December 2018


Saturday 1st

6 to 12 to 9°C. 373Wh. The mild cloudy damp weather continues into December.


Continued preparing the walls and ceiling of the hall, staircase and landing for repainting.


Sunday 2nd

 8 to 14 to 9°C 896Wh. More mild cloudy weather with a strong westerly wind and some short heavy showers.

I have finished all the potting on for the time being now all the primulas are in 1.5L pots.

Monday 3rd

 12 to 8 to 2°C. 858kWh. Another cloudy damp day but this time the temperature was falling all day ending with a clear starry night.


Started painting the ceilings of the landing and staircase.

Tuesday 4th

 -1 to 5 to 3°C. 1.63kWh. Cold sunny start but clouded over to a cold grey afternoon and evening.


Started moving some of the chrysanthemums into larger pots before they die back for the winter. Some of them have plenty of healthy shoots already.

Wednesday 5th

 3 to 8 to 6°C. 47Wh. Very dark and rainy day (8mm in total). Finally cleared after dark to a starry night with a thin crescent moon but even so, quite mild for a December night.

Continued painting the ceilings of the hall and landing.

Thursday 6th

 4 to 12 to 11°C. 300Wh. The temperature rose overnight to 11°C by 9am but it was another very dark damp day with some light rain showers.


Another coat of paint on the ceilings and then continued to move some of the more robust chrysanthemums into 7.5 or 5L pots.

Friday 7th

 3 to 8 to 3 to 6°C. 1.78kWh. Cleared overnight with a fall in temperature by the morning. Slightly brighter in the morning but back to grey skies and rain in the afternoon and early evening when it cleared again but warmer.


Saturday 8th

 7 to 11 to 7°C. 2.02kWh. Cloudy with a few brighter periods but also some drizzly showers. Windy making it feel cold than the thermometer suggested


Decided to carry on with painting rather than working outside in the damp wind.


Sunday 9th

7 to 8 to 4°C. 1.66kWh. Wet and windy with a few sunny intervals.

Monday 10th

 3 to 8 to 5°C. 1.46kWh. Mainly cloudy but with less wind it felt a little warmer.


Continued repotting the chrysanthemums in 7.5 and 5L pots.

Tuesday 11th

 5 to 7 to 5°C. 545Wh. Another cloudy day but at least it was dry and only a light breeze so managed to go for my bike ride before lunch.

Went to the opticians in the afternoon and by the time wee got back it was coming dark. So that is another day gone.

Wednesday 12th

 5 to 7 to 2°C. 612Wh. Another cloudy day feeling colder in the westerly wind. Cleared in the evening.


Finished re-potting the long stemmed chrysanthemums. A bit short of the lighter colours, white, cream and yellow and not many red or mauve so I might order some new stock for next year.

Thursday 13th

 0 to 4 to -1°C. 2.04kWh. Brighter but with a very cold wind.

Spent most of the afternoon seiving soil and compost to make another 8 x 50L crates of JI3 compost so I can continue repotting the dahlias, zantedeschia and tigridia bulbs and maybe some of the lillies. At least the hard work kept me reasonably warm; the sun is too low to warm up the polytunnel much at this time of year. Even so some of the Valencia broad beans overwintering in pots are flowering though without bees to pollinate them I don't think we will get an early crop!

Friday 14th

-2 to 2 to 0°C. 2.48kWh 800W max. Sunny but very cold in the easterly breeze.


Not a day for working outside so finished painting the walls of the landing, staircase and hall.

Saturday 15th

 -2 to 3 to 5°C. 6Wh. A very dark cloudy day with 6mm rain and a cold SE wind. But it did get warmer as the day progressed and, even though the ground was very cold, the rain didn't freeze; it wasn't even sleety.

Apart from when it snows, covering the PV panels, this is the lowest amount of electricity we have ever generated.

Sunday 16th

 0 to 6 to 4°C. 1.42kWh. A slightly better day with some brightness in the morning and less breeze. Late in the afternoon it started raining quite for a couple of hours, around 3mm but then cleared again to broken cloud.

Continued cleaning up the short stemmed chrysanthemums. I have also ordered 20 new all different chrysanthemum plants from a local grower in Cheshire which will be coming in mid February. They are named varieties and I hoping to keep them labelled correctly when I propogate from them. The ones we have now were mainly from and unnamed mixture I bought around 8 years ago. Even those that were named got mixed up due to birds pulling them out of the pots. We have the same problem with named hyacinths and tulips.

Monday 17th

 0 to 7 to 8°C. 2.11kWh 600W max. Mainly cloudy with a few sunnier periods. Slowly getting warmer into the evening with a more southerly breeze.


Continued repotting the summer bulbs and tubers, this time the zantedeschias.

Tuesday 18th

 7 to 9 to 3°C. 57Wh . Another dark cloudy windy day with 6mm of rain, finally clearing in the evening.


Not a day for working outside so did some more painting.

Wednesday 19th

 3 to 7 to 4°C. 1.68kWh 500W max. Some sunshine in the morning but clouded over by midday and started raining late in the afternoon (2mm)

Decided to clear the gutters and downpipes now that there is no more leaf-fall but only got those round the conservatory cleared before it started raining.

