Sunday, 29 April 2012

Hardly spring, is it?

The Safari is sat here mid morning with a strong wind blowing cold sleety rain against the windows when we ought to be out on safari in warm spring sunshine.
We think we know why this has happened...we had French doors fitted last week just right for throwing open on warm balmy summer's evenings. BBQs are on us!!!
Fitting the doors wasn't a problem, fixing the mess the previous owner of the house, aka DIY d*ckhead, had made of the plastering inside the bay has taken our Extreme Photographer/Builder all week to straighten up and not helped by some of the original brickwork being done by the apprentice joiner on a Friday afternoon without supervision by the look of it...oh the joys of home ownership. Anyway its right now and we are the proud custodians of the best oak window sills in the county -FSC of course - and if any future occupant of Base Camp dares to paint them heaven forbid we'll come back and haunt them!!!
Should look good out there once the pots are planted up and the trellis covered in Clematis and Roses.
One benefit of having to have a total strip down was we were ale to get some insulation in the little bay roof - hot air rises you know and went straight out through the holes in that bit of roof. Now all we need to do is insulate the void under the floor without rotting the joists and floor boards. Sheep's wool batts would probably be best but have you seen the price of what is essentially a waste product for many farmers? Failing that something made out of recycled pop bottles might do the trick.
Just had our gas & electric bill and it's scary even though we renegotiated with the supplier to get on the best tariff. Apparently the 'average' electricity usage per year for a working couple (in 2001) is 4100kWh - crikey we think 3400kWh is too high, bearing in mind we have a 50W pond pump running 24/7 and replaced an old inefficient fridge-freezer with a modern AAA rated one but promptly put in the garage to store - wait for it - Frank's frozen swede (the bulky fibre part of his diet to stop him getting fat :-0). The new fridge might be more efficient and fits in the same space but is tiny inside and holds less than half as much! Best thing elecrtrickery-wise we did was to replace the kitchen spot lights 6 x 60W with energy savers 6 x 15 W, expensive at a tenner each but after a eighteen months they've paid back about 2/3 of their capital outlay. Still like to get below 3300kWh for the year though.
Gas is a bit of a different and trickier to work out the annual usage as we use far more in winter (and April - this April 42 units last April 15 units!). Overall gas usage at Base Camp has plummeted from high 400s(15,000kWh) a year to low 300s (c10,000kWh) even allowing for a the coldest winter in living memory and another pretty cold but not so prolong cold snap - reason; cavity wall insulation and more far more effective replacing the open fire (used a supplementary heating) with Little Bertha. 

The efficiency of Little Bertha is about 85 - 90% whereas the open fire was 15 - 20% and when it wasn't lit the chimney just sucked warm air straight out of the house. Also we now use sustainable (we hope) wood (lots of waste wood from the recent works) and hardly any carbon-rich coal whereas before we were using mainly coal with wood as a top up. New insulated front door helped too. It's still far cheaper to keep yourself warm with a thick wooly jumper than keep the house warm!
Anyway enough of our carbon footprint, which is going to double as soon as we set foot on the jet to Australia - let's head out on safari - -  in the cold wet spring wind and rain.
Where to next? A quick dash round the nature reserve seems favourite.
In the meantime let is know how you've reduced your carbon footprint.

Late Edit - Just been out with Frank at 1.00pm and the temperature on the thermometer is showing a meagre 5.7C, the long term average daily maximum for April in Blackpool is 11.5C - Global Warming No  - Climate Change Yes!
And we saw our first Hedgehog of the year last night - mammal #12 but still no Porpoise

Even later edit - 3.00pm and now the temperature has dropped to a very chilly 4.7C and still raining hard - - no chance of any safari-ing today. Really feeling for all those Swifts, Swallows and martins that arrived yesterday.

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