The Anonymous Widower

Ovo Energy Snaps At Heels Of Big Six With Corgi HomePlan Takeover

Ovo Energy seem to be making a play for the big time according to an article in City AM, with the same title as this post.

If it comes about, I think I’ll sign up for my boiler, as I’m with Ovo.

May 12, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

My Meter Installation

This may seem an odd post, but I want to have the pictures easily available, as fitting a smart meter to my house seems to be an obstacle course.

Let’s hope it means, that I don’t take any more pictures!



March 14, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

One Side Of A Man’s Kitchen

I’ve now virtually completed one side of my kitchen.


  • The television is on a 270° swivel so it can be watched from outside, when I’m eating or working.
  • The worktop will be extended through to continue over storage cupboards and a small deep-freeze on the other side of the hole in the wall.
  • The cooker could be replaced by a small AGA-60 City.
  • The shelf above the cooker will be moved up a bit and fitted with lights underneath.
  • I think a fold-away stool would be better.
  • It is currently planned that there will be a low wooden wall between the two sides, that will be topped by a steel beam, so that hot serving dishes can be placed there.
  • The flange of the beam could also be used to store condiments, sauces, oils and other things that might be needed both inside and outside the kitchen.
  • I haven’t decided where to put the touch-screen pad computer, so I can display my Serial Cooking pages.
  • You’ll notice that there isn’t much electrical equipment. The only equipment, that I use is a Delia’s Little Chopper, which I acquired long before she publicised them, a kettle and a microwave .
  • You’ll notice the only gas in the kitchen is in the fire extinguisher.
  • Gas incidentally, should be banned from inside the inhabited parts of dwellings on health and safety grounds.

Many of the pictures were taken with me sitting on one of my all purpose stools, that I designed over forty years ago and had made by a furniture maker. Incidentally, four were used as saw horses to support the work-top, whilst it was cut to size.

July 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

My Solar Panels Are On The Roof

My solar panels are now on my large flat roof.

The installation was surprisingly painless, with the only work inside the house, the fitting of the control box near to my main consumer unit.

I have been monitoring all weekend on my laptop.

April 25, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Jerry’s Wonderful Wiring

In sorting out my kitchen, I need to adjust the wall between the kitchen and the living area.

Jerry's Wonderful Wiring

Jerry’s Wonderful Wiring

Jerry obviously thought he was a very competent electrician.

But my experienced Hungarian handyman and myself think otherwise.

April 19, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Questions About Solar Panels

Yesterday, despite the temperature being about eight or nine outside, because the evil devil had switched the radiant heaters on, the temperature had risen to twenty-eight inside my house, due to heat coming in through my skylight and by radiation from the flat roof.

Now the flat roof has been relaid and insulated, so to make matters worse the heat once in can’t get out.

So I decided I’d had enough and have decided to do what I had already ascertained was to be the next steps.

  • Put an electric shutter over the skylight.
  • Fit solar panels to both generate electricity and shade my house from the sun.

Hopefully, I’d generate enough electricity to run the air-conditioner, when the sun is on.

I entered my details into a comparison site and they said they’d select six local installers.

Within half an hour, I had a call on my phone and as the guy was in his van just round the corner, he was in my house doing a survey within five minutes.

He was also very much a local supplier, as both his flat and office were within five hundred metres.

He quoted for a four kilowatt system with sixteen panels, which he said would cost £5,000 as standard including installation and VAT.

I could also have micro-inverters which would up the cost to £6,300.

He indicated that micro-inverters were more efficient and had a loner life. He also enclosed the data sheet for the Enphase microinverters.

So I asked myself what are micro-inverters and what advantages do I get.

I found this web page entitled Should I Get Micro-Inverters For My Solar PV System?

Read the page and you’ll find there are two kinds of inverters;string and micro.

With a string inverter, you have one device that converts the DC of the panels to the AC of the house. So it’s like having one charger for all your devices.

With a micro inverter, each panel has its own inverter.

