Amazon Anonymous…

Me: “Hi. My names Infinity and I haven’t purchased any goods or services from Amazon in three days now”.

Group: “Hi, Infinity!”.

Where do I begin here. I guess at the beginning where most things start. I set up my Amazon account back in 2007, with my very first purchase being a copy of the RPG game Diablo II, which was ferried to my parents address in the UK during my summer leave and lovingly bubble-wrapped for the 7000 mile journey back to Kuala Lumpur where I had taken up residence.

The new AA…

Little did I know back then that this was start of something big. Big in terms of a shift towards online retail, but more a shift in the way marketing and consumerism was to take a hold of me as the years proceeded.

Of late, I have been sickened to the core apropos the exponential wealth growth of the likes of Messrs Musk, Gates and especially Bezos, as I was pretty sure that I was contributing to his Cheshire Cat grin as he bathes in dollars (digital or otherwise).

“Public” Enemy Number One…

Amazon don’t make it easy for you to obtain your own data, there is a convoluted process and Service Level Agreement of one month, whereas the data they have on you and your retail profile is there for their data, analytics and insights consultants at the touch of a button.

So my “big data” came through today, I could not believe just how big it was. I knew of course that I had been spending more and more money lining Bezos’s pockets as the timeline went from left to right over the years, but 2018 saw a huge spike in the amount spent. Why was that? Was it that I needed more things? Was it that those goods and services were no longer available on the high street? The answer was simply no I’m all fronts.

I had become an addict, a shopaholic, and impulse buyer without knowing it. Just like any addiction, it crept up on me until it was too late. Around that time, it is no coincidence that online marketing and social media profiling really took off, and I would say like most others I have been a victim of those aggressive “you must have this now” campaigns, like those “coincidental adverts” that come up on Google or Facebook for the items or things you were only just discussing with your friends and family.

The graph below is absolutely obscene. I knew I had spent a lot over more recent years, but just how much really knocked me for six:

The real need for AA – Amazon Anonymous…

Here we have a real trend, Christ I even have my very own Covid Gompertz curve!

That really is the power of advertising and consumerism right there. Clearly the machine got to me, or I allowed it to get to me. A grand total of over fifteen thousand pounds has been spent since I first set up that account, the vast majority of it since the Covid Lockdown first started in the UK exactly one year ago this week (23rd March 2020 – during which period I spent £9200). Covid has been a lucky break for the elite billionaires hasn’t it.

Looking back on my purchase history (briefly, as there are too many line items), not a great amount of goods or services have been for essential living, the vast majority have been gizmos and gadgets, most of which have been used, abused, broken and discarded no doubt.

Where most Amazon purchases end up…

So today, I deleted my Amazon account, the last hook I have in cyberspace (with the exception of this site and my also-anonymous YouTube account), and set up several donations to UK-based charities close to my heart (MIND, RNLI, Barnado’s and Shelter).

If I need things (I mean really need things) in the future, I will acquire them by other means (local means from local businesses), come up with alternative solutions or simply go without.

Lining the pockets of the richest man in the world whilst so many people are suffering should not sit well with any of us, it’s time we recognised this and did something about it…

The Plot Thickens…

Our communal and agricultural experiment has got off to a good start. When a collective forms of six individuals (and of course family members and to-be active players), it brings together people from all walks of life, each with their own backstory and points of view.

I can honestly say that it’s been a joy to converse with people on the exact same frequency as I am, all of us thus far intent on finding out successful methods of growing ones own healthy and organic food, keeping those pesky processed sugars at bay.

The 2D Plot…

One of our group had already sketched a plan for our plot before I jumped on board, so with my new found love of Minecraft (hey it’s not just a kids game right?), I took it upon myself to “3D-ise” the blueprints he had put down on graph paper so that we could all visualise what the plot could look like and where each component would be best placed for optimal use of the land.

I was very happy with the final output, which I’ve uploaded below.

The Plot Thickens…

We will meet up at the weekend to agree the final plan and start to order the poly tunnels and greenhouse, now that all of the compost has now landed and the temporary raised beds are under construction.

Looking forward to the next steps…

Spring Equinox…

If I’m not mistaken (we can’t Google everything can we), today marks the astrological start of Spring, and as such I was up early to get a few hours in at the allotment as the sun rose boldly in the West.

Before the hard graft of relocating a couple of tonnes of compost to our “landing strip”, I took it upon myself to have a wander through the two main plots on the site, each thirty foot wide and two hundred and forty foot long, with various sized sub-plots in each.

I recorded a video walkthrough of both plots (including our “landing strip”) to see so what our green-fingered comrades have added to their sites, and what seems to work well for them so that we could take some good ideas to use for our own.

Plot A – Our Neighbours…
Plot B – Our “Landing Strip”

I also took some overhead drone footage of our plot, sadly I’m still a novice and didn’t calibrate the settings properly so it’s a bit grainy and the colour transitions aren’t great, but at least it gives us a good idea of what it looks like from above, and the Herculean task we have over the next few weeks to get the land primed quickly and ready for planting our seedlings.

Drone footage of our “Landing Strip”

I was the sole human on site for a good two hours on this new Spring morning, and I found myself transported into a different world, one devoid of stress, commitment and consumerism, just me and my thoughts as I shovelled my way to happiness. It gave me the first real glimpse of what retirement will be in five or so years, that day can’t come soon enough.

Until then, I will learn new skills, experiment with nature and bond with more people in tune with my own frequencies.

Those frequencies and conversations are already paying off, and I’m paying it forward in the shape of positive planting, the smart garden has worked wonders on the broad beans I planted just one week ago.

