The lovely Sharon lost her composure a couple of days ago.  She sat down and calculated our electricity bill, she was inconsolable for hours.  Moving into a different house gives rise to unknown quantities.  Will the new house be breezy?  Will it hold in the heat or leak it out from every undetectable hole?  It turned out that we used more oil to heat the cottage than we used in our old house, but we were pleasantly surprised that we did not use as much oil as we thought we would in ‘the coldest December in Ireland since records began’.

The electricity if a different matter entirely.  The truth is that we picked up a tumble drier just before the little man arrived into the world.  The fact that he arrived in the winter and that he needs a ridiculous amount of clean clothes every day means that the dryer has been on daily.

The lovely Sharon wanted to know what we could do to reduce our electrical wattage.  I made two suggestions which I thought were sensible.  The first was that as the warmer weather was on its way, we could use the clothes line more often.  She was a step ahead of me here and had already started down this path.  The other suggestion was that the power consumption was related to her being on extended holiday maternity leave and that her kettle habit was happening more than it would when she was at work.  When pushed for clarification, I pointed out that she does boil a full kettle then leave it for a few minutes then boil it again, then leave it and boil it again, before making a cup of tea.  This observation did not sit well with her and apparently I should refrain from taking to her until I have something more constructive to say.

This morning, with our electrical consumption fresh in my mind, I dusted off a solar panel from the old house.  I calculate that if I was to connect it to the mains somehow, we would reduce our electricity bill by 0.00001%.  Instead I connected it to an old computer fan and it now serves as air circulation in the greenhouse.  It used to be part of a greenhouse heat sink that warmed the under floor stones during the day.  However, in this greenhouse it cannot have such a geeky job as I have no time for it.

Another accounting problem came to the forefront of our minds today; eggs.  Having 28 eggs a week means that we end up giving a lot of them away to friends and family.  This is part of the enjoyment of having the chickens but we should have been more mean.  With family coming for dinner tomorrow we need the eggs for desserts, pastries and our own weekend traditional pancakes.  We are refusing to buy extra in the shops.  Every egg is a precious item at the moment with a predestined job before it has even been layed.

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