Solar panel performance 07

Rather impressed to hear the solar panel working today, New Year’s Eve, on a grey, overcast day with no hint of sun.  It ran for less than an hour so if I hadn’t heard it, it wouldn’t have been recorded in the stats.

Since it started working in September, its mini-computer calculates that it has generated 385kW of heat for the hot water tank.

Using Nottingham Energy Partnership‘s energy ready reckoner, that’s about  £10.72 worth of gas.  We will have to see how well it performs when confronted with an actual summer.



Today’s factoid – “factoid” is a real word, accepted by Facebook scrabble, that has just earned me 96 points.

Woo me!

Happy new year to all of you!

Sitting in Judgement

This week, I’m a guest judge on Post of the Week, a worthy project that appears to be uncertain about its future.

The shortlist is a rum bunch – famous bloggers, funny bloggers, drunk bloggers, downright weird bloggers and one or two where I have no idea whatsoever is going on. Several posts take me well outside my comfort zone.

The real stellar find, in my humble view, is local blog May Contain Notts which is a devastating combination of acerbic humour and the local Notts accent. I have seen his blog before, but forgot to take a note of it, so it’s nice to be given a pointer back to him.

Christmas cards

I’ve not quite finished my cards – this is later still than last year!

Today the biggest crop of cards yet arrived, and mine still haven’t gone out. They have no chance of being there in time, not least because I’m too frugal for first class stamps. There’s something embarrassingly passive aggressive about sending them out so late when you’re certain that the people you’re sending them to will have no possible chance of returning the favour.

I’m sending mine to a wider than normal crowd of people because I want to warn rellies and friends of my impending middle age, which I intend to celebrate on 2nd August next year. Mark your diaries now, my friends.

PS: Here’s a link to this year’s naff “round robin” that I’m including to my nearest and dearest.

Eep! My ex-boss now runs my party!

I’ve been avoiding commenting publicly on the leadership election since I fell slightly between two posts.  Of my former party employers, one was a candidate and another was a key campaigner for the other guy.

But now it’s all over, I’m delighted it’s Nick Clegg, my former MEP, and my former employer.

I have to say Nick inspired me the first time I met him.  Writing it now seems fawning and mawkish, but it’s true.  He came to Nottingham University and gave a speech to a student society.  I can’t remember what he said, or who he said it to, but I can remember feeling uplifted.  And for the very first time I felt I’d heard a politician who didn’t say a single thing I disagreed with.  I had already joined the Lib Dems at that point, but it wasn’t until then that I became active in the party.
I just hope he has the same effect on hundreds more people.  He has said upfront he wants to spend a day a week in the nation’s town halls talking to real people. this is exactly what needs to happen.

Happy Christmas, Lib Dems – here’s your new leader.

Trip to London

Another trip to London tomorrow on a minibus for a tour around the Houses of Parliament. Hopefully we will have secured tickets to sit in Parliament and hear the debate. It is a Lib Dem Opposition Day debate, so will be of particular interest. Our itinerary looks good. In addition to the tour, we also have three meetings scheduled along with photo-ops with both leadership candidates and Paul Holmes MP.

Last Tuesday I went down by rail to a conference about housing and building new houses in the future, which was an excellent event… but the real highlight of the day for me was a chance to wander around the new St Pancras station, now fully open. I snapped happily with my phone camera, but I really must go back and take some piccies with a real camera. I was excited enough last year when they opened the new ticket hall, so you can imagine the thrill of seeing the completed station.
Champagne bar along the side of the Eurostar trains

And the full majesty of the restored canopy above the platforms.

Champagne bar

Space age thingies holding up the Eurostar wires

Rail buffers

World’s largest advent calendar


Heyoooooge statue

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I am itching for an excuse to hop on the Eurostar to either Brussels or Paris – particularly since I probably have enough Nectar points to get a ticket for free. It was highly tempting to try and cash in my Nottingham return ticket. Cost of Nottingham peak ticket: £117.50. Cost of return to Paris (if booked in advance, admittedly): from £21.