Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

'Time to start building the turbines - before my neighbours object'
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The Independent Online

I'm just back from the Mayr clinic. Despite being uplifted by the wonderful eco-improvements, I left feeling quite debilitated and emaciated, despite my intensive boiled potato diet.

Everybody else was in blooming health, so I felt a bit of a failure. What had gone wrong? Was I detoxed out?

The trouble is that I suffer from low blood-pressure and topple over without regular sustenance. In France doctors prescribe champagne at 6pm every evening to cure this debilitating complaint - an effective solution to which the Mayr clinic do not subscribe, but which I follow to the letter when home.

Fortunately I made it to Munich railway station before I keeled over. There I rebooted myself with a glass of fizz and a hot meal.

I arrived home to discover to my joy that all my neighbours are well behind my radical eco-improvements, including the installation of three wind turbines, solar panels, and rainwater harvesting plus raising the roof to create an extra room made of hemp bricks.

So it's all systems go to get started during the summer and before anyone changes their minds.

But who is to do the building work? Vince, my usual wonderful builder, or my squeeze, who is a great builder, too? I have been wary of employing him - as I worry our volatile relationship may not survive. Besides, every time I ask him to do something handy, it ends in a major breakage.

Only yesterday he changed the eco-friendly bulbs in the kitchen - a horrible job that means balancing precariously on the kitchen top (a marble-like surface created from melted-down recycled mobile phones).

Steadying himself to reach the floor, he grabbed a cupboard door which fell off its hinges. This cupboard contains all my recycled glasses made from reconstituted Perrier bottles, which are gradually being picked off every time I forget the cupboard is out of bounds and open it.

For Christmas he installed a smoke alarm which involved climbing on to an antique Biedermeier chair which collapsed. There have been other disasters, too.

Anyway, when Vince came round to do a quote for the windmill installation, he kindly offered to take the chair away and mend it. But that was months ago, and how am I going to tell him I've given this massive building project to my squeeze? More worryingly, will I ever get the chair back?Anyway, my squeeze and I have just had a frightful row about it and I've stormed off to Oman to attend a family wedding. Don't tell my eco coach but I'm not going there by train. The Man in Seat 61 (aka Mark Smith, eco-travel guru) informs me it would take around six days to reach by train, which isn't feasible. Forests will be planted on my return, I promise.