Genny Tales: The Dark Ages.


 We have an F.G Wilson 1800 kilowatt diesel powered generating set.  It will not, as I’m fond of telling passers-by light up Blackpool, it will of course only light up 18000 one-hundred watt bulbs.  But my point is, it’s wasteful.  Imagine if all the electricity you are using is just a bedside light to read by, you really don’t want to be burning up all that diesel.  There are only certain times of year, usually late summer after Sam, our farming neighbour, has had a chance to cut the grass in his fields, that we can get a tanker down to deliver fuel.  One of the aims of this project is to do everything we can to lessen our dependence upon diesel supplies, whilst still maintaining some semblance of a civilised existence.

blackpool illuminations

 Once upon a time we lived in a lot of darkness because of the wasteful nature of the generator.  We would only turn it on when it got so dark it wasn’t possible to see, and then there would be a mad, late night flurry of electrical activity – hoovers, washing machines, tumbler dryers, stuff that needed drilling and then we might treat ourselves to watching TV or using a computer by bulb light.  After our weirdly timed house-keeping rituals were completed, it was a toss up to see who was going to go slipping down the slippery slope in their pyjamas and wellies to turn the generator off – if you were quick enough it was possible to run back to the front door before the lights completely dimmed and you were pitched into utter blackness.

Living like this was an education.  We learned that you could still do a lot of stuff without electricity, we certainly learned not to take it for granted – even now, flicking a switch and something happening is a cause for delight!  We learned to be extremely careful with our water supply, because without the genny running the pump wasn’t running – so we had to eke out what was in the tank until we next switched on.  Having to fill a bucket with canal water on a cold day so you can top up a toilet cistern,  undoubtedly  makes a water conservationist out of you.

While we may have learned a lot about what we could do without, I don’t think we considered it an ideal way to live.  I would like to think this project will convince people that a sustainable lifestyle is in fact a desirable lifestyle, and that’s going to take more than a love of candles.  There is, also,  no denying that however little diesel we were using we were still using something irreplaceable and we were still upping our carbon footprint.  We knew something would have to change and it certainly did.  For starters, Goldilocks was born which definitely changed things, and shortly after her arrival the inverter arrived – and then there was light!     


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2 comments to Genny Tales: The Dark Ages.

  • That’s why I love solar lights. You can have the luxury of a beautifully lit garden without the hassle of safely wiring all the lights and the burden of wasting electricity and money.

    I try to replace as many things in my house that can use recycleable energy. My reading lamp is solar too.

    This is a great blog by the way.

  • Solar is a great option for lighting.
    I have been using 20 Watt panel, 7.2 AH Lead-Acid battery and couple of 2 Watt LED bulbs + couple of 9 Watt DC CFL bulbs without any problem.

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