So the number of electronic components probably explains the difference in cost.

But there are other differences.

  • String inverters have typically a five year guarantee, whereas micro inverters have one of twenty-five. Only a madman would offer such a guarantee, if the devices failed regularly.
  • String inverters gear their output to the poorest performing panel, whereas with micro-inverters each panel performs according to the sun it gets.
  • If there is a chance of major shading, go for micro inverters.
  • Failures do happen and surely if each panel is an complete system, if one should fail, it is a problem, which is easier to locate and remedy.

Now I’m no expert, but my electrical engineering training says that micro-inverters are a better bet.

Years ago, when I worked at ICI, some others in the office were working on automating a chemical plant. Up until 1970, traditionally each temperature, pressure and position sensor input went into a massive and extremely expensive analogue to digital converter to link to the computer. But in this development, every input had its own converter.

I ‘m not in automation these days, but I doubt they use a massive and expensive converter and each input is handled individually.

So with my panels, I’m tempted to pay the extra £1,300.

I’m still waiting for the other five installers to phone.

March 12, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

My Crap Steel Kitchen Cabinets

Putting the beer away, told me that I must hurry up with the rebuilding of my kitchen.

I didn’t actually cut myself, but I must have caught myself once for every bottle I put away. And of course, Jerry didn’t put any lights in the cupboard.

June 30, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | 3 Comments

Is My New Handrail Transforming My Life?

That may seem a rather bizarre question to ask, but then I live on the first floor of my house and I do have to carry quite a few things up and down stairs. This picture shows the stairs from the bottom.

My Stairs

My Stairs

Note that there are rails on both sides, so when going up and down, if I can, I use a hand on each rail. Just as I was taught on my extensive Health and Safety course at ICI.

Take last night. I keep a spare roll by each toilet and as it needed changing, I put the spare on the holder reader for use. As I keep the bags of rolls downstairs, I usually forget to bring one up and the inevitable happens next time.

But last night, I immediately went down the stairs and collected a new one. I’d have never done that before the handrail was installed.

I also now change the rubbish bags when they get full and take them to the bins, rather than let them overflow and leave them to my cleaners.

I have a gammy left hand, due to a school bullying accident, and I neglect to use it. There’s probably nothing seriously wrong with it, that using it as much as possible wouldn’t cure!

But now coming up the stairs with shopping, I’ll put the bag in my stronger right hand and guide myself up with the left, pulling as required. In the last few days, I’ve found that instead of walking up and down stairs on the right at places like Underground stations, I now go with the flow, even if that is on the left.

And then yesterday, my personal trainer came and we used the stairs to do various aerobic exercises on the stairs. Who needs to buy expensive equipment that takes up space?

I would have never thought that such a small thing would change my behaviour so much!

You do wonder how many people have been seduced into buying an expensive stair-lift, when all they really needed was to fit a handrail, that was worthy of the name and strongly fixed to the wall, so they could hold it properly, as they walked up and down.

June 2, 2015 Posted by | World | | 1 Comment

I’ve Now Got Handrails On My Staircase

The handrails are now fitted on my staircase.

They were made and fitted by Handrail Systems from Sheffield.  I did think about brass, but in the end I settled for more affordable powder-coated steel.

May 29, 2015 Posted by | World | | 4 Comments

A Typical Annoying Problem Of Living Alone

I want to fit a grab rail in my bathroom and these pictures show the position and the rail.

I want to put it at an angle so that I can pull myself upright safely to get out of the bath.

The first problem is positioning it in the right place. The easiest way is to lie in the empty bath whilst someone else holds it tightly to the wall.

The second problem is that the tiles are very hard to drill, so I intend to use a strong epoxy to glue the grab rail to the wall.

Mixing the epoxy and getting it in the right position is definitely a job for at least three hands.

Perhaps we need a Rent-A-Hand Agency, where someone can help you out on a barter or mutual basis.

Where is my late wife, when you desperately need her?

March 21, 2015 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments