/ Home & Energy

This week in comments – high tea, hosepipes & human robots

If you indulged in Easter confectionery over last week’s long weekend, we’re going to indulge you further with a bumper edition of our comment round-up. Here are your latest and greatest comments.

Hosepipe ban

Would you report your neighbour for using a hose during the ban? Which? Convo regular Wavechange offers another solution:

‘I would like to see everyone on a water meter if they live in an area that is regularly affected by hosepipe bans. Each household should be entitled to a certain amount of water at a cheap rate and use above this should be charged at a higher rate. Most would pay less but those who consume large amounts of water (by using hoses, sprinklers or for any other reason) would pay more.’

Minister, don’t waste money vandalising consumer protection

We don’t think the government’s reorganisation of consumer protection is good news for consumers. The changes could put more strain on trading standards officers, which commenter, Trading Standards, tackles in his response:

‘I work in Trading Standards (TS). I think it is a bit disparaging to say we cannot handle the job. We regularly prosecute complex fraud cases. But I take your point, that the mentality of a TS dept is different from that of a national regulator like the OFT. It remains to be seen how these new changes will be implemented, it may well be that new departments are created that only deal with national problems but are extensions of existing TS departments. The bottom line is we need more skilled resources – sadly they are currently being cut.’

Home improvements – will the law force you to be green?

Renovations could soon come with an energy efficiency price tag. Maggie doesn’t think the government’s plan makes sense:

‘If you are forced to do yet more work for home improvements that many people find challenging to find the money for already, all that will happen is there will be less home improvements, more dangerous old electrical wiring, and more dangerous old gas boilers.’

David Ramsay thinks the new rules could effect vulnerable people:

‘Bottom line, what happens if a pensioner’s boiler failed during the winter and it needed to be replaced? They don’t have the money to make improvements but can just afford the boiler, due to their age they will be dead before they repay the green loan – what then?’

The cost of afternoon tea – high tea or highway robbery?

Is £85 too much for an afternoon tea in a London hotel? Greg doesn’t think so:

‘Yes I know it is overpriced, yes I know the ingredients cost less than half the price, but it’s the experience that counts plus the quality of the cakes and delicacies that matter.’

Colin Samson thinks the frugal among us will have the last laugh:

‘As long as the wealthy spend their money in the UK, it benefits the rest of us. If they choose to spend lavishly on brown, flavoured hot water and all the paraphernalia associated with it, why should they not do so? Meanwhile those with more sense than money, can have a good laugh at their expense!’

Anti-virus software built in to Windows 8 – yay or nay?

So far, 59% of voters think anti-virus software should be built in to Windows 8. Ed agrees:

‘Microsoft really should have packaged anti-virus (AV) software with Windows a long time ago. As to whether you have a choice, I think that’s a different matter but is easily solved by having an “AV choice” on first run that forces you to install some piece of AV software, be it their own or another one bundled with the OS.’

16-year-olds could drive the Renault Twizy

Wirecutter doesn’t think 16-year-olds should be allowed to drive micro-cars like the Twizy:

‘Just picturing how a 16-year-old will cope worries me, as even now most cyclists believe that they are surrounded by a wall of unbreakable glass and are totally indestructible – so what will their feelings be with body work around them?’

But Steve is giving teenagers the benefit of the doubt:

‘Nature transitions from child to “grown up” around 13/14 years, if they’re old enough to pass GCSE exams I am sure they are old enough to navigate a vehicle around roads.

‘Contrary to the media image, not all youths are reckless with subnormal intellects, my daughter cries if anything stops her from handing her homework in on time. In short, I think we should allow 16-year-olds to drive these things.’

We ogle Google’s Goggles – will they boggle your mind?

MariaR, who gets our comment of the week, doesn’t like the look of Google’s glasses project:

‘Makes me shudder! This would make me feel like a human robot, or like a benign Terminator. It’s bad enough that cities are filled with people half removed from reality, cocooned in their audio bubbles courtesy of their iPods and smartphones, and this would just add an extra level of insularity. And with this device, they’d be talking to themselves too. Just makes me want to go “ugh”!’

Comments have been edited due to length, so make sure to read them in full on their relevant Convos (by clicking on the red title link).


Would I report my neighbour for using a hose during this hosepipe ban? To a psychiatrist maybe, he’d have to be standing in the rain since for the past 10 days here in Oxfordshire there has been rain with another 15 days of rain showing in the forecast. But I understand from Thames Water that it’s the wrong kind of rain, so they, who apparently only source water from bore holes will not benefit, since it’s not been raining the average number of nights in the winter (in months with “r”s in the name). If some idiot says “hasn’t the water privatisation gone well” again I will scream. No it has not, these thieves will not invest in new water sources to diversify the supple because of cost, instead spend all their infrastructure money on fixing leaks (to reduce their pumping costs, as the leaking water returns to the aquifer from where it was pumped, not “lost”). How thick are politicians?