fly ash

We are going to start with the merry-go-round.

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Copyright © 2021, Michael M Wayman

It must be Monday evening, I’m being washed in the baby bath by Shining Light, no homework tonight. Everyone else is watching – baby washing is very important. Only Shining Light can wash me, not that I need washing, just a wipe with a damp cloth from time to time, but what do I care.

“And now for the big announcement. There will be no homework tomorrow night and in the afternoon we are all going to visit Golden Future Pow 8.” This makes everyone very happy, something to look forward to.

I realise that the girls including even Shining Light do not know what Golden Future Pow 8 is. I know, but I’m not telling anyone. But everyone knows that number 8 is so important.


Next day a big bus takes the whole school class to visit Golden Future Pow 8. It is certainly very big, in fact enormous, and certainly very important.

“Hello Golden Future School 11 Class 15 and welcome to Golden Future Pow 8 which is the newest and most modern electric power station in our great city Golden Future.”

“Golden Future Pow 8 is coal-fired, so we are going to start with the merry-go-round, come this way.”

“On this platform we can see the coal train – it is more than one kilometre long – going slowly along a big circular loop of track. How many hopper wagons?”

“That’s right, sixty. And what’s in the wagons?”

“Coal, of course! Now look very carefully at the waggon next to the red hut.”

“Yes, yes! It’s at the coal drop, where all the coal in it drops onto the conveyor belt below, which carries the coal to the pulverisers, which turn the lumps of coal into powder. Now it’s shutting its doors and the next waggon will be unloaded.”

“It takes about an hour to unload the whole train, then it will ride empty back to the coal mine to be loaded in another merry-go-round. If you look to your far left you can see the next full train arriving.”

Pretty exciting stuff? All the girls in Golden Future School 11 Class 15 think so. The guide drones on.

“The powdered coal is fed to the furnaces which boil the water to produce high-pressure steam that drives the turbines which turn the generators to produce electricity.”

A big round of applause.

Is it boring? Yes. Are there lots of questions? Yes, but no negative ones, like: What happens to the ash? Why is the power station so dirty? What about pollution? Why isn’t the smoke scrubbed clean? And so on.

But what do I care? I take a good look at the high-pressure safety valves on the boilers. I write a short text and give it to Shining Light for her to read out – how wonderful Golden Future Pow 8 is, how happy all the girls in Golden Future School 11 Class 15 are to have seen Golden Future Pow 8 in action, how Golden Future Pow 8 will contribute to the prosperity of Golden Future City.

The speech goes down very well, the director of Golden Future Pow 8 thanks Shining Light, everyone applauds. The bus takes us home. I give Shining Light her daily English lesson and she watches herself making the speech on TV.