We moan about rising electricity bills, but leave gizmos on stand-by
- Credit: PA
Whatever the weather, the wonderful thing about March is the steady advance of light. As the days lengthen, my spirits soar.
We in East Anglia – among the luckiest people who ever lived – should especially cherish our natural light show now.
As well as the unshadowed and sparkling daylight in a level landscape bordered by water, many of us still have more moonlight and starlight in our fortunate lives than the blinding glare of neon.
I walk a mile or two most evenings, and love to wander beside the sea where, even in March, I am tempted to dive into the magic of moonlit waves.
And then just to stop and be able to take in the marvel of a sky covered in glinting diamonds!
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Well, we have worlds upon worlds of wonders without going anywhere at all.
To savour light we also need darkness – and it is a terrible blight to human wellbeing that so many of our homes are now at best in twilight.
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All the coloured and endlessly flashing lights of new technology are great for disturbed folk who have always longed to bed down on an airport runway, but for those in need of peaceful slumber the electric invasion of our domestic space is a threat to happiness, health and sanity.
Sleep deprivation is a torture rightly recognised by the United Nations.
But it is OK, apparently, to deprive (and deprave) kids of nightly sleep via flare and glare.
We moan about rising utility bills, but part of our surging demand for electricity is for the gizmos we leave lit-up on stand-by rather than simply switching them off.
Still more is for the needless flicker and wink of blinking gadgets.
When I bought my 1830s harbourmaster's cottage in Southwold it had just four rooms and four windows – two facing east and two facing west, through which direct sunlight rarely penetrated due to the scale of neighbouring buildings.
Doubling the size of the tiny dwelling through adding a first-floor – by raising the roof all of five feet – I went on to increase the glass openings to 18.
I now have new and antique plain, smoked, etched and stained glass in windows facing north, east, south and west.
There are views to sea, marsh and harbour, and skylights and lanternlights to take in the stars.
I don't care for overhead electric lights and HATE the results of dimmer switches.
I like a few pools of lamplight – and so detest the so-called low-energy (but actually no-light) lightbulbs devised by those who clearly never read a book at night.
My low-tech domestic interior is further warmed in calm and contented evenings by the lovely glow of candlelight and firelight.
And now to sleep.
While not at all keen on curtains, I darken my bedroom with blackout blinds.