Well that's when I started this one. Theoretically I'm looking back over the last few months, but sometimes it takes a week or so to write the newsletter up and occasionally I have things happen before I finish.
The most significant element recently was the upgrading of my house battery and change of electricity supplier. I've taken out the old one which never really settled in with the new ones, and bought some even newer. I now have 14kWh of storage and can charge them up overnight on the white meter that came as part of the new electricity company, 'Octopus' on their go tariff. The solar panels still charge the batteries but in winter it helps to buy in a bit extra 'off-peak' and to use that when otherwise I would have to pay full price for it. My previous supplier Ecotricity were fine, but didn't do off peak. Both companies use (as far as I can tell) all renewable sources. This way I can buy off peak for daily running and charge the car at the same time (0:30 to 04:30 am) which reduces the price of house electricity and driving. Dull perhaps, but useful.
I sold the MX4, rather regretfully as It's a nice little thing and fun to drive, but the truth was that I wasn't using it often enough to warrant keeping it, what with MOTs insurance and tax. I've known the new owner for a few decades now and he says his partner is well chuffed. I had thought about converting it to electric but since a little extra cash is useful just now, and he was very enthusiastic, I let it go. I think the brownie points will top up his approval ratings, always worthwhile.
The extra cash is useful in relation to Mum's house. Suffice to say that if you hear anyone thinking about equity release, give them my phone number and I'll dissuade them. There are still loan sharks out there, they are better dressed but unchanged, still amoral, soulless and greedy. Basically the Mafia accountancy department.
So Summer fades to Autumn. I can't complain, we've had some lovely weather. Now it's just weather, which is what prompted me into writing. The cats are staying in in the hope of more sunshine. A forlorn hope perhaps but not impossible, and there may be a wood fire soon as an alternative. It looked as though that might be off the menu when the chimney cowl started misbehaving. Cheap stainless steel welding I think. It looked like it was going to fall off with a seriously twisted strut, but a neighbour with a good head for heights offered to pop up and sort it. A few stainless bolts and it's as good as new. probably better in fact. Although exaggerated by the angle I took the photo from, it still has the tilt that had been there since I put it up a few years ago. The end wall brickwork was difficult to avoid with the heavily insulated tubing of the flue, so it leans away from it a bit. I'm happy with the result and the neighbour gets to borrow the roof ladder whenever he wants. I'd gone up previously, an activity that, as I may have mentioned, I'm not fond of, but this time I realised it would be easier going up the other side, where the conservatory doesn't get in the way of the first ladder. The ground looks even further away, but if it's not me up there so I'm fine. My neighbour's wife had a flat tyre today so I was able to balance the books a bit. That's one of the nice things about a small isolated community, cooperation makes for an easier life.
I had gone up, cautiously, beforehand and found the smoke from the chimney seemed to be dissolving the nearest down-wind concrete tile. Probably the soot removing chemical. I'll stop using that and find a less corrosive one. Quite apart from the (presumably acidic) tile damaging effect it's probably not good for the rest of the environment.
For somebody who doesn't like heights, I do seem to end up...well .up there rather often. This time it was counting bats in the bat boxes in Hermand Birchwood. We, or rather the Lothians bat group and I go bothering them every year at about this time. There were 30 of them of which 18 were Natterers and the rest Pipistrelles. (5 Soprano pipistrelles). Here's a photo of one of them. S(he) may look like a fuzzy blob, but it's not an unfair description when they are half asleep and probably a bit confused.
Ideally the team of bat enthusiasts go up the ladder, but several of them are a bit on the short side, so to be able to see into the top, a little more height is useful.
That reminds me, I shall have to make another bat-poo scraper. I seem to donate one every year.
So other than a bit of unexpected ladder work, some electrical juggling and a bit of car work it's all been reasonably quiet.
Our security firm (Peace of Mind) who monitor the burglar and fire alarm folded suddenly So I bought a new system which cost very little, but the old, now un-monitored one is still working, so I'll leave that in parallel until we go on holiday. All part of the new 'internet of things' I suppose. The idea behind the new system is that you can turn it on with Alexa or one of the other 'assistants'. I only half understand it, but once you've got the basic machinery it's only the software that holds you back. As it is I could use it to lock the front door, turn on the radio and boil a kettle. That wouldn't be much use of course because you'd still have to go and make the tea.
We were watching 'Shetland' with Douglas Henshall, or rather we were watching him acting in the program and there were some arial shots over Lerwick. The house (Uphus) we rented last time we were there is more or less in the middle of the town, and after a bit of analysis we were able to work out which roof it was.
I don't think it was taken when we were there, but theres a vague shape where our car was parked. So I've nearly been on television twice in 40 years.
Covid is still fairly active around here, although the majority of cases seem to be at the severe cold or flu level and there are fewer deaths. Most people aren't wearing masks anymore, although since we have some friends who are at risk we do sometimes, and medical establishments like doctors, dentists and blood donor sites are still insisting. the graph on the right shows cases per million. Coming down from the recent spike. That's about 1% at the moment, so it is estimated that about half the people who seem to have colds are actually covid. Not much of a worry unless you are in a crowd of 50 people. Ideal for party political meetings and concert halls. Sadly because the EV crowd is very sociable and ¾ of the EV bloggers that went to big meetings promptly came down with another dose, in the UK and the US. I shall wait a little longer and get what I hope will be my last booster in a week. Strangely the medical world thinks I am at risk myself, which I can only assume is a blanket policy as we are both quite well and active. I have started doing a few more exercises, long overdue, and my shoulder problem is now greatly reduced.
As the weather heads toward the wet and windy I'm indoors more than before, even for the exercises and so more aware of our cats' odd behaviour. Custard is definitely a chancer, and likes to be let out by a human, and then back in, weather depending, but waits until the door is almost closed before moving. I'm sure I can hear very quiet sniggering. Heavy rain makes them move much more quickly and usually involves the cat equivalent of 'what kept you?'
The only other news I can think of just now is that I've upgraded our main mac (apple) computer, but since it looks much the same, but a bit bigger, I'll not bother you with that. All in all a reasonably easy transition. Cheers