A very interesting and busy day.
I took our youngest to school, a very easy morning, thank goodness.
Chatted to the St John's Grounds Maintenance team chaps who were about to feed a lot of pruned vegetation into their shredder, and they were VERY happy for me to take the large Christmas tree trunk on my trailer, and said they'd sort out any other big sticks and branches for me, and leave them for me to collect. Nice chaps!
So, home with a big load of waste tree trunk. I then had a short time to get several sacks of mature compost from the bottom of the garden in the wheelbarrow up to the top, as a bit later today I'm expecting visitors from Hull to pick some up. I found 6 sacks of 10 to 20kg and one sack of perhaps 30kg.
I then came in and cleaned up, as at 11 I was expecting our first visitor, Chris from Ploughcroft, who I asked to give us a quote for putting a solar photovoltaic system on our roof. This company had given a competitive quote to Anna Semlyen, and I'd been inspired to see what it would cost us, bearing in mind the grant of £2400 and the forthcoming 'feed-in tariff' which will guarantee a financial return for 20 years.
Chris arrived soon after 11 and told us our roof was perfect for the photovoltaic panels, as it is South-facing, and the hot water panel is off to one side of the roof, leaving enough space for the electricity-producing ones. He calculated that we could get 6 panels on, which would generate 1200w whenever it was daylight. He told us that the feed-in tariff had been set somewhat above the expected figure, and was at 41.3pence per kwh. This system would cost in the region of £6500, but the grant would bring this down to within our reach at just over £4000, and would bring in a steady income from the electricity generated. He will send a detailed quote soon, and the company's electrician would visit early next week to check our electrics.
I liked Chris, we talked about quite a few green issues, social issues, personal politics, etc, and I would be happy to have his system. We'd have to borrow to pay them, would then pay back some of the loan (the Credit Union doesn't give penalties for early payback) when we got the grant, and we'd use about £2000 of our savings.
Chris left soon after midday and within half an hour, Jayne and Derek arrived from Hull. They contacted me through Vyouz, the virtual skip site. They wanted to give me some waste wood, and take away a sack of wood ash (this was free) and give me something for the large load of compost. They came in and had a cup of tea each, and we chatted about the stove, their allotment and lottie shop, and then we went down the garden to see where the compost makes itself. When we got back up to the top of the garden again, we loaded up their boot, and they offered £16 for perhaps about 90kg of compost. I was happy with this. Nice people, hope they enjoy using it!
I then had lunch, and chatted to Gill. Then I got a phone call... it was Chris from Ploughcroft. He said that he'd got bad news for me... he'd just heard that the Government had stopped the photovoltaics grant, as of last night. This was about 7 weeks before they were due to do this. This was a blow. With the added cost of £2400 to our final bill, we probably won't be able to put these panels on our roof... but we'll continue with finding out about the different installers and systems available.
Gill ironed my Fiddlesticks clothes and I got ready to go out to work... off to the Bishopthorpe Beavers, about 20 minutes cycle away. I'd done my circus show for them before Christmas and tonight it was balloons. I got changed and stuck inflated balloons between my unicycle spokes, I'd brought it along specially to hold them. The boys were delighted to see me and we had a brilliant hour, loads of fun.
At 7, I got changed back into 'civvies' and cycled back to my side of town, picking up a long branch on the way. I was due at St Nicks for a York in Transition meeting and I chaired, as well as participating. We had an enormous list of things we could be doing so we went through the list and kind of weeded some of them out, things we haven't got the time or personnel to do.
Home just before 10pm and all was well, I went onto the computer and dealt with emails and other stuff. At about 1.45am there were a series of short power cuts which made nearby house alarms go off and our fridge make a funny noise. Oh dear.