Welcome to the latest blog from Le Shack on April 2nd 2021
Our abode may be a humble affair but this week we became a two-shower household. I can see you imagining that we have thrown up an extension in the last couple of weeks and now have a de-luxe new bathroom with a fancy shower.
Or perhaps not.
What we have is the same shower, ie our galvanised iron bucket, but it now has two shower heads in it. The first one that we put in, and which we have been using over the winter, takes hot water from the water heater, powered by the generator. However, we find the noise from the generator rather intrusive and, given the success of our solar panels for keeping our batteries topped up, we have been toying with the idea of constructing a second shower system that is solar powered, which can be used much more during the spring and summer months.
The picture below shows you the heart of our new system.
A length of black hosepipe has been fixed to a board, coiled round and round, and then filled with water. Once it is placed in the sun the water in the pipe heats up very quickly. This is our new hot water storage ‘tank’ and as you can see no expense has been spared!
Back in the cabin, we have ‘borrowed’ the pump and the shower head from the caravan and fitted them inside the shower. This pump takes it’s power from the batteries which in turn are powered by our existing solar panels, so no need for the generator at all under this system.
All we need now is to empty the contents of the black hose into a big green bucket with an immersible pump placed at the bottom of it, add some cold water as it is scalding hot, turn on the pump and hey presto – shower number two. And the good news with this secondary system is that it gives us much more water so we can have a longer shower. It is also absolutely free, relying on power from the sun and so further reducing the cost of fuel for the genny. On cloudy days we have to revert to the generator shower – or just stay dirty and wait until the sun comes out again! We can also use this system for doing the hand washing. A win-win situation I think.
It’s an interesting thing, this sustainable lifestyle. It is constantly evolving and each modification seems to move us further along the scale of self-sufficiency and further away from our old conventional lives. We are both quite happy with this, although I have to admit there are times when I would give anything for a long, hot soak in a bath, surrounded by softly glowing candles and a glass or two of bubbly. When we finally get back to the UK and can visit people I shall make the most of any opportunity to have a bath!
Talking about getting back to the UK – or not – we have just heard that all of France will be going into lockdown number three on Saturday. It is referred to as ‘lockdown-lite’ which is meant to make a bitter pill more palatable. Not sure if it does, but it still seems that this was the right thing to do, given the rising numbers and problems in the hospitals. There is a long list of what we can and cannot do, but in short we have a 7pm curfew, can travel a max of 30 km for essential shopping only, can walk or take exercise a maximum of 10km from the house. Everybody who can work from home should do so, and the Easter school holiday dates have been changed and amalgamated so that all the schools will be closed. The lockdown lasts for four weeks initially and will then be reviewed depending on progress.
Yet again I am so thankful that we are here. Michael has already been walking up to 30 km a day, and I now have to try and up my game so I can do longer walks. We did 10 km yesterday in 25 degrees of heat and that was enough for me. I’ve spent years walking in UK weather and I cope better with that than with the heat. In terms of filling our time the garden is going to be fit for the Chelsea Flower Show if this continues. Keep active, spend as much time outside as possible, grow vast numbers of vegetables, drink lots of wine – four rules to get through yet another lockdown.
I’ll leave you with some more pretty picture of flowers, some from the garden, some from our walks. For those of you who are finally getting out and about, having been stuck in your own lockdown for months, I hope you enjoy it, despite the fact that I know it still isn’t exactly normal. I am sure things will be much better here in a month or two and maybe we can get back out on the road, or the water, and begin to put this behind us. No hint of trying to convince myself in that sentence at all!!!
And that’s it for this week. Take care of yourselves.