It was great to see a book leave the house but shortly afterwards, the doorbell didn’t ring. It’s been disconnected for several weeks pending replacement that is suffering from Brexit. Our priorities are maintained, the bell may be delayed but our book supply is not.
It was a pounding on the door that alerted us to the postman who left a package at the door. He looked back down the drive as I opened the door. Getting into his van, he called to say ‘a few more books for you’.
It’s nice to have the interaction in these pestilential times.
He hadn’t long driven away when there was another thump. The postman who does the daily rounds on foot pushed another book through the letter box.
I wonder why we sometimes see two or three postmen on one day. It’s clearly inefficient. One comes by van and often takes a bicycle out to do the rounds though he walks our hilly bit. Two others come by vans to deliver parcels and packages from online retailers with whom An Post have delivery contracts. Sometimes DPD show up, as do FedEx and others. This is not a daily occurrence but the accumulated observations a of bored locked-down and locked-in citizen.
Once upon a time we used to do go to shops and malls and towns and cities. Today they come to us. Mostly in battery powered vans under a pretence of being green or whatever sustainable transport is called these days.
The sustainability is partly illusory. What’s sustainable is that which is replaceable. One person going to the village surely trumps five deliveries to the home but that also depends on scale and population density. Air transport for fruit and veg isn’t ever going to be sustainable. Ship transport never was and never will be sustainable but it’s more efficient than most engine powered systems. Power stations are huge consumers and the wired transmission and distribution network is lossy. Stand under a powerline and you’ll hear the loss of energy as crackling and see the heat induced cable drapes. Electron collisions in alternating current generate heat. As a rule of thumb, 2% of the power is lost to heat on long distance, high voltage transmission. As much as 6% may be lost in the urban distribution networks. And even more is lost inside the walls and floors of our homes. Sum that for about a 10% loss (or a PhD study to refute it). That’s the equivalent to 20% of the oil imported into Ireland since 50% of Ireland’s energy comes from oil (one of the highest in Europe).
But wait, here in Ireland we generate 30% of our power from wind turbines. So as long as the wind blows, all is good. Really?
Talking of books and digressing into sustainability, here’s a very grim read in the SEAI report on Ireland’s Energy security published in 2020.
So here we are on a day we gave away one book, five more arrived and I’m suggesting you read something else entirely. Go read.
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