Like many others I’m quietly horrified at the fourfold increase in my energy costs and pondering what I can do. Our wood burner, which until now has been for occasional use, may well be pressed into regular service as a major source of heat, particularly during cold snaps. I may also open up an old chimney to add a second. Not a high tech or environmentally sound decision but a great source of heat.

The other option is to stop leaking heat. Opening windows ‘to let the fresh air in’ will become a luxury reserved for special occasions or warm days. Draft excluders will be checked and where needed insulation added.

Beyond these prudent housekeeping measures to get us through the winter, over the longer term we need to look at strategic changes. Cheap energy has encouraged squander – poorly built houses are now proving to be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Recent wild-fires have shown ‘fuel’, in the form of poorly managed woodlands, just waiting for a spark.

If, as a result of the massive hike in energy costs, we become more aware of the energy we consume that is good. Oil, pumped from the ground in rivers, takes 40000 years to replace – if we waste it now how will we be viewed by future generations – are we all part of the generation that ’had it all’ and threw it away?

Maybe this is the ‘wake up call’ we all needed?