Friday, 26 September 2014

talking about green living

Yesterday evening being the fourth Thursday of the month, it was the beekeepers' club meeting.  One of our members told us about his eco house, so it was not a directly bee related topic.  There isn't that much you can do with bees at this time of the year, other than feed them, and there's a limit to how many lectures on sugar syrup even the most anxious beginner beekeeper wants to listen to, let alone the members who have been keeping bees for thirty or forty years.

The lecture gave us a chance to deploy our new projector, purchased months ago with a grant from the County association, and not previously used in anger.  We established before the meeting who was bringing the projector, and I offered to take my screen and projector stand as I couldn't remember whether we'd bought a screen at the same time as getting the projector, but was pretty sure we didn't have a stand.  Until you've given your first talk in a village hall you may not realise you need a projector stand, but after you've discovered that the normal tables in a typical hall are far too low, and scrabbled around trying to find a box or chair or anything you can put on top of the table to raise the projector up to the right level for the screen to be at a height where anyone beyond the front row can see it, you'll get a stand.  For good measure I chucked my extension cable in the car as well.

It was a happy thought to have taken the cable, since I arrived just at the point where the others were thinking they'd have to rearrange all the chairs because the speaker's laptop cable wouldn't reach to the power socket in the wall.  Having solved that problem we hit the next one, which was that no member of the committee appeared to know how the new projector worked.  I certainly didn't, I'd never seen it until that evening, and the one I use is designed to be almost idiot proof and runs off a memory stick so I don't have to persuade it to speak to my computer in public. Luckily one of the other members knew more about digital projectors than the committee did. Taking the lens cap off was a big step forwards.

I am so neurotic about using technology for presentations that on the one occasion I pressed the woodland charity's projector into service so that another member could give a talk, I got him to email me his slides in advance, so that I could put them on a stick and test the image size with the screen.  The idea of turning up to speak in public with your laptop, plugging it into a strange and untested projector and trusting that the whole thing will work fills me with dread.  My fellow members clearly have more chutzpah than I do, though I do think there are times when The Protector of all small animals must definitely be watching over the beekeepers.

The eco house was very interesting and quite inspiring, with the proviso that we can't all heat our houses with wood scavenged out of skips, because there won't be enough skips of discarded paint free timber to go around.  I was greatly taken with the photo of the speaker's giant one cubic metre water butt, and enthused about it when I got home to the Systems Administrator, who had already looked at them and said they were quite expensive.  That's the trouble with water butts, they seem to cost so much new that you would need to fill and empty them a zillion times to have used more water than you could have bought out of the tap for the cost of the butt.  Given the size of the roof we ought to be able to harvest a lot of rainwater, but that's no use for the garden without sizeable storage capacity to keep it until the summer months when it's mostly needed.

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