Is E.ON Gouging Me?

Yesterday I received a revised direct debit letter from my electricity and gas company, who are called ‘E.ON’.  They increased my monthly payments by just over 400% from £32 per month to £138 per month.  My current direct debit is actually covering my current usage of electricity and gas quite nicely; the last quarter I used about £90 of gas and electricity (3x £32 direct debits payments =£96).

Britain is often referred to as ‘Treasure Island’ because companies can come over here and nicely screw its inhabitants out of their treasure.  E.ON is a German company.  I can ill afford paying £138 per month. My phone call to E.ON yesterday resulted in me hanging on the phone for 1 hour and a half.  The only remedy the man at the end of the phone could offer was for me to raise a complaint, which I duly did.

I did explain to E.ON that my usage throughout the year is fairly consistent because I have a wood burning Rayburn.  A Rayburn is a range-stove with an oven and it heats our small house a treat.  Please see the respective graphs of gas (left picture) and electricity (right picture).  Please notice our gas and electricity usage does not increase in winter.

I am however suspicious that wrong-doing might be occurring here.  Over-charging could be a nice way of getting a free line of credit from its customers.  Customers’ money could then be lent out to the money markets in the City of London and thus making some interest on it.

The Government has encouraged its citizens to switch energy providers.  I switch each year. I can’t understand why the energy companies can’t transfer over historic meter readings with the customer.  This way projected meter readings could be more accurate.  But this should not stop customers giving historic meter readings to their current energy supplier that they have recorded themselves.

However, I shall furnish E.ON with historic meter readings to prove my case and if they don’t back down I we will seek to press charges for Fraud by Abuse of Position (section 4 and Section5 of the Fraud Act 2006) either with the Thames Valley Police or Oxfordshire Trading Standards.  I have no other option.


Self-Righteous Beeks

Hunger Swarm BBJ 2 - 8 August 1907

This weekend has reaffirmed profiles I have created about certain types of people. Today in my people profiling study, I turn my attention to the self-righteous and more specifically, self-righteous beeks (beekeepers).

There are people who have unfulfilled ‘needs’ and these unmet ‘needs’ manifest in self-righteous attacks.  My theory is that the self-righteousness attack is a way to dominate another, and by doing so (usually in front of others) they project their (lack of) status.  I also theorise that the brain gives the body a dopamine hit in return for successfully undertaking a self-righteousness attack.

However, the success of a self-righteous attack does heavily rely on the would-be victim being subservient to the act.  It also relies on the perpetrator having more expertise than the victim in the area of knowledge from which (s)he is launching the self-righteous attack from.  If these two attributes are deficient to the perpetrator, (s)he can look like a complete fanny/dick-head.

This weekend I had two ‘self-righteous’ attacks attempted upon my person by fellow beeks who visited my stall disguised as customers.

The first beek stated that she was on the ‘Committee’ for Wantage Beekeepers and said she hadn’t seen me at the AGM.  This decoded means ‘why didn’t you attend the AGM?’ [please insert lecture about its your association and it needs its members to participate yah de yah de yah yah].  The reason I don’t do AGM’s is because I don’t want to be press-ganged onto the Committee and then have to commune with self-righteous beeks.

She declared that one of her three hives had yielded 59lbs of honey! (Hey beat that sucker!) Through questioning her for a minute it turned out she had been keeping bees for five seconds and she knew very little about beekeeping.  To help this confused beek, I corrected her that the name of the organisation she was a Committee member of was the ‘Vale and Downland Beekeepers Association’. She eventually went away and I could resume serving real customers again.

The second beek (aka Beek2) who visited my stall the next day had an issue with the amount of money I was charging for my honey.  I was charging £4.50 and he was charging about £5.00; this was a difference of about 12%.  Beek2 was not a stallholder at this event.  I was content with my price and by the end of the event I had sold all of my jars of honey that I had brought with me; the last jar was sold 15 minutes before the event finished.  I explained to Beek2 that my price was within a reasonable price range for honey being sold in the area.

Beek2 said he puts a ‘lot’ number on his honey jar labels and I should do the same to show customers when the honey came off the hive etc.  On closer inspection of my honey he saw I had a lot number on my honey jar label which gave similar information.  I said to him, ‘to be frank with you, I am not doing much differently from what you are doing, so what is the issue?’  He eventually went away and I could then resume serving real customers again.

The trouble with beeks is that we turn into the creatures we look after, and the coxis bone in our backs turns into a sting.  But please remember my fellow beeks, that unless you can successfully transmute into a Queen-bee instead of a worker-bee, then you have only one shot at using your self-righteous sting!






King Alfred is White-Washing his Shadow

I met a Dad yesterday, his son was having ’emotional’ issues and won’t go to school.  The school gave the impression that his son was the only one having such problems.  I would imagine the parents are feeling inadequate and frustrated with the situation.  I don’t think either the parents or their child should see themselves as the problem but it is the system which is meant to serve them which is at fault.

