Christina Simons, who owns the Cottage hotel in the New Forest with husband David Mascord, has decided to make her nine-bedroom, 250-year old former forester's cottage greener. This is her diary…
This morning a guest sent his wife down to reception to complain that he was cold. When I went to his room to investigate, he was sitting in his shirt sleeves in what I considered to be a comfortable temperature, bearing in mind it was a warm day. He was sitting by the window in the sun, and it was well past the time we would normally expect guests to be out of their rooms, so I didn't rush to switch the heating back on.
Instead, I explained that we switch the heating off while we are cleaning the rooms so we can fling all the windows open, keeping the temperature cool for the cleaning team and reducing our impact on the environment.
I shared my thoughts about wanting everyone to be able to enjoy central heating and electric light in 20 years' time. I invited him to come down to the snug bar, where I would be happy to offer him tea or coffee with our compliments and he could sit in comfort in front of the fire and roast. I kept the thought that he could just put on a sweater to myself!
The bottom line was that he didn't care, and he wanted to sit in his room all day at greenhouse temperatures.
Now, he is perfectly right. He has paid for the room; he should be able to sit in it all day, and it should be at a reasonable temperature. But it adds to the overall complication of trying to reduce the impact of a business such as ours. I have to say, looking back over the past 18 months, that this is the single most difficult thing: weighing up all the issues and finding a solution to meet everyone's needs.
There are days when I have thought so deeply about the issues and they have appeared so complex that I have just become paralysed by them. But going back to Bob Geldof, who inspired me to try to make a difference, the fact that the issues are complicated is no excuse to give up. There are days when it is easier to turn a blind eye to the whole problem and march on regardless, but this is not acceptable. I have to keep going, and I have to try to work around the guy who claims he is cold on a mild day.
Thank God he is going on Wednesday!
PS As for the wind turbines, the jury is still out. I have decided to measure just how windy it is in our sheltered corner of the woods over the next few months. It could be that no matter how good the equipment is there might not be enough wind to make roof-mounted wind turbines work.