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For those not living in the UK, there is some background that must be explained: In hot countries most of the places that need to be comfortable are air-conditioned, and in cold countries most of the places that need to be comfortable are properly heated and insulated. The UK is the exception, since the weather is often interesting and no-one really takes heat and cold seriously. So although the weather can be very cold, very hot, very wet, or just wildly chaotic, it always takes people by surprise. For more about this see the British Weather

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The helpful people in the next-but-one council phoned up to try to save me money on heating. Well, always worth listening to people who cold-call, even if it is telephonic spam. They said they could actually SAVE me money on the heating. Well that makes it even more interesting as the heating didn't cost me anything at all! The first question I was asked was "What kind of heating do you have?" and it's one of these multiple-choice things that never give the full range of choice and ignore the possibility of anything non-ordinary. The nearest option to the real case was SOLID FUEL. "Don't you know that's bad for the environment? The greenhouse effect?" said the helpful person. Well I had to disagree. In fact not only is my heating not BAD for the environment, it's actually GOOD for it! Whereas that extravagant person called Ebenezer Scrooge would fritter away money on coal, I am burning GAMBLING MACHINES which I get delivered by the gambling machine supply company Eastern Automatics when the machines have become irreparable, have been made illegal by the puritanical government, or have acquired bad Feng Shui. At this house where I run the industrial Feng Shui reprocessing plant, I SMASH the ruined gambling machines with a sledgehammer (after extracting all the useful electronics and collectible glassware), and I burn the pieces of wood on the fire grate in the house. It's great! Costs nothing, heats the house, and the hot water tank with a back-boiler, saves money, and saves the environment too! How does it do that? Well, if I burn the stuff it turns into CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), which is not particularly good for the environment, but if I didn't burn it, the gambling machines would go to a landfill site where they'd cause pollution and waste resources and cost money to dispose of and they'd ROT which would produce METHANE GAS. Methane gas is MUCH WORSE than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. And that environmental saving is in addition to the saving of resources such as electricity and gas and coal which I would have been using if I wasn't burning gambling machines!

So I told the council representative, who wrote down on the bureaucratic form "solid fuel", and even though I explained the whole story I still got a letter (made from trees) through the post saying that the council could save me 174 on my heating. So I phoned them and said "My heating costs me ZERO. If you want to save me 174 on my heating, you can write me a cheque for 174". They haven't sent me a cheque yet!

Further news is that some new neighbours have moved in and they've refitted their house and were going to dump the wreckage of their old kitchen in a skip. But now I've saved them a skip and I'm burning their old kitchen on the fire grates here, as well as gambling machines. I also burn security doors, windows, televisions, beds, all sorts of stuff! (It's even possible to burn fire doors). On another occasion, some kind people gave me the wreckage of a garden shed and some laminate flooring. Of course I deplore the bureaucratic vogonishness which forced them to demolish a perfectly good garden shed and to rip up some perfectly good laminate flooring which the next occupants of their council house might have liked, but I thank the people who have me the fuel.

Free heating! Free hot water! What would be really good would be to add a steam engine to the system here (as well as a back-boiler) so it's possible to burn stuff and generate free electricity as well!

If you're wondering what happens to the useful electronic spares from these gambling machines, you'll be pleased to know they are salvaged, recycled and reused. See gambling machine spares for sale and electronic junk for sale

This method for the disposal of old gambling machines is approved of by the Gambling Commission. That's an extra bonus.

On a serious note about COLD and the problem that people are likely to die of it, obviously it's not possible for everyone to burn stuff they can find to keep warm. However, you can save yourself from freezing to death by some plans.

Also note: This method isn't for everyone! A more sensible approach to saving money on energy and heating is to SWITCH ENERGY PROVIDERS! (shop around). See uSwtich and Energylinx and other Energy switching companies

Update: I have now emigrated from the UK to Panama. In Panama it is hot all of the time, and I am now wondering if there's some really cunning plan I can put into effect to get free air-conditioning! It may be possible. How about some industrial size solar panels and a giant Uninterruptible Power Supply battery backup?