Archive for the ‘bus life’ Category

Solar freebies

June 17, 2008

Today marks the start of the time when we can camp without constantly watching the battery meter. Although we have three whacking great house batteries for all our on-board electricals, (as distinct from truck batteries which start the motor) we can only go four to five days, with very judicious usage of lights etc, before we have to either go on a long and costly road trip to top up using the alternator or hook up to the national grid at a campground, again at some cost. Covering the power usage has always been a bit of a problem, especially since we decided to go for a battery fridge, rather than a three-way combo which utilises battery, mains and gas to run. We rush around at night, turning off any lights that aren’t in immediate use, tutting at each other for our wastefulness.

But now, we have three large 60watt amorphous silicon solar panels adorning the roof and they are pumping in totally free electricity faster than the fridge and this laptop combined can use it. And the day is overcast, with occasional rain. Once the sun comes out, the free stuff will simply pour in, in all probability keeping the batteries topped up to the high 90% mark for most of the day.

We chose the amorphous silicon over mono-crystalline because they will work even in the shade, even on cloudy days, even if some random leaf drops down onto the panel. The alternative mono-crystalline panels are divided into sections and a single leaf shielding one part of a section blocks the input to up to 50% of the panel output, depending on where the leaf falls. Amorphous silicon panels are only blocked in the area that the leaf lies on.

This move will mean that our day-to-day costs will be reduced somewhat because we won’t be tied so much to high cost campgrounds. Freedom camping beckons!


Eyes are everywhere…..

February 9, 2008

It is hard to believe that we have been living in the bus for over five months already. Yup, five. The reality still hasn’t sunken in somehow. It’s there every day, of course, but it still simply feels like a long, long holiday. Not that there haven’t been adjustments to make, and plenty of them, too. Having to line up for a shower if you choose a busy time, like first or last thing, having to remember that the toilet cassette needs emptying NOW, without delay, having to share your every outside moment, and a number of inside ones as well, with complete and total strangers, not knowing who will end up being your neighbour for the night; it all takes some getting accustomed to. One of the things that I didn’t really allow myself to think about before we embarked on this was the complete and utter lack of privacy you have when you live in a campground. The instant you step outside your bus, you are in the public eye. People watch you, all the time. Natural curiosity, I suppose, but it becomes a little wearing. You are watched when you go to the laundry, watched when you go to shower, when you walk the dog, collect the mail, connect the hose for water, put the rubbish or the washing out, bring the washing in, go for the mail, all day, every day, ad nauseum. Even when inside, unless you live in constant curtained seclusion you are under the gaze of interested parties who are curious about your abode or, to be honest, often straight-out nosy and for a person who is in many ways intensely private, this has been no easy road to travel. Probably just as well that I didn’t think too hard about this particular aspect of our new life, or I may well have put the brakes on the whole crazy scheme. The other permanents seem to feel this too, and you can generally guess fairly accurately who is a permanent and who is just enjoying a holiday by the way you are greeted, or not greeted. The holiday-makers grin inanely and babble on about the great/nasty/unseasonable weather, or the wonderful/ratty/dilapidated ablutions, while the permanents have a strong tendency to walk like blinkered horses, eyes fixed in front and a little downwards. It becomes the only way to have a little privacy, I suppose. We are kind of in the middle of the transition at present; still sociable enough to say hello and smile, but not willing to chat with every Tom, Dick, Harry or Jane who wants to stop and natter.


I’ll have to work on this…

New Beginnings

November 26, 2007

I have been putting off blogging here for a while now, mainly because there is so much catching up to do that I hardly know where to start. Which, of course, leads to that vicious cycle of perpetuating a problem.

In brief:

we have now been living full-time in the bus for almost three months.

we have had the dreaded viral flu. Being sick in a bus is simply no joke.

we have scattered the Manpet’s mothers ashes and taken a three-week holiday – and desperately needed it was too.

I started and failed miserably to complete this year’s Nano.

we have internet in the bus – mobile broadband, (yay!) which is usually pretty broad, but occasionally fades to narrow or no damn band at all, depending upon location.

our grand-daughter is growing and developing like a weed.

That’s it for this time, folks. More later…..