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August 2018
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Running a Leaf (when you own the battery)

Running the Leaf between the 10th August 2017 to the 9th August 2018

If we’re talking about power consumption, we need to discuss the Leaf.  How much is it costing us to run, bearing in mind we are now funding every mile from our home electricity supply?

Month Distance travelled


Energy economy


Power consumption


CO2 (kg) Cost at £0.1507 per unit Cost per mile
July 251.5 4.2 59.7 70 £9.00 £0.04
June 200 4.2 47.6 55 £7.17 £0.04
May 260.4 4.2 61.5 72 £9.27 £0.04
April 146.2 4 36.8 40 £5.55 £0.04
March 388.1 4.2 92.8 107 £13.98 £0.04
February 395.4 3.9 103 109 £15.52 £0.04
January 413.4 3.9 106.5 114 £16.05 £0.04
December 353.2 3.6 97.2 98 £14.65 £0.04
November 348.3 4 87.7 96 £13.22 £0.04
October 375.8 4.4 84.9 104 £12.79 £0.03
September 303.9 4.4 68.9 84 £10.38 £0.03
August 198.9 4.3 45.5 55 £6.86 £0.03

At 15.07p a kWh, being more efficient makes a difference to our pence per mile.

There doesn’t seem to be much we can do to reduce our costs below 3p a mile without dramatically changing our “Energy economy”, where as doing 4.4 kWmiles  or using our solar panels to charge the car.  We do reasonably and often earn a “Platinum” badge from Nissan during the winter months but fail to regularly get above 5miles/kW (although I did that today 🙂 ).

We generate about a third of what we use: we live in East Anglia, not one of the really flat bits, but there’s not a huge gradient on my normal journey to work.

The majority of my journeys are to work: 14 mile round trip for 56p or £2.80 for the week.  I work 47 weeks a year, that means I spend £131.60 on my annual commute.

Getting 5.2 miles/kW

Concentrating on smoothness, planned acceleration and no sudden braking mean 5.2miles/kW is achievable.  I was lucky with the traffic – we live in blue light central with ambulances coming from the hospital along the main routes pretty much throughout the day.  Many drivers stop to allow them past.  I would get that as a great to do if it weren’t for all the traffic islands dotted about the A1214: if a driver doesn’t pay attention and remove themselves completely from the carriageway, the poor ambulance is not helped at all but stuck fast like the rest of us.

You need traffic islands to help pedestrians cross busy roads so there must be a better way for the traffic to work in these situations.  If you’re able to do the speed limit, isn’t the ambulance better off moving with the rest of the traffic?

The other option to getting more out of the Leaf could be to see if we could make use of Ovo’s offer as per this article.  Having just got out of a leasing agreement, not sure I’d want to sign up for another!


High life?

How on a minute, is there something you want to tell me?

What do you mean?

Well, you’ve blogged once in a blue moon the past year and this week, this is your fourth…

Oh, I had an operation last week and while I am not up to my usual fettle (I am sleeping nearly 9 hours a day at the moment), it’s a bit boring.  I am not up to the normal hurly burly of my job yet, but it is nice to catch up…   May I get back to the story, please?

OK, yes, please do.  What do you want to talk about?

Culinary adventures

I’m going to let words paint a picture (as I didn’t get my camera phone out in time): steamed salmon fillets with egg fried rice.

The solar cells are outputting an average 1kWh and our smart meter (and my blood glucose meter) suggest now is the time to cook this feast.

Sunday lunch is a big thing in our house.  We cook from scratch, something we love.  If there are three of us (as a min) we do the whole roast thing, but my husband is out and about today.

So what?

I’m setting the scene.  The great thing about this meal is that it takes less than 15 minutes, has some manual intervention but is otherwise simple.

Boil the water, add the rice, 5minutes later add the frozen peas and chop up some baby sweetcorn and add that a minute later.  Put on the microwave steamer with turbo cook: salmon for two is typically 220grams,so takes just under 6 minutes.

Fry up some spring onions or a finely chopped small onion.  When pinger goes for rice, drain rice and veggies and add an egg to the onions then tip in the rice and peas and baby sweetcorn.

When the pinger goes on the microwave, serve up the egg fried rice and salmon.  Tasty, simple, quick.  Not too bad on the washing up, especially if you do it while the plates are still warm.

So what?

This peaks out at 3.5kWh!  True the whole thing only takes 12 mins in total to cook, but that was a bit of a surprise.

