Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on heating, hunting and the perils of trying to do good

Our lights went out again for a few minutes a couple of days ago. I’m not sure what’s going on but I reckon we’ve had more outages in the past three months than in the previous 10 years. Same for you?

How to save them?

In a little stroke of genius, the heat generated by computers at Exmouth Leisure Centre is being trapped in a surrounding jacket of oil and harnessed to warm the swimming pool. Doesn’t it make you wonder how much computer-warmth has been produced over the years by experts seeking the holy grail of clean, green energy – and allowed to escape through the nearest window?

Still on warmth, the boss of Bosch UK Vonjy Rajakoba is the latest expert to question the wisdom of installing heat pumps as a replacement for gas boilers. He has a vested interest in selling us heat pumps yet he points out frankly that millions of older homes in Britain lack the space and the insulation to make pumps work effectively. Undeterred, the Government is pressing ahead with its target of installing 600,000 heat pumps per year.

Does this example of Whitehall persevering with a project that no-one really wants, at any price, despite the warnings of experts, ring a bell? It looks suspiciously like an HS2 in every home.

“Virtually everyone agrees that allowing people to bring home animal trophies from hunting holidays should be banned at once,” says Joanna Lumley, supporting the Trophy Hunting Bill. Depends who you mean by “virtually everyone”.

While a number of UK celebrities including Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais and Liam Gallagher support the Bill, more than 100 conservationists in African countries – who probably know more about the subject than most – denounce it as “another way of recolonising Africa.” Behold the perils of philanthropy. You start your day feeling like St Francis, you end it being cast as Cecil Rhodes.

I’m reminded of an enthusiastic American hunter and trophy collector I met in a South African game reserve. He passionately believed that the best way to end the poaching of elephants, rhinos and other endangered creatures in Africa was to hand conservation over to America’s National Rifle Association. The theory is that no-one takes better care of animals than someone who enjoys killing them. Tallyho . . ?