The Casual Observer, passing The Little House of Concrete and noting the panels on the roof, the sign on the fence and the sticker on the wheelie bin, might be tempted to regard the three items as some form of environmentalist statement. After all, it's not as if I've made any secret of my moderate Left-Green-Republican-Reconciliation-Refugee leanings.
And I do sip the odd Chardonnay (among other things).
But if you're looking for the explanation behind the subject line in this little diatribe, you'll find it in two words: air conditioning.
The Critical Reader might look at those two words and suspect a degree of contradiction, but Hughesy's love of air-conditioning goes back a long way. It might be close to twenty years since I stopped spending the cricket season out in the sun and, far too often, away from the shade.
Old habits die hard, and long-held preferences are hard to root out.
As soon as I could afford to refrigerate my sleeping quarters I did. Since we weren't paying for electricity in teacher accommodation back in those days, I was only up for the cost of hardware and installation. The rattler that went into the window of my westward-facing bedroom in West Street followed me to The Full 360 and on to The Little House of Concrete. When it looked like giving up the ghost, in went a replacement.
And, for a while, it looked like the bedroom was the only section of the LHoC that needed air-con.
For the first few years the corner block, the south-east aspect and blowin' Bowen's characteristic breezes meant it was a very cool house indeed. Probably didn't need the air-con either.
But then, one summer, things changed. Stiff breezes from the sou'east were replaced by That Mongrel Northerly and I sweltered.
Which, in turn explains why a flier in an electricity bill offering a reasonable deal that could be paid off with the power bill had us adding split systems to the living room and Hughesy's office. Not that we use them all that much, but when we need to, we do. Even with Madam's Extension whacked on the back the configuration of the LHoC isn't compatible with northerlies.
And the air-con got a decent workout while the roadworks contractors did their thing along Brisbane Street, to the extent that we always meant to do something about giving the units a proper, professional, thorough servicing.
Prompted by a flier in the letter box, we did., but as so often happens with these things, it didn't stop there.
The same flier also offered what looked like a good deal on split systems, and the rattler in the bedroom was a noisy affair. Why not get a quote on a replacement? And add a system to The Extension as well.
While we're not looking at relocating any time soon, the possibility is lurking there over the horizon, and there are a lot of houses on the market in Bowen at the moment.
A fully-airconditioned property is probably more marketable than one that isn't.
A fully air-conditioned property is also going to attract significantly higher power bills, so by looking at solar we were probably adding to the marketability and doing something about our financial bottom line.
It's not as if electricity tariffs are likely to go down.
And, as things turned out, things looked to be quite reasonable. Even more reasonable if we were willing to have a sign on the fence and a sticker on the wheely bin.
Which is, of course, why they're there.
Given the fact that everyone else in the Questionably Civilised World seems to be giving themselves a forum to vent their fury at the injustices and indignities we're being subjected to on an almost daily basis the last thing the world needs is another semi-political blog, but I can't help myself.
With the sheer volume of such rantings out there, and the fact that practically nobody reads these pages, once I decided to set out on this little venture it seemed to make sense to hive this bit off as another annexe to the Little House of Concrete rather than adding political and socioeconomic commentary to the main site and risk losing what few readers I might actually have.
So, in the unlikely off chance that there's anyone out there who is actually interested, welcome to the People's Republic of the Little House of Concrete, the title of which is probably a fair indication of where we're coming from.