Tuesday, September 21, 2010

dentists, power etc.

I see on the news tonight we can expect our power bills to go up and keep going up. I really, really want to get off grid. It'll have to wait for the fullness of time - when we have the last of the kids through uni and can seriously turn to looking to own future again, but, even though it seems to involve quite a lot of initial capital, and then a fair amount of maintenance cost... it has to be less of a killer than having to try and crimp down and down. We got one of those power-measuring kits from the local council... intended to save you money. It said the freezer wasn't cold enough, so now our bills will be higher... heh.

I've always wanted to do this: so starting afresh will be a good reason to have to. We do need power for me to work, and besides I have no desire to return to the 'bad' aspects of self-sufficiency. There is a great deal of pleasure and good value and flavour and nutrition to be gained from catching your own fish and growing your own veggies. Not much benefit in spending several hours handwashing clothes and sheets. And lamp-light might be good for hiding the wrinkles, but it's lousy for reading. And getting up to shovel more coal into the steam-driven computer is a PITA. I've always wanted the best from both worlds, which I believe you can have by being selective.

Did the dentist today. Mutter - nice bloke - ex-South African and his radiographer wife. Diver and keen fisherman... and he x-rayed my niggly tooth and told me that the problem isn't a cracked or leaking filling it's a totally inadequate root canal, which has a low-grade chronic abcess gently poisoning me. This has been going on for quite some time, maybe even a couple of years. I had a similar issue a few years back and it just leaves one constantly mildly debilitated. Getting it fixed here, of course, is expensive which is why we tried to do it over there.


  1. I understand your pain. I've been putting off getting my tooth pulled and a bridge put in until we're back to being a two income family. And I'm just plain scared, which makes it easy to put off. Would be nice to be done with the pain, though, at least in that spot.

  2. In your copious spare time you really ought to read some this fellow's work.
    here's his blog

    Right now he's making a washing machine powered by an old bike.

  3. I can just picture me cycling while the washing spins! I demand a really comfortable saddle before we even think about it. I last rode a bike about 4 years ago, when I borrowed my nieces bike to cycle across town, and I had a very sore posterior for about 3 days afterwards.

  4. Steam driven computer sounds like an interesting project. One could probably do it using valves. If something is full of steam it is 1 if not 0. Your computation speed would be hideously slow....

    Not sure when the last time I rode a bike was....

    (Unicycling is more fun. Oh yes, you are not the craziest people I know. That goes to these three nutters: http://www.counterbalance.co.za )

  5. Um ja... I'd like to share a little reminiscence with you dear folk...

    You remember when we first moved out to the hills we had no elec for about a week. Then we went on from there to have no geyser or means of creating hot water (other than boiling buckets over the fire) for another 7 months or so. Yeah, I remember it well. No, I'm not smiling! And no, I don't look back on this fondly or with much humour! Maybe it will come in time... Like in another 100 years! Barbs, don't even look sideways at a unicycle in case it gets ideas...

    Off the grid - hell, yes! That would be lovely! We looked into that too to try and avoid the monthly connection and pollution of environment by Eish-kom(feel free to imagine the whole soap-box lecture here) - woulda cost us R200 000 just to get enough solar panels to run the house and would cover 2ha of (preferably flat - haha) land! Um, ja, that makes sense. In about 20 years when we really start to reap the benefits of this rather huge outlay, we have to sell up and retire and some other shmuck gets to benefit! Ofcourse, forward-thinking governments and power companies would subsidise such an outlay seeing as it would reduce demands on the system, but - yes, you spotted it! - forward-thinking combined with the words govt and power co. create a universal paradox!

    I'll stop ranting now and go and go breathe heavily into a paper bag until the fireworks across my vision start to fade...