3.5kWh for 10 minutes is 0.6 of a unit (8p), but still!  Boiled rice and vegetables would have been a maximum of 2.2kWh.

Should restaurants and ready meals take this into account for each dish to help us make ecological choices?  Should we do that ourselves on top of our other eco choices?

Microwaves are incrediably efficient – they do not heat anything up, but vibrate water.  I love them for cooking fish, I can cook a trout in 2minutes in my microwave and it’s delicious perfection.  As a student, this gave me high nutrition (especially protein and low in fat), was a bit special and simple to do.

Compared to a chop, it’s a bargin not only to buy but also to cook.

Enough to put you off your cuppa?

We had our smart meter fitted today.  Not only do we generate our own electricity (honestly, even today when the showers are continual, we are generating 140W) but we can see when to make the best use of that electricity.Smart meter

Given this has been a good year: from 1st January 2018 to the 9th August 2018 we have generated 2.8884 MWh but because we haven’t been able to match our consumption to our generated values, we’ve not been able to make the most of our generated power.  I’m happy to feed in but it would be good to lower the bills at the same time.

I get that, I definitely get that.  The smart meter will help you close the loop?

Absolutely!  I’m sitting in the kitchen, watching the rain pour outside seeing that we’ve used 0.55kWh of electricity and 1.28kWh of gas.

How are we using gas at the moment?  Oh, the boiler is getting back up to temperature from the power being disconnected.  Might be worth lagging the pipes in the garage for next time…

The kettle is frightening.  I made myself a cup of tea to settle down to write this blog and our consumption jumped up from 139Wh to 1.6kWh (not a bad kettle).  Chewing up 3p of electricity.  Not doing that too often in a day!

139Wh…  shouldn’t the house be zero during the summer?

Matching usage to consumption

Matching usage to consumption

Many background tasks go on in a house.  The fridge is on 24/7, cooling your food (and insulin) to keep it fresh.  I would expect that to be a good 70-150W of our 139Wh for two hours usage.

My husband works from home, so his computing equipment is another 30-60W.  Mine, today, doubles that and my son is also on his computer looking for a summer job.  Call that 100W or so.

The heating and pumps for the plumbing and the telephone system and chargers probably make up the remaining 10Wh or so.

If 2hrs of background tasks make 139Wh, 12 times that gives our background levels: 1.7kWh or 2 units, roughly 30p.

On a good charging day during the summer, we cover that for 9hours a day.

The hob uses 1.2kWh, the kettle nearer 2kWh as does the microwave.

At no time during August does the solar panels cover our hob.  Time for an induction hob and soft drinks over the summer?

Sounds like a plan 🙂

I have strict instructions from the family to “not get obsessed with the smart meter”.   I find it interesting.  A useful tool.

How much does it cost to have everylight in the kitchen?

Ray of sunshine?

We bought our Nissan Leaf on the 27th January 2014 out right apart from a 5 year lease on the battery, which gave us ownship of the battery at the end of the lease.

Only two years later we were told we were on a “Flex battery lease” which has no end date 😮

And we couldn’t get out of it, until last year.  This video from the Electric Vehicle Man (I know he’s in an ICE for this video, ignore it, that’s not the point) states that all cars on the Flex plan have this captured in their V5.

Except, ours doesn’t.

We also do not have a copy of the lease agreement from the Nissan dealer we bought the lease from.

I have raised a complaint with Nissan on this subject and asked what our status is, because we have nothing (including a statement from Nissan Finance) saying we’re on a flex plan.  Unless you ring them up.

We didn’t sign up for an indefinite lease: we tend to own cars for their life not trade them in every couple of years.  So if the car lasts for 39 years (it should get to 200,000 miles before the battery degrades to 20kWh instead of 24kWh and we’re doing 5,500 miles per annum at the moment), we’d have paid out £16,800 on the lease for a car worth no where near that for a battery originally worth £5,000.

By our understanding, we should have £1,900 to pay to own our battery.  Big difference.

We do really love the car, we really don’t love how it was sold to us and this confusion.

(What’s really irritating was we could have bought the battery on the day we bought, we had the cash).


So having phoned Nissan UK, we had a call from our local dealer who gave us a closure amount of £2203.48.  We did that yesterday.

Our Leaf is 100% ours.  😀

Lighting up my world

I ended up with a day on my hands. I could have spent it feeling sorry for myself (and did start down that route) before I picked myself up by the scruff of my neck and gave myself a shake down!

