I hope your 2022 is going well so far. Here’s my first Guest Writer of the year. It’s Murray Clarke with a New Year story.
THE HAIR OF THE DOG
William, looking decidedly worse for wear, lurched back across the room clutching two pints of foaming ale.
‘Here you are, mate,’ he slurred as he set the drinks down on the corner table. ‘The hair of the dog!’
The pub was heaving! You’d have thought that everyone had drunk their fill the night before – what with it being News Year’s Eve and all that! But no! William and his best friend Daniel had partied till the early hours of the morning, but even so, nothing would stop them going to the pub when it opened at midday.
William was nursing a thumping headache, and took a slurp from his glass. ‘I’m not sure beer will ease the symptoms of a hangover – but what the heck! Cheers, and Happy New Year, Dan!’
Dan raised his glass. ‘And to you, my friend!’ All conversation was paused as they poured at least half a pint down their necks.
Eventually, William said: ‘I’ve got to ask you the annual question – Made any New Year’s resolutions?’
‘Well, actually, yes!’ replied Dan. ‘Just one – I’m going to Save The World!’
‘Blimey, mate! What are you? Superman?’ laughed his companion.
‘No, seriously, the COP 26 conference in Glasgow last November really got me thinking – how can I help save the planet?’
‘But what difference can little you or I make?’ asked William. ‘Surely it’s up to those naughty boys in India and China to stop using all that coal?’
‘You haven’t got any children or grandchildren, have you, Bill?’ said Dan.
‘No such luck yet, mate! But Sarah and me, we keep trying – if you know what I mean!’ he grinned.
‘Well, as you are aware, Lottie and I have two grown-up boys with children of their own – my grandchildren. It’s their future I worry about. We can’t ignore the facts about Climate Change any longer. We must act now!’
‘You sound like one of those flippin’ activists we all saw on the goggle box!’ laughed William.
‘This is no laughing matter, my friend. Each of us can do something to reduce our carbon footprint.’
Dan was warming to his subject (and it was nothing to do with CO2 emissions!)
‘Turn down the temperature on your thermostat at home and put on an extra jumper, for instance,‘ he said. ‘You drive a diesel car, but can’t afford to change it for an electric model? Then go easy on the gas and brakes. Drive more economically. Check your tyres regularly. Consider walking or travel by train or bus.’
‘That doesn’t seem too hard to do,’ agreed William. ‘Anything else?’
‘You don’t have to go vegan,’ Dan continued, ‘but eat less meat and more vegetables. Buy less food. Did you know that around 40% of Americans waste the food they buy?’
‘I read somewhere that modern LED bulbs are better to light your home.’ William added. ’And remember to unplug electrical appliances when not in use.’
‘See, you DO know! Also: recycle more, but don’t forget to empty and rinse food containers before putting them in the recycling bin. And taking a shower rather than a bath uses less water. It’s all good for your carbon footprint. Every effort, however small, helps the environment.’
William smiled. ‘I can see you’re becoming something of an expert on global warming!’
‘Hardly! It’s just common sense,’ said Dan. ‘Do your own research on the internet. There’s loads of stuff out there. Anyway, less of this serious talk. What are you having? It’s my round!’
‘Maybe my luck will change and, one day, I’ll have children and grandkids too – and then I can help Save the Planet for them!’ He glanced down at their glasses, now empty. ‘Yes, if you’re sure it won’t harm my carbon footprint – same again, please . . . ‘
‘Good man! Drinking a locally brewed cask beer in a pub produces up to three times LESS CO2 than a bottle beer transported a long way . . .’
‘Okay, okay! I get it!’ William remonstrated. ‘Now, just go and get the beers. A man could die of thirst waiting for you – Superman!’