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Article by Quentin Large (1991)

Coll Gas
 
Coll Gas.

Quentin Large.

If it wants gas, the island has to rely on Calor Gas in various sizes of heavy metal gas bottles, blue or red for butane or propane. Some use it for heating. Some prefer to cook on gas rather than electricity and some use it for cooking just to save being cut-off in the event of a power failure which, in winter, can last from an hour or two to a day or two - or more if the weather is severe and gales have brought down the lines and prevented the engineers getting here to mend them. Our primary school uses huge red bottles for heating, a linked clutch of four and those bottles weigh about 250lbs each, so they do take some manhandling.

You may have seen the TV ads. for Calor - a nice white tanker-lorry delivery direct to a farm's door, driving up a neat road, the house glowing warmly. Well, not here. Our gas comes in metal bottles, brought over in a small ship and kept in a compound behind the hotel. If you want gas, it seems always to be on Sunday, you've forgotten to renew the spare, it's dark, you're in the middle of cooking and it's raining. You must drive to the village, ask at the hotel for it (no time for a drink, as the oven is cooling, remember), load the cwt. bottles into your car without getting a hernia or a slipped disc, and hurry home - not too fast, as the gasbottle can hurtle about violently if it so decides, even if tied in with a seatbelt; you might have to stop suddenly to avoid a suicidal black sheep (difficult to see in the dark when it's raining!). Then you have to get it back out of the car, again without injury and carry it - watching your toes - a few hundred yards cross-country to the house and connect it.

Ah! A cup of tea!

Some of course, have better memories or are more sensible and live somehwere nearer a road. Before this house, (Little Totamore) I lived over a steep hill. After carrying the gas up, I was exhausted but as that hill was smooth grass, I made life easier by rolling it down the last 100 yards - it was stopped by a slight upslope.

Very satisfying, a very HighSpeed Gas delivery, right to the door!
Coll Magazine - Article by Quentin Large

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