Get to the chase?  So what?

Over the past 5 years, I have had many entries in this blog regarding the installation of LED lights to replace halogens.

Yesterday, after 5 years, I realised the last part of that journey.

Not so hard was it?

Figure 1: Connection box

Figure 1: Connection box

Indeed not.  Every six months or so, I visited shops and on-line stores and finally found that the solution I was looking for did exist.

Cabinets lighting, in particular, downlighting spots: such lamps did come out a few years ago but having an existing solution in place I did not want to replace more than just the lights.  When we first moved in I assessed what we had and knew I wanted to keep my life as simple as possible.

Last weekend, I found what I was looking for. supplied so many options I ended up using a pair of callipers to work out what I had and my approach.

What was the approach?

Figure 2: The driver

Figure 2: The driver

We had some G20 bulbs in situ.  They were 63mm in diameter and about 30mm in depth.  My husband and I worked out how to remove them and then I looked at how they were wired into the mains.

Most of them went through a “connection point”.  Doing anything different (and I could go straight to the mains) would increase the complexity, so I went for the Leyton TOP6 connected 2W LED spots.  Dimensions looked great as they should make use of or cover up the existing fittings perfectly, see Figure 1: connection box above.  In turn that was connected to a “driver” in LED parlance (a transformer for the halogens) seen in Figure 2.

I made my order (for the record we had 12 20W fittings we were replacing.  That’s 240W an hour consumption – we never used the lights more than 10 minutes at a time).  The bulbs turned up on Monday!

I chose three connection points, basically, I went a little more cautiously and had 2 15W ones and a single 6W.  With an afternoon on my hands, I decided to make a start.

Taking out the old

Basically, a flat head screwdriver was my friend and I prised off the lamp holder from the fittings reasonably easily.  That exposed the screws attaching the holders to the cabinets.  Towards the end, it was taking 3mins to remove one.

As the halogens had a similar connection to the transformers, I un-clipped the lamp from the connection point and pulled through the wires.

I popped out the LED lamps from their holders and fed then through the wire channels and finally killed the power to insert the LED “driver” for this part of the circuit.

The first run of four took just shy of an hour from start to finish.

Easy-peasy then!

Figure 3: Lit cabinet

Figure 3: Lit cabinet

Inadvertently, I had chosen the easiest ones to do but the second set were pretty straight forward too.  A similar job, made slightly easier by the fact there were no “in cabinet” lights in Figure 3.

The last set were the hardest.  The four lights were integrated in to the mains by the weirdest method possible.  Two of the lights seemed to be connected directly to the mains.

I simplified the wiring circuit, moved the connector to being on top of the units rather than attached to the bottom  of a set and got my husband to pull out the old wiring (bless him).

Connected the pattress and switched on the power.  To find nothing on the lighting circuit was working.  D?^*.  The fuses seemed fine – had I managed to not wire in the mains?

I disconnected everything and tried the power again. Still nada.  What was going on?

My husband finally noticed the RCD had switched so flipped.   I opened up the pattress and properly shielded the earth (I know, it has been hot here the past view weeks and the 20th July was no exception) it back up and low, there was light.

The one pattress I had kept in circuit was ditched and we tried one of the others (though I think it was dimensions more than anything else).  It then worked.

Was it worth it?

Last night we sat in the kitchen after watching a movie with the cabinet lights on and none of the ceiling lights.   Absolutely 😀

The 11 lights now use 22W electricity so an unit of electricity in 45 hours (or 12p to run the lights for 45 hours).

Writing your business case for a Freestyle Libre

After self funding for a year, I went to my GP and got my Freestyle Libre on prescription.

For me, it costed in like this.

Costs of running my insulin replacement therapy on blood tests

Item Cost per item Number of items Total cost per month
Freestyle Optium strips £19.89 4 (I know, that’s 200 blood tests a month) £79.56
Type a lancets £8.99 1 £8.99
Grand total £88.55

(It should be born in mind, type 1 diabetics do not pay VAT for equipment essential to looking after their diabetes and post and pack is from the Pharmacy – we’re not taking into account what the tax payer pays per prescription).


Typically, my Hb1Ac is between 7% and 7.9%.

Costs of running my insulin replacement therapy with Freestyle Libre

Item Cost per item Number of items Total cost per month
Freestyle Libre £35 2 £70

Price update: This is from a high street drug store, Superdrug who are selling this at cost to them (and the price charged to the NHS – you cannot order on line and it needs to be a Superdrug with a pharmacy.  Please remember to fill in your VAT form.


