Owl and Squirrel

Our scare owl totally fails to bother the stupid squirrel, even though a real owl would eat it in a flash. The pigeons all studiously look the other way though.
June 2023 was a bit warmer and drier than June 2022 and, despite the dim and cloudy end to the month, the solar panels managed to absorb enough photons to pull ahead of June 2018 by half a kilowatt hour and become our sunniest June of all time. [Update 3/7/23: It was also the hottest June on record for the whole country.]
Admin1 is rereading River of Gods by Ian McDonald. Admin2 is reading The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths.

Pop-up Poppies

Since the replacement of our back garden hedging with a fence, a number of these plants have shot up in the disturbed soil. They appear to be Papaver somniferum, otherwise known as opium poppies.
Today was our second ever sunniest day for the solar panels (13.430kWh), and the recent run of good weather means it’s on the 7-day sequence records.
Admin2 is reading Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon.


Seen through the morning fog and a few filters: the Sun with a massive sunspot, 5 times the size of the Earth.


And here is The Light (shopping/hotel/cinema complex which banned Admin2 from taking photos in case there were celebrities hanging out there, coz we all know celebs hate being photographed) lit up by a low sun yesterday when our solar panels hit 0.92kWh, best since last November.
Admin1 is reading The Kingdoms and Admin2 is reading The Lost Future of Pepperharrow in our ongoing Natasha Pulley fest.

Andromeda Galaxy

This picture is a tiny detail from an unzoomed shot taken with Admin1’s new phone — a Pixel 6a — from the light-polluted suburban environment of our garden. The inset in the green circle is a screen grab from Stellarium, a wonderful sky simulation program available for Linux and Windows. It shows that the faintly elongated blur at centre-left is, indeed, the Andromeda Galaxy; all the surrounding stars are correct. Our galaxy will collide with Andromeda soon. (OK, in about 5 billion years; no worries.)
It’s amazing that a small phone can capture  something like this.
Today 2022 became our best year ever on the solar panels, and Admin1 is reading The Blood Divide by AA Dhand.

Catch the Sun

Last month was our sunniest August ever: 239.610kWh. It was the only August to appear on the high score table for the best months ever and featured 6 of the all-time best-ever days. On average it was 5 degrees warmer than last August by day but only .5 degrees warmer by night.
Admin1 is rereading Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith. Admin2 is reading Mother’s Boy by Patrick Gale; a fictionalised early life and wartime years of the poet Charles Causley.

An Unusual Occurrence

Tyrannosaurus Rex appears to have laid an egg from which a small human is hatching.
Meanwhile the sunshine on a cool and windy day gave us our best August solar panel output ever: 12.25kWh.
Admin1 is rereading Deadland by William Shaw. Admin2 is reading The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy; a community of transgender hijras in Delhi intersects with the everlasting conflict in Kashmir.

When the Nights Are Blue

Happy birthday twins!
To celebrate, some low-down noctilucent clouds, the first of the year, and 13.397kWh on the solar panels, our third sunniest day ever, by 2 watts, what what!
Admin1 is reading Tragedy on the Branch Line by Edward Marston, which was a considerably cosier train ride than Bullet Train, soon to be a big film. Admin2 is reading Crow Court* by Andy Charman, another crowdfunded debut, not so interesting.

Mushroom Cloud

Ooh er! Saw this shape in the sky and couldn’t resist.
Admin1 is reading Survivor’s Guilt by Michael Wood, in which enough tears are shed to float the Titanic. An awful book, a histrionic soap opera with a terrible plot.
Admin2 is reading You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood, a convincing piece of cultural appropriation from a fifty-something Pakistani barrister writing in the first-person voice of a London teenager of Nigerian descent.
Despite the clouds and rain and sudden burst of hail it was the sunniest day of the years so far: 8.449kWh

After the Flood

A day without a storm when there was enough rain for a couple of rainbows and the solar panels served up >2kWh for the first time this year.
And it’s Twosday: 22/2/22 and it’s 22.22 too.
Admin2 is reading The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut; a gloomy book about a failing hospital in the South African bundu; no wonder it was on the Booker shortlist.

Ghost Town

Distant skyscrapers dematerialising in the fog. Despite the mist and fog all day, the solar panels produced more energy than yesterday with its constant dazzling sunshine.
Admin1 is reading Dead Ground by MW Craven. Admin2 was reading The Incendium Plot by AD Swanston but gave up halfway through because it was boring and unpleasant. Radcliff is an Elizabethan lawyer with a bent finger but he ain’t no Shardlake, bro.
We scored 9.5 on the GSQ, which was not too bad considering.

Looking Up

Admin2’s New Year resolution is to make this blog more artistic (this is a collage of one of last night’s fireworks as we drank our drinks on the traffic island on the warmest New Year midnight of all time combined with a photo by Alessandro Caproni). Admin1’s resolution is to make an analemma. Watch this space a year from now.
December was warm for the time of year and just scraped past 2015 to be the second least sunny December since our records began, but all in all it was a very good year for the solar panels.
Admin1 is reading The Incendium Plot by AD Swanston. Admin2 is reading The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan.

Venus Meets the Moon

Despite a day of clouds and rain the solar panels managed .679kWH, making today one of the top twenty sunniest December days of the last ten years.
Admin1 is reading Nighthawking by Russ Thomas. Admin2 is reading A Question of Guilt by Jørn Lier Horst, in which, for once, the detective’s daughter did not get kidnapped.


It is now exactly ten years since our solar panels came on stream. In that time they have served us 14,474.704kWh of electricity and £7,594.93 of free money, more than paying for themselves. Hopefully they have also reduced more pollution than was engendered in their manufacture, having offset just over 10,000kg of CO2. Good stuff all round.
Admin2 is reading The Promise by Damon Galgut; change and decay in a South African farming family; best Booker-winner I’ve read in years.


A visitation by hideous ghouls which chilled us to the marrow as the door creaked slowly open…
Admin2 is reading Nighthawking by Russ Thomas; a mediocre whodunnit featuring metal detectorists and buried coins and corpses.
October was sunnier than in 2020, 2019 and 2017 but worse than all others. This is because we have given up climbing on the roof to move the panels around to optimise them for winter.


Today our solar panels paid for themselves and from now on they will be supplying us with electricity for free. The FITS (Feed-In Tariff) scheme reckoned on a ten-year amortisation, and we managed it in 3,446 days, less than 9½ years. We’re now getting paid just under 60p per kilowatt hour (well, when EON gets their finger out 🙁 ), and it keeps pace with inflation for another 10 years.

Tulip Time

The garden after an April of freezing nights and the sunniest ever days (237.145kWh) and some heroic tulip planting by Auds and Bobs.
Admin1 is reading Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton. And whatever the opposite of misanthropic is, this book was it — a real change from my last two. Set over three hours of a school shooting incident in Somerset, it’s terrifically well-written (almost Kate Atkinson quality), engrossing and emotionally charged. A wonderful, page-turning read.
Admin2 is reading Leonardo’s Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms by Stephen Jay Gould. Snappy title, eh?