Dying for a Swim

Jul 16, 2013
Dying for a Swim

With the forecasters predicting another scorcher last Friday, we headed down to Cornwall for the weekend; partly to swap the city heat for the slightly more refreshing sea breeze but also to celebrate my sister in law’s birthday. The result was a weekend of eating, drinking and sunbathing on the beach, perfect.

I did manage to get into the sea once but the rest of the time chose to paddle on the water’s edge while the other fools braved the icy waters. They called me boring, I prefer to use the term sensible! When the weather is this good, there is no finer place to holiday than Cornwall however I would swap the temperature of the English Channel for that of the Mediterranean in a heartbeat.

Talking about temperature, I was reading an article in one of the papers the other day about a council’s plans to heat a chapel of rest with the heat generated from a crematorium; not a light hearted subject I admit but a fascinating one all the same. In fact this is just the tip of the iceberg. Can you believe that as well as providing heat for offices, heat generated from a cremator in Worcestershire is actually being used to heat a swimming pool? And there is even talk of the possibility of selling this source of energy to the National Grid in the not so distant future. It sounds as though we could be following in the footsteps of Sweden and Denmark who already heat some houses using this method.

The burning issue (no pun intended) is that Councils have to comply with new rules aimed at reducing mercury emissions; an expensive task, especially given the age of some of the cremators, so they are forced to look for new ways to make or save money. 

The moral issues surrounding this type of excess heat recycling are quite interesting; after all there is a fine line between being environmentally aware and profit engineering. I have to admit that although I did find the whole subject a bit distasteful at first, I’m now starting to think that it really does make sense. In truth, I believe some people would find the prospect of helping to heat a swimming pool quite amusing. The fact that 80% to 90% of locals were in favour of the Worcestershire council’s plans to heat the pool this way bears witness to this.

Mind you, I have also read of plans to increase cremation costs where a larger coffin is required. Isn’t that starting to sound a bit like the ongoing battle with airlines wanting to charge extra for larger passengers. Who’d have thought that funerals and flying could have such similarities!

By Ashley Shepherd

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