Between 6.2% and 6.5%.

It’s actually cheaper?

Yep, that’s right.  There is a shortage in the UK, but as opposed to doing 200 odd tests a month, or an average of 8 during the working day and 4-6 on the weekend, I am doing 14 odd scans a day.  I test when I wouldn’t normally.

If things had been going well recently, it probably wouldn’t be as many as that if I am honest, much closer to 5 or 6.  It has allowed me to tune my basal rate really accurately especially over night where normally that is a best guess.

I can see that losing 5lbs in weight has reduced not only my basal requirements but also my meal ratios and tuning my ratios against my food has become trivial.

It does not mean I am not diabetic, but filling in the gaps between tests is priceless.

You’re a fan then?

I’ve tried three different CGMS systems (from Medtronic, Dexcomm and the Freestyle) and I love it.  When I meet new diabetics, I am often surprised they are not given this at least initially to help them tune their doses.

In hospitals, it reduces the need to wake diabetics up to test them which allows them to recover better.

It does not beep and it tells you what has happened not what is happening though.  All current CGMS use interstitial fluid not blood so it’s about 10-15 minutes behind.

But, yes, I’ve been using it for a year and it has helped me enormously.  I wish I’d known my phone could have been used instead of requiring the reader.

If I didn’t have funding, using a sensor while restabilising was the approach I took.  If you mixed a matched, say 6-8 sensors a year, that would bring the costs down and give you the information you need to make qualified decisions.

I > ^∨

I’m hoping this blog makes sense as I am using it to make some sense of what has been happening to me the past few weeks.

Like what?

Well, following my accident last August, while it is obvious that some things have healed (and healed well), there have been some unforeseen consequences.

See above?

I’ve been a type 1 a long time and in that time I have tried to keep my blood sugar as “normal” (aka euroglycaemic) as possible.  My parents both felt that would give me not only the chance of living as long as possible but as healthily as I could.

It means that while I have a good tolerance for low blood sugar, I feel physically awful if my blood sugar is above 10mmol/l more than an hour after food.

I belong to a type 1 group on face book, and that’s highlighted some other things.  Since my accident, I have had that many contiguous nights’ sleep (i.e. sleeping without waking up).  It’s not been uncommon for me to wake a few times between 1pm and 4pm.

This, along with my body completing the healing of the five fractures in my face has led to some unacceptable behaviour especially with concern to me keeping control of my temper.


Not wow: this is in no way good.  Thankfully I’ve got much better control over the past couple of months but I have been left with a semi-permanent headache in the right top half of my head.  This gets much worse when I am tired.

I’m pretty much always tired and the discoveries of my “temper tantrums” is not helping.  Not least because no-one raised it with me.  Obviously, many of the people I work with don’t know me, but I’m usually pretty ease going and have asked them to let me know if I am not behaving “rationally”.  That didn’t happen, so I have been left which much higher blood sugars than I needed to have for longer which causes, well, damage.

What a mess!

What’s with the title?

I > ^∨ is I am greater than my highs and lows and is used as a motto by a few type 1 groups.  At the moment, I just feel ∨!

It does not help that this piece of research came out last March: .

This is written in lay man’s terms and talks about people who have had diabetes for a long time (without defining what long is).  I am coming up to 41 years, which is a long time by anyone’s definition.

There’s also some consolidation of the fact I was diagnosed before the age of 7: this seems to be much more aggressive in its progression.  Part of me feels proud that I am doing so well but that’s pretty terrifying.

Sounds scary.

In many ways, I have dramatically tightened everything up and having finally trusted my abilities, I am no longer taking three chocolate bars a day while in the office, I am feeling much brighter.

It is surprising people assume if my behaviour is off that I must be hypo.  If anything, I am passive and laid back when my blood sugar is low unless I feel the need to put in some adrenaline to help recover.  That’s hard work and almost always ensures I get a post low headache.

I do need to make amends.

Windows 10 fun and games

I have been working as a delivery manager for a large company specialising in complex integration problems.

Essentially, up to now my role has been working out how we can make best use of our toolset.

That is coming to an end, so I am now looking at the technical aspects of my role.

Which brings up to mind a conversation I had with Heinz Wolff back in 2009: “security is more than keeping people out.  It’s about ensuring safe and consistent delivery of service.”

