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Energy expert Peter Gudde on the skills needed when setting up home

Its feels like the World, or mine at least, has been on the move over the last couple of weeks. The garden has been awash with baby birds getting ready for the big day when they escape their birth homes.

Outside my kitchen door I can see two fledgling wagtails.

Their calling is incessant as they look expectantly to the sky for the next beak of food. Each day they have developed a little bit more, from fluffy down to the first emergence of the wagging tail feathers.

Leaving the nest - a young robin Picture: iStock/Jokerbee12
Leaving the nest - a young robin Picture: iStock/Jokerbee12

In a bush to the side of the house a dove, or presumably a pair, have sat on a nest in rotation, raising a couple of squabs – I love that word. The bush is dead and is on my removals hit list, but I have left alone during the bird breeding season. Having seen the babies move out I thought I would have a chance to root the plant out, but no such luck as it appears that the parents are back on the nest ready for the next brood.

A couple of weekends ago, I headed over to Dunwich Heath for a bit of beach walking and relaxation. It’s a bit on the shingly side but so quiet.

After strolling for a couple of minutes we were able to sit down and take in the sights and sounds of the scene around us. Gentle washing of the sea alongside the screaming of sand martins racing full pelt at the cliff wall into the holes that were excavated years before. The display of acrobatic flying is a really beautiful site.

Peter Gudde
Peter Gudde

Then there’s the young humans in my family. One has temporarily moved away to the city to study. Given the situation over the last year, I don’t blame him. He has had to put up with me, so his version of fledging has not come soon enough probably in his eyes. He may be back at some point, but it will be on his own terms. Then his older sister is moving out to set up permanent home. We have been doing the equivalent of fledging. Painting her flat and packing up her stuff ready for the off.

But whether they are young adult birds or humans, it always intrigues me the things that you need to know to set off on your journey of independent living. With birds, much of that knowledge is innate or learnt from the parents. So, too, for the human equivalent, but given the complex and dynamic way we live, there are some things that are a learning experience both for child and parent alike.

It may be simple, but for one who has neither moved before like my daughter, nor like me moved for over 20 years, having to arrange all the new contracts, whether it’s the lease on a flat or the utilities to keep it warm, supplied with water and well-connected, can be a bit daunting. When I last moved house, it was all done on a medium called ‘paper’. So, to find out what needs to be done online now seemed to me like a thing that our younger generation would be taught at school. It appears not.

I therefore asked the Great Oracle that is a certain internet search engine. Thinking about it, anyone moving house needs to know this stuff, whether a student, young adult moving out from the parental home or even the post Baby Boom (almost), pre-Millennial, non-Generation X or Z, that being yours truly. How to change utility accounts, how to budget, how to save money. The birds learn their life skills from their parents. We humans are not always that talented.

But reading an energy bill, choosing which tariff that is right for you or setting up a utility account should be something anyone is able to do.

Like riding a bike, learning to swim, or learning to fly in the case of young birds, these are life skills which will help you make the right choices. Both my daughter and I are now better informed and maybe we will make better decisions with the knowledge we have gained.

I will be both happy and sad to see the young birds fly from the nest in the garden and the young adults move out from the family home.

As long as they are all equipped with the practical skills of life, then they should be able to make wise choices.

- For independent advice on utility bills, finance and even energy saving tips for students, visit www.savethestudent.org

- For consumer tips online, try https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/site/money-tips-email-faqs/

- For green home energy tips, visit https://www.greensuffolk.org/at-home/

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