Thursday 20th

 4 to 8 to 5°C. 1.77kWh 700W max. Bright start in the morning but thick cloud by midday and 2mm of rain in the afternoon and early evening.


Most exciting thing today was a telephone call purporting to come from the Her Majesty's Revenue.and Customs. They were taking out a law suit against me for unpaid taxes said a woman with a posh voice inviting me to press 1 for more information. No way I was going to do that!. Half an hour later they rang again.

Looked on the HMRC site and sure enough it is a scam aimed at frail and elderly people, some of whom have been defrauded of quite large sums of money. On the vermin scale these scum are well below rats and cockroaches. These creatures are only acting naturally and yet often suffer extermination. These criminals know what they are doing preying on the vulnerable but extermination is not allowed.

Friday 21st

 5 to 9 to 6°C. 785Wh 300W max. Light rain or drizzle all night and into the morning. Bright for a short time around midday but then be came cloudy and showery for the rest of the afternoon and evening.


Started repotting the dahlias. The Bishop's Children I grew from seed have produced at least 5 large tubers and will only just fit in a 4L pot. I look forward to some interesting flowers from them, which is what is promised..

Saturday 22nd

 4 to 10 to 4°C. 1.68kWh 1.2kW max. Cloudy morning then a short period of sunny weather around lunchtime and feeling quite warm in the afternoon out of the breeze.


Warm enough to start painting the outside of the house, starting with the back wall of the conservatory. This is the only time I can do this part before the daffodils start coming through.

Sunday 23rd

 4 to 6 to 4°C. 128Wh. Dark clouds with light rain for most of the day, 8mm in total.


Started painting the doors and staircase panels.

Monday 24th

 2 to 7 to 1 to 3°C. 1.98kWh 1kW max. Cold foggy start, clearing to a sunny late morning and afternoon but not very warm in the easterly wind. Cooled further after dark but then warmed up as the wind moved to the south and clouded over again.


Quite warm (11°) in the polytunnel so continued to pot on the dahlias, listening in the afternoon to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on the radio; the best part of Christmas in my opinion.

Tuesday 25th

 5 to 9 to 6°C. 469Wh. More of a grey rather than white Christmas. Overcast and still.


As usual broke our vegetarian diet with a cockerel, though it was pasture fed and had a good life before its demise, which is more than many of the barn reared turkeys and chickens other people were eating.


Continued to repot the dahlias in the afternoon. Some are huge and only just fit a 10L pot. Others have divided with more than one stem attached to its own tubers so we will end up with more.



Wednesday 26th

 4 to 9 to 5°C. 989Wh. Mainly overcast with a few brighter periods, mild, but very little sign of the sun.


This is the first time I have ever had to move a dahlia into a 15L pot. It has 8 stems but won't split.

Thursday 27th

 6 to 9 to 7°C. 248Wh. Another grey mild day.

Finished the dahlias. Pat is going shopping tomorrow so I can take over the kitchen sink to clean up all my plant labels in the morning.

Friday 28th

 7 to 11 to 9°C. 1.25kWh. Another mainly cloudy but mild December day with some sunshine around noon.


Spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon cleaning the old writing off several hundred plant labels. I used to use a kitchen scouring cloth to do this but I discovered that a wet and dry sanding sponge, which is really for rubbing down paintwork before coats, is more efficient.

I don't do this job every year but just when I have a really large box full of old labels. It takes a long time scrubbing the writing off each one. New ones don't cost much to buy but I hate wasting anything, being one of the greatest of recyclers. Quite the opposite of the members of what has become mainly a throw-away society.

Saturday 29th

 9 to 12 to 4°C. 1.29kWh 500W max, Very mild overnight and into the afternoon. Then the breeze picked up, moving to the east and the sky cleared to a cooler evening.


I haven't been up a ladder to the top of the house since I broke my hip but today I did while clearing out the gutters. The two flat roofs were covered in large mounds of moss and several slates had slipped on the roof. So I spent most of the day clearing up the moss, 7 barrowloads, and securing the slates.

Sunday 30th

 4 to 12 to 8°C. 518Wh. Grey and mild.


Finished cleaning out the guttering and, while I had the ladders out, filled some fine cracks in the surface of the exterior insulation of the walls. I intend to repaint these walls some time this winter.

Monday 31st

 6 to 10 to 8°C. Another grey day feeling slightly colder in the afternoon westerly breeze.


There are five holly trees at the back of the property. They were probably a hedge at some time in the past but have been slowly growing taller in the 45 years we have been here and need to be at least cut back to a metre high so they can become a hedge again. So I have started this task today. Unfortunately the first one also had chicken mesh attached to it at one time, by the rust it is at least 50 years old, and this has become embedded in the trunk making it difficult to saw it to the desired height; chain saws do not like cutting though metal. So i spent most of the afternoon trying to cut through it at just above shoulder height which is much more difficult. I should finish this tomorrow and cutting it into rounds once it is on the ground should be much easier. As always it is not easy to estimate the height till it is felled but it should fall into a safe area across the rose bed. All of them plus some other smaller trees in the same row, will provide us with plenty of firewood for next winter.