where Hive is

5.45am
The day starts as usual, the alarm goes off too late, the Twins decide to eat cornflakes only if soaked in orange juice and Annie desperately tries to find one piece of clothing that does not have a banana smeared on it. The house feels freezing, the temperatures must have dropped overnight and Annie turns up the heating before she has to rescue Twin A from the recycling box.
6.45am
Twin A is trapped strapped in the car seat, Twin B is chasing the cat. The cat jumps up onto the roof of the car, Twin B throws himself on the ground and Annie swiftly shoves him into the car. Now that both twins are wailing and the cat has walked away, tail up high, with smug expression on its face, Annie wishes for a moment she could swap lives with the family feline and she starts the engine. ‘Mummy, I hate you.’
9.01am
With the Twins delivered to nursery, banana wiped off her skirt and the traffic moving an inch per hour, Annie turns down the heating in the car and slaps her forehead. Not again! She forgot to switch the heating off at home. Again! Now the cat will enjoy a day in the tropics. Annie imagines a polar bear pointing at a crumbling iceberg and growling to its cubs, ‘It’s all her fault.’, then she thinks about her energy bills for the last quarter and starts wailing herself.
9.33am
Red in the face and only slightly out of breath Annie settles behind her desk. The to-do-list for today is 10 miles long and she still feels bad about forgetting the heating. The homeless polar bears. And not brushing the Twins’ teeth. Nor her own for that matter.
10am
Eureka! Annie checks her phone and remembers that yesterday a friendly engineer installed the Hive. It took about an hour to set everything up and now she can control her heating and hot water from her phone. It still takes some getting used to and remembering so she quickly adjusts the temperature on the phone and starts ticking off her tasks for the day.
9pm
With the Twins in bed and the other half ordering pizzas, Annie relaxes in a bubble bath. It feels amazing to come to a cosy home and have the hot water ready for the Twins’ daily soak. No more stomping around the arctic rooms and waiting forever for the rooms to warm up. No more rocketing bills. All thanks to Hive.
The End
P.S. Now she only needs an efficient control system for her memory… but that is a completely different story.

The useful stuff:

  • total cost of Hive Active Heating™ is £199
  • you get a state of the art wireless thermostat, receiver and hub
  • you can enjoy a free app and online dashboard to remotely control your heating and hot water via phone, tablet and laptop
  • all installed by a British Gas engineer (installation is worth £80)
  • no need to switch the energy supplier as it works work with your existing heating system = no hassle
  • no more heating an empty house could save you up to £150 a year on energy bills
  • it comes with a nifty Frost Protection feature that automatically activates when the temperature dips below 5°C so it helps protect your pipes from freezing
  • it is good for the environment, polar bears,  your energy bills and bees
    bee

A wee note… I received payment for writing about Hive, however, I think that it is a great invention. 

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Waspy Wednesday

When I was little I used to run to our local park on rainy days and save earthworms from their inevitable (and possibly very unpleasant) death.  I was determined to help as many as I could.

The wriggly pink earthworms were not cute and although fairly useful they were never at the heart of any Save the World and Its Species campaigns.

Recently I got reminded of all that when a friend mentioned a new Polish campaign aimed at saving wasps.  Yepp, apparently they are on a slippery path to extinction. 

I am not a fan of wasps and frankly a bit allergic to ‘wasp venom’  but…. once upon a time, when I was wee, my friend and I adopted a wasp.

 We volunteered in our primary school shop (in those times children were meant to be useful members of the society), mainly because we could roam outside …I mean shop for stock…during school hours.

One autumn afternoon we found a wasp on a windowsill in our shop.  It was barely alive so we scraped icing off a batch of doughnuts and fed it every day for a couple of months.

Maybe it was the sugar.  Maybe it was a superwasp but our adopted insect was docile and immortal.

When spring arrived  we opened the window and it was gone.  It was our first lesson in parenting and the art of letting go.  

The moral of this story?  None really apart from this random thought…

Cute bears are not the only species in need of saving.   What about the ugly, the hairless, the slimy, the bad, the toothless, the parasitic sort…?  They all must have a purpose in the ecosystem…I guess…although I still need to find out the exact purpose of wasps.

And I hope that Peanut and his children, grandchildren and grandgrandchildren can experience all wonders of nature.

So here is my homage to the tame wasp of my childhood.

It’s a Waspish World

Would the world be different without wasps?  Imagine

waking up one day and they are gone.

Would bees celebrate?  Would it make any difference?

Would you enjoy a picnic in the park just a little bit more?

No yellow and black stripes to watch out for and no more

venomous crimes in loud headlines:

Vicious Stabbing by Frantic Wasp.  Victim’s Tongue Ballooned andGot Squashed!

Wasps are not cute. Or useful.  We can’t milk them.

But if you bother to look closer – they have brittle wings.

There they are –  with all their waspiness

So would it matter if all wasps were gone?

Would you still get up, go to work and savour your Friday curry?  And imagine, one sunny day,

a scone and a pot of jam and familiar buzzing sound

and a thought that stings you in the neck:

Was it a wasp? Having seen any for a while.

Then your life would fly by as usual.

And so would the rest of us.

Teargas and Tulips

teargas

On 1 June it is Children’s Day in Poland so let’s raise glasses filled with lemonade to our children because childhood doesn’t last long enough.

A few days ago I got angry. Very angry. At life. And the universe. And everything.

There I was sipping my favourite Apple & Dill tea (tastes much better than it sounds), eyeing the last chocolate brownie on the plate in front of me and catching up on one of Radio 4 programmes, From Our Own Correspondent. This is one of my favourite pastimes apart from reading, blogging, doing yoga and drinking cocktails like no one is watching (order depending on the day).  And on the more serious note, whenever I get a chance and have two minutes to myself, I like to listen to stories about quirks and oddities in other cultures.  In that particular episode of FOOC, called The Lap of Luxury and broadcast on 23 February 2013, there was a reportage from Syria in which a BBC journalist visited an old Roman burial chamber and found seven boys hiding in the dark.  Some of them were brothers; some had lost their parents in fights and bombings.  Seven pairs of eyes in the cold tombstone. “We are all afraid.”

(more…)

Message In My Botle

ecover

I don’t often get involved in campaigns.  Somehow I don’t feel I can shout loud enough.

But I believe in winning my own battles against this world’s Goliaths.  Like boycotting Nestle and Danone.

Ditching plastic bags for their reusable cousins.  Ditching my Vogues for The Big Issue.  Re-homing books I will not read and clothes I will not wear again.

I care about what happens next to this planet and its people (and all creatures great and small) and this is why I am joining Ecover (a staple in our cleaning cupboard – no toxic nasties with a young baby in the house) in their  ‘Message in our Bottle’ campaign.

So here is My Message in my Bottle:

Let’s keep the roses red

And the violets blue

(And the turtles happy)

I recycle my plastic

And so can you!

Disclaimer: I have been offered a big bottle of washing up liquid from Ecover in exchange for spreading the word.  It will come in handy and thank you but I would support the cause anyway.  If you do too,  share your messages.

Time to act. Time for a change.

dorkymum

Save the Children Global Vigil for Syria

Last June, horrified by what they were reading in the news, bloggers across the UK came together to highlight the atrocities taking place in Syria. Last September, we united again; shocked that nothing had changed, appalled by the torture and terror being suffered by Syrian women and children.

Today, sadly, we have to do it once more.

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