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Friday, 21 October 2011

I've Got the Power


Jesus, what an exciting life I lead. I don't know how I keep up with myself. I am such a creature of the night, the bright lights and the high life.

Take yesterday evening for example. Dressed in my sartorial  vest best I hopped on the subway to glitter land. Arriving at Green Park, a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace, I sauntered past the Ritz hotel, acknowledging the greetings from the concierge and the various potentates who pressed their noses against the glass to glimpse me.

Refusing a bowl of caviar and a tankard of vodka at the Caviar House and Prunier,  I turned into St James's, making a mental note to send Roman A a bunch of roses as a" thank you" for the box at Chelsea's last home game. I glided past Justerinis & Brooks, brushing aside the proffered glass of Haut Brion '86, Hew had poured especially. "On the wagon, old man. Doctor's orders don't ya know: toodle pip!"

I arrive at the London clubhouse of the Royal Over-Seas League and head for the reception room. There to be greeted by fawning waiters offering glasses of Chablis and Burgundian Red. I decline and instead grab a glass of instant sunshine.

The room is already filling with the good and the great, drawn from the four corners of the Home Counties and even further afield. A gathering of Manchester University's alumni. We are there to hear about the "Global Energy Crisis: Addressing the Major Energy Challenges of the 21st Century." A worthy and weighty subject for such a distinguished guest list.

I, unfortunately, am not an alumnus of that great institution of learning. More than 40 years ago I limped out of the portals of King's College, London with a less than commendable degree in Maths and Physics. However, my friend has been a signed up univ buddy of Manchester since he graduated in 1969 and had invited me along.

After drinks we were ushered into the lecture room for a discussion by a panel of experts on the future of Nuclear, Renewables and Fossil Fuels. Still with me?

The chair of the panel of eminent scientists, he himself being extremely eminent and frightfully scientific, rapidly gauged his audience. Within seconds of the start of his introduction up flashed a photo of Manchester's finest, Ernest Rutherford who was Prof of physics in the early 1900's. A quiver of pleasure ran across many a face in the audience as each recalled being taught by the great man.

We learnt so much last night. Especially how we, as wealthy and, for the majority, aging graduates could help the Faculty through the current cash strapped times. No doubt many were mentally redrafting their wills to set up a new professorial chair or two in their memory.  I was!

Nuclear is scary. It's scary because of Government's failure to decide what it wants we now have neither enough nuclear, enough renewables, enough gas and not enough skilled engineers to implement a rational policy should, heaven forbid, the government happens upon one.

It was scary to learn that our existing nuclear plants were crumbling before our very eyes. So they have to be decommissioned at a seriously scary cost. It was  scary to learn that we should have been beginning to build replacement nuclear plants 15 years ago.

The next very scary topic was the state of alternative energy sources. Again, the main bogey man was Government's inability to decide what to build. It was especially scary to learn that even if we had the necessary mix of power generation, which satisfied our carbon reduction plans, the National Grid wouldn't cope. Hence the £200 billion bill we keep hearing about: and we think our energy bills are high now. Just wait!

Finally, a man from Shell scared the shit out of us. We'll need all the natural gas we can find if we have any hope of meeting the world's energy demands over the  next 40 years. Great, and we have enough problem getting enough to keep ourselves going domestically.

We shuffled out of the room, wiser but chastened. To be greeted by mini fish and chips, smoked salmon, lovely pies and much wine. We alumni can really knock it back: especially when it's free and the weather's turning cold outside.

And that was only yesterday's adventure. I haven't yet told you what I did today!

5 comments:

Tenon_Saw said...

I have played with my NVIDIA settings but the title of your blog is invisible over your new dark background.

The government is full of half wits. They will make the wrong decisions too late and then nuclear plants will be built too fast and cause environmental disasters in the future.

Steve said...

Was there a bald man stroking a white cat at the head of the table?

Marginalia said...

Dear TS, I didn't even notice that, thanks.

Marginalia said...

Dear Steve, didn't notice the colour of the pussy, or whose it was.

Tenon_Saw said...

Glad to see toodle-pip is now spelt correctly.