What’s this got to do with Windows?

My Windows 10 machine has developed an interesting glitch – every so often the UI would freeze.  The mouse moved, but the keyboard and mouse buttons would do nothing.

I initially thought, make a backup and check for viruses.

The virus check raised no concerns so I waited to see what would happen.

The problem became more persitent.  That led me to the manufacturers web site who suggested a system reset 😮

Ouch.  Given that advice I went through the install log and worked backwards.  I don’t know precisely which piece of software was causing the issue, but I have cleared out a whole load of old stuff and it seems to have had the desired effect.

Not only should that improve my normal work performance but also some of the fun pieces I am looking at like Kali Linux…

Thank you xox

Today I got to directly (rather than indirectly) benefit from the Wayback machineSearch from Google...

Back in January, I lost my blog due largely to not understanding precisely how Centos’ installation programme actually worked and lost my blog’s archive.

Thankfully, my blog has been periodically captured on the Wayback machine since 2008 when I started it!

Nothing else of my website is archived, as this is one of the few bits publicly available.

But mine is not the only site, the Wayback machine is now storing 333 billion web pages!

Actually, isn’t that a bit dodgy?  What about privacy?

OK, this is the grown up bit.  If something appears on the web you don’t want to appear on the web, you need to do something about it as soon as possible.

You have a right to privacy and the law defends that right.

The Wayback machine does not store content on the Dark web, that’s a whole different ball game.

Taking some time to smell the roses – recovered from the Wayback machine

[Originally posted on October 26th, 2016]

While my man never promised me a rose garden, we did manage to buy a house with one:  Here is a photo from June of one of the finer blooms.  One of the best things about the whole rose bush outside your front door is that you do get to see them during the summer.

20160626_163118What may not happen is getting the scent.  Every other day, I check the bushes and dead head the ones past their best.  I do this without gloves which bathe my hands in rose oil: the expensive resource in many perfumes.  It softens my hands, smells amazing and gives me amazing looking roses.

There is no downside to this job.

When I come home each evening, the roses and my family greet me.  It’s a good life.

Pretty, so what?

Yesterday, I test rode a NCS50R which is a 50cc moped from Honda.  In the UK, these 4 stroke bikes are limited to 28mph but the really interesting thing is the fact they can be ridden once a 16 year old goes through a Compulsory Basic Training (aka CBT) on a learner plate.

Don’t you have a full license? I remember talk…

Yes, I do, but child #1 turns 16 soon and this would mean his 45 minute commute to school could be done on such a machine in less than 10 minutes including putting on the safety equipment and parking up at the other end.

While in the UK, such machines are seen as gateway vehicles (what you drive until you’re allowed to drive something better), they have a 140mpg consumption rating, depending on how you ride it (115mpg is more likely in day to day use).

As a motorcyclist, the storage is amazing – it will take a helmet under the seat and the one I tried had a top box (like a pizza delivery bike, only curvier and more sturdy looking) which would allow my kid to store his books going to school and the waterproofs ready for the journey home.

Ah, 16 year old on a bike, insurance must be steep!

I thought that.  But he has a 2.5 mile commute to school by road so his annual mileage is likely to be less than 2K miles.  I got quotes from Carol Nash for 1.5K and 2.5K and there were £30 between the two.  He would need to lock it – these machines are so light, they can be picked up by me, let allowed a dedicated man with a van…

Safety, what about that?

The great thing about the CBT, is someone other than his parents will take him through why being seen is important.  The use of the horn and judging gaps.

Of course, he may not pass his CBT.  He may not like riding a moped.  In which case, no problem!

But if a third of all cars swapped for a moped or motorcycle, there would be no congestion on Britain’s roads.  These options need to be examined and considered.

While it would be ideal if everyone were keen to use push bikes, the weather is not suitable for significant periods.  Wind and rain make cycling horrible and put the possessions you are carrying at risk of damage.

Motorcycles exist where carrying luggage is integral to the design, much like a boot on a car.  The Honda NC700X is a great example, storing a small laptop in the “fuel tank space”.

Having ridden the NCS50R, I was impressed with its handling and performance.  I wouldn’t want to take it out on the A1 but round town, at junctions and going up some steep hills, it was great.

A 5.5L tank at £1.16p per litre costs £6.38 to fill up and that gives you 140 miles for £6.38 or 21p per mile, plus servicing, insurance, tax (£17 per annum) and tyre wear.

Anyone for an electric moped?