There have been two suicides at this Wantage based school.  If you were to ask the school about the circumstance of these tragedies, I would wager that the school’s position is that they were caused by mental health issues and/or there were problems at home and/or it was some sort of misadventure.  But the events that led to the tragedy had absolutely nothing to do with the school.

I can speak from my own experience and the conversations I have had with other parents, that the school has a culture that fosters anxiety and emotional problems in children.  I have sat in the school reception and watched a teacher shouting like psychotic at a child; if such a teacher did the same in public it would be classed as a public order offence.

This man’s son, my daughter and other people’s sons and daughters have been put through this mincing machine that is meant to be a place of education.  Some children have met with serious traumas at the school that they won’t go back.  I have written to Ed Vaizey MP on two occasions and brought to his attention wrong-doings at this school; nothing has happened.

The school is focused on ‘targets’.  These targets mainly focus on exam results and the school loves to tell the world what prestigious universities the alumni have gone on to.  The education system is probably to blame, therefore a huge heap of responsibility has to lie with the government; hence the need for my MP’s involvement (or lack of).

The problem is the school white-washes its shadow.  It won’t face the facts that its culture is harming the children whose wellbeing it is responsible for. Like some dystopic reality where the accountants are in charge, if the school can’t measure it then it does not exist.  How do you measure mental wellbeing or even happiness?  And even if there was a measure, or even if a survey was undertaken, please be reassured that the results would be ‘manipulated’, ‘reframed’, ‘sound-bited’ and there would be economies made with the truth.  At all costs, a picture must be painted to the world that everything is shiny and positive at the school; all targets are met and all boxes are ticked.  And remember, there is no shadow!

Choices of Technology and Dependency

I was given a set of digital bathroom scales and after about the fifth time of using them they started to play-up.  On further inspection I noticed that when I picked them up, the scales would rattle.  I opened-up the scales and I discovered that the plastic workings inside had disintegrated.  Still, these scales nearly work and most times give you a reading of ‘E-E’ but with enough goes, my scales will give any weight-reading you wish.

Alas, the scales will end up in at the recycling centre, and maybe the electronics will get recycled.  The plastic materials used in its construction will, I suspect, end up in land fill.  I believe these scales were designed to have a short life – ‘planned obsolescence’ . Maybe ‘planned obsolescence’ is needed because if the never ending conveyor belt of buying stuff (plastic crap from China) stops, then so does our growth-based economy.

However, I do have buying choices.  I am in need set of non-digital scales, not for weighing myself, but for measuring ingredients for soap making and for jarring honey.  I have seen on eBay a set of scientific balance-scales which were made in the 1960s (perhaps?).  These scales are made of metal and their age has proven they were built to last.  They are simple and have few working parts; put item that needs weighing on one arm and add weights on the other arm until it balances.  Also, no electronics to go wrong, no feeding the machine with batteries and no plastics to break after a while.  If I get to own these scales, then my ownership of them not require a dependency on the current money system for their up-keep and replacement.

In closing, here is a quote from Eric Brende’s book, ‘Better Off – Flipping The Switch on Technology’:-

“Here, perhaps is the first of all lessons in the use of power, whether technological or physiological: trimming back the means until only the essential remain.”

Honey-Dipper Forest

DSC04855Several years ago people would ask if I had any honey-dippers for sale.  I didn’t, but I tracked down a company and got some in.  I sell a few now and again when I have a stall and, I will arrange them in weird and wonderful ways on a tray.  Prospective customers will make my tray of honey-dippers untidy, by picking them up carelessly.  I am fed up at having to constantly re-tidy this tray.

The answer: dig a hole and plant them.  If you arrange them in a spiral you will attract faeries to this forest and they will keep you company during quiet periods.



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Lots of Little Decisions

DSC04847Creating something consists of umpteen little experiments and hundreds of little decisions.  Something is not ready until it looks, feels and even smells ready.  For me, it is repeatedly asking myself, ‘am I happy with that?’.  There are many ‘no’s’ before I get to my final ‘yes’.  Yesterday’s task of trying to get the colour right on the text for the mead-label was just a good example of how trial and error creates art.  Naturally, all the credit for the label goes to Pauline, I just keep piping up with silly ideas.


Please see video.



One Bowl For Fifteen Honeysoaps

Yesterday, I bartered fifteen of my handmade honeysoaps for a gorgeous handmade bowl. I Eggs in New Bowlam very happy.  The bowl will be used to hold eggs from our six chickens.

Many years ago I read David Graeber’s book called ‘Debt: The First 5000 Years’, and the point the author made was that before money we didn’t automatically resort to barter.  Within a tribe, people gifted what they had to tribe members who needed something.  It worked on the basis that everyone knew they owed each other a favour but no one was keeping scores. Barter was reserved for those outside the tribe; people perhaps who the tribe didn’t know when they would see again, or perhaps where a bond of trust hadn’t been fully developed.  Barter ensured an immediate transaction; something was obtained as something was given.

I foresee as the sun sets on the industrial age and money becomes scarce, relationships of trust and interdependency will become vital.  With that, gift-economies and barter will be the way by which people get by.

Where the bowl came from

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