Tag Archives: solar panels

Pots and Pipe Dreams

It’s been a day of errands today – collect a parcel from the sorting office, droop something of at one shop, another bag to the charity shop and a watch battery in another shop.

Then it was an evening of TV and a night of cookery. It was meant to be the other way round but I got side-tracked at the jewellers (three cups of teas in the office) then the quizzes came on TV.

Tonight I have cooked ratatouille, turned half of it into pasta bake for tomorrow, and am just waiting for the timer to sound.

At that time it will be time to serve a rather late tea and watch the final of The Great Pottery Throwdown. If you ever watch it, read this post to tell you about the tearoom. One of the other posts has some photos of the canal side.  I’d like to think I could have been a potter, if only it wasn’t for my lack of application, time and talent.

Ah well, dreams…

The timer just went off. Time to eat.

The featured image shows a clear Spring sky and a fine array of solar panels on the roof of a house. I am slightly ashamed of myself for not having solar panels, but I’m simply not going to live in this house long enough for them to pay their way.

Potatoes, computers and portion control

We served lunch for 40 today. It was only baked potatoes with a variety of fillings, but it seems to have gone down well. We had a few left over at the end and nobody wanted seconds, which hopefully means they were full. If not, it means they were lying about liking the potatoes.

We served them with the cheapest marge, the cheapest tinned chilli, the cheapest coleslaw and the cheapest ready-grated cheese I could find. The only things that weren’t the cheapest were the potatoes and the beans. The beans were still cheap, but I bought the ones we normally use in the cafe, and the potatoes were nearly 30 pence each instead of four for 50p. To keep costs down I served them in small paper dishes that were big enough for the potato (though only just, in some cases) but didn’t leave too much room for topping. When you are cooking to a budget it all helps.

As usual I was so busy dishing up then clearing away that I forgot to take pictures of happy diners, or even a baked potato (for those of you haven’t seen one before).

It’s a good thing I went shopping in person, because if I’d shopped on-line and ordered the  cheapest potatoes I’d have been badly disappointed. When something is described as a “baking potato” I expect certain things – good skin and matched size for easy cooking are two key points, but mainly I want a decent sized potato that will fill someone up. The cheap baking potatoes from ASDA fail badly on this last point. They aren’t much bigger than a golf ball. Couple of chews and they’d be gone. A big spoonful of topping and they would be buried. You get the picture. Hang your heads in shame ASDA. (That’s Walmart for my American readers).

Of course, life here is never simple and although all is squared away I’m now sitting in the kitchen using a dodgy internet connection to blog while I wait to close up.

The connection isn’t too bad today, which is probably linked to the weak sun.  Confused? So am I, but from observations we have made it seems that the photo-voltaic panels on the roof cut off wireless reception when they are generating electricity. We first noticed that a digital radio wouldn’t work in here and after trying the lap tops we noticed that the signal cut out in strong sunlight, returning as clouds blew across the sun.

I have checked on the internet and apart from learning more than I wanted about solar power I cannot find any reference to this problem. Part of me says it can’t be happening, as all houses with solar panels would suffer the same problem, but another part of me says I have seen it happen.

Has anybody else noticed this? I’ve asked various people but they all look at me as if I’ve just said the earth is flat.