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Donkin's World: Porridge By Candlelight

...But last night it snowed a lot and this morning we had a power cut. Cooking porridge on the gas by the light of a candle at 6.30 am, unable to get the car out of the drive, there was little else to do but ponder on the things we take for granted...

Britain's harsh winter leads Richard Donkin to contemplate the future.

I have just started work on a new book - a novel this time - about life in the future. One of the problems with such a project is putting yourself in to an alien situation, imagining what life might be like, for example, with dwindling natural resources.

But last night it snowed a lot and this morning we had a power cut. Cooking porridge on the gas by the light of a candle at 6.30 am, unable to get the car out of the drive, there was little else to do but ponder on the things we take for granted.

Gill pulled on her boots, grabbed her Leki sticks, and marched the four miles to her 7 am pharmacy locum at Sainsbury's. She deserved a medal. At least her commitment was appreciated as a few doctors had emergency scripts.

I was pondering on what might be considered essential services. It helps to think back to the jobs considered essential in wartime. Apart from munitions, the Government had to concentrate on food supplies, shipping, fuel and utilities. I remember the disruption we experienced in the 1970s - rubbish building up on street corners and power cuts because of strike action. Then the drought of 1976 led to water bowsers and standpipes in some areas.

It was inconvenient but it wasn't the end of the world. A neighbour was worrying because he had only enough milk for one more day. But we can live without milk. We can live without a lot of things if we must. It's good to have an alternative from electricity as it means we can light a gas fire and cook food. In future we shall need more alternatives.

There will come a time, maybe 50 years in to the future when the rationing of fossil fuels will become a reality, either that or they will have been priced out of the market for most people. When that happens we shall lean increasingly on alternative sources. Hopefully, by that time, there will be more efficient batteries that will store energy from the sun, the wind and that we can supply ourselves from muscle movement.

One possibility is that, if we still find fossil fuels helpful, we shall have worked out ways to eek out what we use so that a litre of diesel or petrol goes a lot further than it does today. I am sure that sail-power will be revived in commercial shipping, benefitting from advances pioneered by people such as these.

Who knows? By that time we may have developed some entirely new form of power unit in the same way that the internal combustion engine replaced steam. But it will need to rely on renewable sources. The days of extracting our fuel from the ground are coming to an end.

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Please visit Richard's entertaining Web site
http://richarddonkin.com/

To purchase a copies of Richard's celebrated books please clicl pn
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2
and
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Future-Work-Richard-Donkin/dp/0230576389/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260983216&sr=1-1

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