21 Jun 2017, 9:37am
living intentionally Suffolk:
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  • A FIRE approach to air conditioning

    One of the advantages of being an employee is that The Man usually air-conditions your cubicle. Well, for knowledge workers, anyway, rather than, say, brickies or landscape gardeners. And the heat is on in England at the moment.

    Way back when, in the 2003 heatwave DxGF and I bought a standalone air conditioner and we thrashed that unit, but it used a horrific 3kW to sort of chill one room. It seems to take far more energy to cool something down through a certain temperature difference than it does to heat it up by the same difference, I guess these things are dreadfully inefficient, particularly standalone units that try and pump out the waste heat carried in air as opposed to dual systems with an inside and outside unit with the waste heat carried in a circulating liquid. So you get a 3kW heater in the room to add to the load. Not only that, you have to open the window a crack to get the exhaust hose out.

    We were grateful for that in 2003, but it made an unconscionable noise and power was cheaper in those days. 1

    Dunwich beach

    So it needs some lateral thinking. I need a large body of water, and the North Sea will do. Time to park myself down by the waterside and chill out to the waves –

    and the peaceful sound 2. There was a pleasant breeze off the sea – it was almost too cold.

    I did look around and wonder why the other punters weren’t at work – some were retirees but half seemed to be families. I can’t really moan that the beach was teeming like Benidorm.

    So the ermine air conditioning isn’t really that portable. But it does have some extra features, like the fine ruins of Greyfriars Friary

    Greyfriars, Dunwich

    and it seemed rude not to celebrate the moment with some fine dining

    Local strawberries and cream from the Friday Street farm shop just off the A12

    Londoners travelling up the A12 for a weekend break may want to note the  Friday Street farm shop, which is a few hundred yards detour off the A12 on the London-bound side. The strawberries and cream set me back £3.23 which I thought was a good deal for quality in both items, and they have a good range of foodie delectables. I paid roughly twice that in fuel. There are some that may carp that you can’t spend £10 for gratuitous decadence every day, but I have done my time of ultra-frugality now. No nightingales to be heard in Dunwich forest, where I’ve heard them in previous years, it’s probably too late in the season now

    Dunwich is noted for mostly having disappeared into the sea. In 1250 it was a rich port town of 4000 souls. Since then the sea has gnawed away about 1.5km of the coastline, so most of the old town has fallen into the sea. It is now a village of about 100 people.

    The last surviving gravestone from All Saints church, lost to the sea. This was Jacob Forster who departed this life March 12th 1796, age 38

    The sound of the sea is not far from Jacob Forster’s grave. It’s coming for him after two centuries of undisturbed repose…

    Mr Money Mustache will no doubt consider seeking air conditioning an act of pusillanimous weakness, but the trouble is that no part of Britain is very far from the sea, and in a maritime climate it always really wants to rain. Even on a hot day with blue sky – the inherent desire to rain results in high humidity. So things like swamp coolers work fine at the lower latitudes of LA, but are a waste of space and money here.

    In LA at the same temperature this would be way down towards the 40% mark

    So I am leveraging the fact that I own my own time, and summer is a good time to live like a king, reasonably cheaply. Strawberries and cream by the seaside is pretty good 😉

    Incidental rant: why doesn’t Britain have proper cadastral records?

    I came across this notice walking from the car park to the Friary:

    No cadastral records, no bloody clue

    Every other European country has a definitive land register of who owns what. But not in Britain. Because all the land was seized in 1066,  what the King didn’t keep for the Crown was handed out to the aristocracy, which hoards it and passes it down the generations, much of the land in the UK is not on the Land Registry, so you get situations like this.

    In any French village you can ask to look at the cadastral records at the Mairie to know who holds a piece of land. Isn’t it about time that we sorted ourselves out and demanded of the aristocracy and anyone else that it bloody well registers every single claim to every piece of land it asserts that it owns, and if no claim is made after 10 years then tough shit, it belongs to us all? After all, if it isn’t registered then Lord Warburton-Smythe can simply make sure everyone looks the other way when his sprog Jimmy Warburton-Smythe-Pollock take over that part of the family estate when he pegs it because no bugger knows about that acreage, because it isn’t on the records. Decent cadastral records would help catch sneaky buggers avoiding inheritance tax and would be a prerequisite to introducing a land value tax. It smacks of dire incompetence not being able to find out who owns what of a scarce and finite resource, and one every other civilised country has solved. But since the lack of transparency serves the aristocracy perfectly well, they won’t let anything be done about out it, the piss taking bastards.

    Notes:

    1. Americans will be tapping their heads, and go just get damn split system aircon, but I wonder how you have any hearing left. When I arrived in LA after a long flight and got to the motel the room aircon unit was on, and I thought I can’t hack this racket, so I turned it off. You don’t do that in LA in July – not getting any sleep was preferable to being fried 😉 Airconditioners I’ve come across in Europe are usually made by Japanese firms like Mitsubishi and are much quieter, but that thing was an all-American GE unit and made a terrible noise. Elsewhere in the city aircon seemed unwholesomely rowdy until you got to a Fortune 500 company offices or a bank. I guess people just get used to the noise.
    2. the intermittent rumbling is sadly the wind, I only had a handheld rig as I wasn’t expecting to do any recording.
    5 Jul 2011, 1:00pm
    simple living Suffolk:
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  • A tranquil Suffolk weekend away

    This post is about something which is about as unfrugal as you can get, gratuitous travelling. Maybe it’s the mad dogs and Englishmen sort of thing and summer is breaking out…

    The county of Suffolk is charming and pretty, and DGF and I though we might try going away at home so to speak. A long time ago she had stayed in a B&B in Southwold and was surprised at the number of weekenders from London who were up there, and also how well they seemed to know the county. We were trying to work out why, and came to the conclusion Suffolk is is quite a rural and tranquil county reasonably close to London and easy to get to from there. The relative isolation in the bulge of East Anglia such that nobody goes through it to get anywhere else, there are no motorways in the county for instance.

    We haven’t been away for a fair old time, but the weather looked good and there’s no point in living in a beautiful county if you don’t make use of it every once in a while 🙂 So I thought I’d share some of the local treats.

    We started off near Aldeburgh on Friday night with some fish and chips from Aldeburgh Fish and Chips. This place has a seriously good rep, because the fish is fresh.

    Aldeburgh fish & chips, unfortunately eaten before I'd though to take a picture 🙂

    You do have to put up with a fair old queue, this next photo was taken on a chilly December day and there was still a long line.

    Aldeburgh Fish & Chips still has a queue on a cold December's day!

    Then if was off to find a suitable spot to eat next to the long shingle beach with the roar of the sea as a background. The beach at Aldeburgh is very long, and though of course at the town itself there will be enough other people, but it was easy enough to find seclusion here. We went a little way along the coast road north of the town towards Thorpeness, past the Maggi Hambling shell sculpture to more isolated parts of the beach.

    Our fish was very fine indeed. If you’re into self-catering instead and want really fresh fish then Aldeburgh beach is a good place to get it at one of the local fish stalls selling fresh fish just in

    Fresh fish stall selling locally landed fish at Aldeburgh

     

    Aldeburgh Beach

    This area is a nature reserve and as the dawn broke there was birdsong against the crashing of the waves, including this flock of linnets that appeared in the gorse bushes on the landward side of the road.

    [audio:http://simple-living-in-suffolk.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/110702-0714_linnet_aldeburgh_USER0005_hpf100.mp3|titles=Suffolk linnets]

    Dawn breaking over the Aldeburgh coastline

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