MEET BANGER, the Protective Dog. We bought him at the weekend to guard our lounge against wintry howls from the hallway. We need him because there’s a three-inch gap at the bottom of the door where there must have once been a carpet.
He might look good but Banger isn’t being allowed to do his job. The Kids keep running in and out of the lounge, flinging open the door every five minutes. Boy Wonder is also tall enough to turn on the wall lights and he doesn’t appear to want to waste such a superpower. The tightwad in me means I like to push eco creeds in our house but the kids are clearly too young to hear my appeals. Most of the time, I’m like a Greenpeace intern at an oil industry conference.
It makes me think, though. In the west, we’re happy to lecture developing nations about the dangers of over populating our fragile planet. We might be troubled about our lack of future tax payers to support our geriatric nation in the coming decades but we’ve got some cheek. A lot of British parents, ourselves included, are blithely wasteful.
There are obviously nappies. I know a few couples who tried towelling versions in the early days only to rush for the disposables when the washing piled up and their house developed the aromatics of a rugby club changing room. And what about wipes? In our house we must go through three packs a day, especially the morning after a family korma. Then there’s the cavalcades of people carriers littering our roads, the bounty of summer fruits all year round and the galaxy of plastic toys in all of our homes.
So, I’ve introduced a more pragmatic environmental policy in our household. I’ve told Boy Wonder that if he doesn’t use Banger properly our bills will go up and I’ll have fewer pennies. To buy him more plastic toys and his weekly supply of vacuum-packed strawberries.