No, we won't be covering Chertsey with photovoltaic panels, but are hoping to harness the sun's energy more directly, and thus hopefully more efficiently, for heating water. When the stove's lit, it's easy to keep the big kettle and the teapot topped up and pretty much always have hot water available for washing up, hair washing and so on. I tend to keep the kettle on the hot part ready for making tea, when a shift of a couple of inches will bring it to the boil, and the big teapot full over the oven, where over the course of the day it gets hot enough for the washing up (albeit in slightly tea-tinged water). But when the sun's blazing and it's too hot to light the stove, you still need hot water for washing up and I'm not quite rugged enough for washing myself in cold water yet, despite my impromptu shower in the Northgate locks last week.
The other year we were impressed when Izzy on Bath had some spare water left over in her 'solar shower' - it was warm enough to wash my hair with very comfortably, and with all the flat surfaces available on your average boat (slightly more than on Chertsey, in fact), and very cheap technology it had to be worth a try. So of course I did nothing about it for nearly two years, like you do(n't). We popped into Millets in Chester last week to see if they had any, but they said they ware in short supply, owing to strong demand from the military(!), so as soon as we got home I got on line to see what I could find; loads, but while prices were low, p&p was not; this would have been OK, but no one could deliver before we left (today. OK, maybe I didn't get on line immediately we got home).
So this obviously now became a vital mission to track down what are essentially big black plastic bags. Jim rang around the outdoor shops in Brighton; Millets didn't have any, Blacks had one; Cotswold had four. So he got them to put two aside and off we set. Driving into Brighton on a sunny spring Sunday is, of course, the first circle of hell, but we'd forgotten that (bit like childbirth). Likewise, probably better to draw a veil over the game of hunt the carpark with a space, find and compete for the space (20 minutes), pay for the space... Fight your way through the shopping mall; I lied, this is the fourth circle).
By the time we got to the shop, we decided to take all four to make the journey worthwhile; at a higher price thanb the online ones including postage, plus car parking and petrol, plus hair tearing, so they'd better work. Of course, now when the sun goes in for the next three weeks, you can blame me.
What happened next
2 weeks ago