Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

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The Independent Online

It's great news that David Cameron's wind-turbine application has been successful, although it's disappointing that some of his deluded neighbours are complaining about it. The council agreed to my three wind turbines two months ago without a murmur, thereby creating the precedent that helped Cameron's to be accepted.

His worried neighbours should see my eco-coach Donnachadh's turbine (or wind sculpture, as I prefer to call it), and they'd discover that they are smaller than the average satellite dish and make no noise at all. The strangest things seem to work up sane people into unreasonable amounts of rage. "Kamikaze" cyclists and "bogus" asylum-seekers are two things that inspire fear and loathing in respectable Middle England (wherever that is), and now we can add wind turbines to the list.

I discovered the suspicion and horror with which turbines are viewed this weekend when I was invited to open a fete at The King's School, Canterbury. My stepbrother is the chaplain there and had generously exaggerated my fete-opening qualifications to the powers that be. Although I have had some practice - last year, I opened a Green Party pal Noel's second-hand shop - nothing prepared me for the terror of opening a proper fete. And this was a grand affair, with dancing Kenyan tribesmen, beautiful old books, and hordes of gorgeous sixth-form girls stalking the sun-drenched grounds like stroppy gazelles.

Anyway, I gave a short spiel during which I alluded to things Green and retreated in relief. But then I was accosted by an incandescent parent who began a tirade against Cameron's turbine. Turbines in general made her so angry that she had no more venom left for Stalin or Hitler.

"It's a disgrace!" she screeched, behind a pair of enormous Jackie O sunglasses. "Notting Hill is going to become a nightmare! These turbines will become an acne on the landscape. Not only that, but we live right near a peculiar eco-architect who lives underground!"

"Oh, you must mean Alex," I replied, brightly, thinking this might mean some common ground. "He's my architect, his house is really wonderful and entirely solar-powered."

This didn't console her at all.

"Well, I think it's most peculiar!"

Fortunately, she was pulled off me so that I could attend to more fete-opening duties.

These sort of people object to any windmill that isn't in a Constable painting. Would they feel any more comfortable living next to a stonking great nuclear-power station, which is what will happen unless we do look at other forms of energy?

The encounter left me feeling strangely disturbed, as soon I'll be one of the most hated women in Britain. Not only am I a kamikaze cyclist but am soon to be the owner of three wind turbines. Thank goodness I'm not a bogus asylum-seeker, as well.

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