We all have little habits that others find irritating. Mine is to have the radio on in as many rooms as I can get away with so that I can listen to radio 4 as I move from room to room. Mrs BW likes to leave the Utility room door open so that we can all listen to the Washing Machine. The fledglings leave the lights on in their rooms. Our “foreen” year old daughter has the light on even on the sunniest of days and looks askance at you when you suggest gently that it is not necessary.
So I was somewhat shocked when, minding my own business in the kitchen, making a cup of tea, she began to lecture me about the environmental consequences of me overfilling the kettle. By the time she reached her peroration I was going to be responsible for the extinction of most of the species of land mammals and the imminent melting of the Greenland ice cap unless I mended my ways. I was given no time to respond, no chance to defend myself, for as soon as she had finished she was off, out to hang about with her mates.
I was chastened, I admit somewhat humbled. A part of me was a little disappointed at the severity of the attack. After all during their formative years I had unselfishly forsaken Radio 4 on long car journeys so that they could listen to their “Harry Potter” tapes. Not an insignificant sacrifice. I am convinced that on one long journey to the West Country, I was driven temporarily insane after listening to HP and the “Prisoners of Somewhere or other” for the third or fourth time. Much as I admire Stephen Fry I still shudder when I hear him utter the words “Harry Potter…..”
So chastened, humbled I slunk upstairs. I noticed that she had left her bedroom light on. So I went in to turn it off. While I was there I switched off her computer that had been left on standby, and noticing that her waste paper basket was full of cardboard emptied it and took it downstairs to put with all the other cardboard that we collect and at some appropriate point either I or Mrs BW will take to the local recycling centre along with all the plastic bottles and plastic cartons.
That done I cautiously and guiltily filled the kettle to have another cup of tea, the first one having gone cold and to finish reading the paper before I put that into the recycling bin. I am glad that they teach environmental issues at school. I bet that they don’t teach humility though.