Shedding light on a dim subject

I ENJOY a good chuckle, and one old joke which still makes me laugh on the odd occasion I hear it is about the man who was awake all night trying to work out a problem and then it dawned on him. A bit of light relief from the serious business of life is g

I ENJOY a good chuckle, and one old joke which still makes me laugh on the odd occasion I hear it is about the man who was awake all night trying to work out a problem and then it dawned on him.

A bit of light relief from the serious business of life is good for you, I reckon.

One thing which has not amused me is the emergence of those silly looking light bulbs which are now set to replace our trusty bulbous bulbs by order of the EU.

I did not like the appearance of these CFL (no, I don't know what the letters stand for either) energy-saving bulbs from the moment I saw them and I have not grown to love them as they have wormed their way into my light fittings.


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It's all very well them being dirt cheap (for the time being), long lasting and saving on energy costs but the plain fact is that you can't see as well in their luminescence as you can in the glow from the old, bright bulbs.

And things are set to get worse, I learned this week from a source close to home.

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An investigation in E&T magazine - published by the Stevenage-based Institution of Engineering and Technology - has found that CFL lamps are not only considered by consumers to be too dim but they will also lose significant brightness over time.

The bright sparks at the magazine report that official guidance telling us which CFL bulb to buy is overly optimistic in respect of performance, with the factors involved resulting in a CFL lamp ending up 40 per cent dimmer than the incandescent bulb it replaced.

To make matters worse, the E&T tells me, recent EU legislation threatens more confusing labelling and could result in bulbs that fail to meet the standards originally recommended by the UK government's Energy Saving Trust.

In fact, CFL bulbs could be about to become even dimmer as the latest EU directive on the lamps has reduced the required lifespan, approved longer warm up times and allowed an increased loss in brightness.

Unsurprisingly, few new technologies have proven more unpopular with the British public than the imposition of the CFL bulbs. Despite the Government's encouragement for us to plug in the new-fangled devices, they still account for less than 10 per cent of the lighting in UK homes.

Long may that be the case, I say, but I fear that the future for all of us without a cellar-full of old-style bulbs squirreled away is looking dim.

An energy-guzzler which is switched on for hours at a time in the home is, of course, the TV set.

And I have just learned from new research that the box is the cause of most festive flashpoints at Christmas. Some 57 per cent of people in the South East cited control of the TV remote as the thing which got them arguing with their nearest and dearest.

Third in the list was dealing with relatives who cheat at board games, closely followed by family members being rude about each other. Oh, happy days are nearly here again.

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