Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blowin' in the wind

click photo to enlarge
"It always is wretched weather according to us. The weather is like the government — always in the wrong. In summer-time we say it is stifling; in winter that it is killing; in spring and autumn we find fault with it for being neither one thing nor the other and wish it would make up its mind...We shall never be content until each man makes his own weather and keeps it to himself." from "Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow", Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927), English author

The quotation above pretty much sums up the British attitude to the weather - there's always too much of it and it's always the wrong sort! I suppose that attitude (and the penchant for holidays where the sun always shines and the temperature is always high) comes from living on a damp, cloudy, windy island where three kinds of weather each day is not unusual. But will this always be our attitude? There's a good chance that global warming will lead to Britain's weather being seen as highly desirable. Increasing warmth and plentiful rainfall could well be the envy of many countries. And, in an age of rising fuel prices those regular westerlies offer the prospect of wind-generated electricity for all. But for that to happen the people of these islands must get over their NIMBY-based opposition to turbines.

Yesterday I watched a wonderful feat of skill and engineering as the blades of a wind turbine were assembled at the base of its tower and then lifted into place. Cranes, men on the end of steadying ropes, and a man standing on top of the column (can you see him?) all performed a sort of high-tech ballet to elevate and rotate the assembly and place it on its nacelle. On the flat Fenland landscape of Lincolnshire the turbines can be seen for miles. Perhaps, in time, people will see them as spinning beacons of a greener, reliable energy supply, rather than blots on the landscape, and realise that for Britain's energy needs the answer is (at least in part) "blowin' in the wind." Cue harmonica, acoustic guitar and wailing, nasal voice!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 48mm (96mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/1250
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On