EDitorial ± 29-Mar-2004

Ella's Propellors

Seven days ago the predominant colours were black and blue — I did mention my bump on the head, didn't I?; can't be sure since, as my helpful leaflet explained, "It is common after a head injury to experience poor concentration" — and over the weekend my temple's turned a fetching yellow. Now let's go green.

Once in Swaffham in Norfolk, a peddler named Chapman lived in a small house beside a towering oak tree...

See, the day before I scanned that disgusting story and suffered my blow to the head, we'd sallied up to Swaffham to behold the blades blowing in the gusts.

Etch out a future of your own design
Well tailored to your needs
— Thomas Dolby, Windpower (1982)

This Norfolk market town plays host to not one but two towering wind turbines, and they're a site to see. Actually, although both were visible on the road coming in, it took us a while to find the bases of Ella's propellors; "Dad, it's over there!", came the cry from the back of the car.

Installed 1999, rotor diameter 66m, capacity 1.5MW Swaffham I (67m tall)   Installed 2003, rotor diameter 70m, capacity 1.8MW Swaffham II (85m tall)

Eventually we parked off the slip road by "the UK's tallest onshore wind turbine". Switching off the engine, I was prepared for the whining noise — from the propellor, not from the kids for a change — but it was surprisingly quiet. Bang goes that myth. Kids were daunted by our proximity to the swishing blades overhead, so we headed for the other (smaller) one across town.

Cool name for a road

This being 3.30pm on Sunday, the Ecotech centre was unfortunately closed, depriving us of the chance to walk up the many steps to this turbine's viewing platform. Plus the kids are probably all too small, I'd guess.

Here's a statistic: Swaffham gets 75% of its domestic electricity power from just these two leviathans. Magnificent, the whole arrangement. Dylan was right, inevitably: the answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.

Be seeing you!