So, LSS had a good time in London, doing lots of touristy things with Lady A. She did think of me whilst she was there, because she brought back some M&S mince pies!

The bathroom ceiling has now been installed, and I’m pleased to report that having a bath is now a much more enjoyable experience.


We also paid another visit to Bricodepot in order to buy some more timbers and OSB ready for the construction of the toilet walls.

The Belgian Dubbel I mentioned in my last post has now been bottled, and should be ready by Christmas. Speaking of which, LSS has now put up the Christmas decorations. This consists of a string of fairy lights draped around the lounge. Unfortunately we just don’t have room for the tree this year!

The hunters carried out an unscheduled hunt last weekend, and managed to bag four wild boar. They were all very pleased with themselves, and the Hunt Chief proudly told me they’d only fired 50 cartridges.


No comment. Still, at least we now have some more bits of wild boar in the freezer…

The little 12-volt transformer which has been in constant operation for two years, powering the solar thermal panel pump (as well as all the temperature gauges) gave up the ghost last week. I’ve bought a replacement on Ebay, but in the interim have connected up a car battery to do the job; this is the reason I opted for 12 volt pumps and gauges. Once we get around to installing photovoltaic panels on the roof, the transformer can be discarded. The battery is currently (hah! pun!) being kept topped up with one of the aged FIL’s old battery trickle chargers.

Other little repair jobs have cropped up as well.
Recently I have been having fun with the reedbed solar panel installation. The battery has gone flat twice in a row, and the cause of this was fairly easy to diagnose. In the winter, the sun is quite low on the horizon, so the solar panel is in the shade of the polytunnel all day. This is a simple thing to fix; just mount the solar panel on a mast. I found a four-meter length of iron pipe in the aged FIL’s courtyard – this will make an ideal mast. Ah, yes, but there’s a snag. You see, I need to make up a bracket to mount the panel to the newly-discovered mast. And in order to do that, I need to weld some bits of steel together. Now the aged FIL had a welding machine. Unfortunately it is no longer usable, as it is now a burnt-out pile of scrap due to his garage burning down. Well, I’ve been keeping my eyes open on Leboncoin (an internet second-hand goods site), and found one very reasonably priced, two hours’ drive away. We went to fetch it last Sunday.

So I am now the proud owner of a three-phase 180Amp arc welder. Fortunately the aged FIL did not keep his massive collection of welding rods in the same building as the welding machine, so I have a vast selection to choose from. Apart from many different sizes of ordinary steel electrodes, there are also nickel rods (apparently for welding cast iron); stainless steel rods, and (I’d never heard of these before) arc cutting electrodes. These strange beasts are apparently used for cutting through steel, much like a plasma torch.

Of course the arc welding machine is very heavy, and when LSS and I lifted it out of the boot of the Hyundai, I managed to twist my back; so I’ve been out of action for most of the week.

However, I have now managed to test the welding machine out, and the solar panel bracket has now been made and fitted. Whilst I was at it, I made it adjustable; so the solar panel angle can now be set at the optimum angle depending on the season of year. Ignore the extension lead in the next photo; it was to power my electric drill. Note also the myriad of molehills; but I guarantee this particular Moley will not be there for long:

Solar panel mast
Solar panel mast

If you want to read some more details about the reedbed solar panel installation, you can have a look at this page: http://www.la-darnoire.com/greywater-reedbed.shtml

And….. (drum roll)….  I’ve made a start on the next book, which should be ready early next year.

Well, I may not make another post before the end of the year, so we’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.