With a two day break from work this week, I’ll be spending both days at the allotment to give us a real kick-start, hopefully more mindfulness and ideas will flow, I’m certain it will.

The Barrow Boys…

When I first saw the fifteen tonnes of compost, the first thing that sprang to mind was the Jeff Goldblum line in Jurassic Park “That’s one big pile of shit”…

That’s one big pile of shit…

Never a truer word spoken…

Detox complete…

I started a science experiment last week to remove all processed sugars from my diet to see whether it was my food intake that was causing me several problems (including broken sleep, inflammation, fatigue, irritability and of course weight gain).

Little did I realise the truly negative impact processed foods and sugars has on ones overall well-being (mind, body and soul).

I ended up cutting short this two week test period, as by the end of Day Ten (yesterday), all of my goals were complete, my hypothesis validated.

As my (rather lengthy) last post detailed, I wanted to regain control of me, by shopping at the local farm, dairy and butchers in an effort to lose a little weight, get my BMI back into the green zone, give myself an energy boost and restore my ailing cognitive abilities, especially at work.

The Green Zone…

So by the end of Day Ten, I had lost 3.1kg, got to my green zone target of 24.9 BMI (any lower than that and I start to look skinny), felt great throughout each day, and came up with some really inspiring and innovative thinking in work.

Eating the healthy and more plant-based options really helped. After the inevitable body crash, things got better very quickly, I stopped getting hungry and got to the stage where I no longer opened the treat drawer to see what was inside (which I used to do several times a day).

Detox Food…

My mindset has also changed due to the sugar detox. Boycotting the supermarket and their exploitative marketing of bad-for-you products helps. Buying local produce helps from a sustainability perspective and keeps family businesses afloat, diverting funds away from big farmer and food corporations. Getting out to exercise everyday, even if it’s just a walk (with or without the pooch), allows body parts to move for this office-worker and gives the mind a chance to wander, ponder and reflect on things, a meditation if you will.

So I can’t recommend highly enough to experiment yourselves to see if a sugar detox works for you, clearly it has for me…

Sugar: A cereal killer…

It may or may not be a surprise to some that the biggest killer on the planet may actually be sugar.

The vast majority of people have a good understanding that those processed and great tasting foods are generally quite bad for us and as a result, too much of them can attribute to weight gain. We have all been there.

A Convenience Truth…

My recent experiment in an effort to reduce my raging tinnitus by stacking several “mushroom-based supplements” (not including psilocybin!) and juicing celery every morning failed. After one whole month of fastidiously sticking to my early morning regime, I came to a few conclusions.

Firstly, it didn’t work. Secondly, if it didn’t work, the outcome and especially the cost made no sense in carrying on. Lastly, and probably most importantly, my general dietary intake hadn’t changed. I had fallen back into old ways of convenience eating and snacking, eating processed / sugary foods, drinking booze too often and having many take-aways. I of course blame boredom and the Covid lockdown, and there is some truth in that.

As a result I felt bloated, my weight had escalated back up to unacceptable digits as had my BMI, and the overhang of the belly made it a bit more difficult to see my “lovebone” when I looked straight down in the shower.

With the advent of the allotment and thinking more seriously about my organic future, I came to the conclusion that it could well be the influence of sugar that was the root cause of my problems.

A brief sojourn through YouTube last weekend gave me the reaffirmation that refined sugar was bad for us, and the two videos below, a science one and an influencer one gave me the extra kick to kick sugar.

The Science…
The Experiment…

It’s not through a lack of education that piles on the pounds, it’s a lack of focus. My brain has been conditioned over the years that in times of melancholy or stress, the resolution to that temporary negative state of mind is either sugar or alcohol. The serotonin /dopamine hit it gives me boosts my mood and makes me forget, albeit for a fleeting moment and the reason why I reached into the cookie jar / beer fridge in the first place. Gets me every time. That very behaviour is the dictionary definition of addiction and sugar is the drug.

There is no argument in my mind that sugar is the biggest cause of death on Planet Earth. If we take a look at the UK and the USA, then the obesity and diabetes rates (amongst the major nations) are right up their at the top of the league tables. Map those two counties against the Covid death rates and there is a similar view. There is also a link between obesity, diabetes and dementia / Alzheimer’s. It appears that if heart disease through ones lifestyle choices doesn’t get you, then your twilight years may not be worth living anyway (sadly my father in law suffered the latter, a decade of dementia purgatory).

The case for healthy living is a strong one, the real difficulties, as the influencer video above calls out, advertising, convenience and the ubiquity of sugar-powered food, you can’t get away from it. Go into the supermarket and just look at the labels. I was surprised (but not shocked) to find that even “Free From”, “Low Cal” and “Fat Free” are saturated with sugars. Shockingly so. Subliminal food advertising is a real scandal, but that’s what make the big bucks for “Big Farmer” (and I was interested to see the billionaires Bezos and Gates are buying up vast expanses of land in the US, I wonder why)…

Shocking advertising, always read the label (which sugars)…

So with that information in mind, it was time for real and direct action.

I wanted to remove all processed sugar from my diet, not overly concerned by whether it’s plant-based, meat-based or that nutrients are delivered via paleo or keto methodologies.

I wanted to test scientifically whether in just one week, I could notice the difference. Well, that’s an understatement!

I set up a non-calorie-counting routine, boring perhaps for some to follow and maybe more difficult in the long term, but I wanted to see what effects and outcomes having zero processed sugars had.

Day One was fine, eager to go and regimented.

Day Two was a kick in the testicles, I felt like a Trainspotting Ewan McGregor lying in his crack den bed whilst a baby crawled across the ceiling, a migraine literally splitting my brain into a further two hemispheres.

Day Three was much better, as if my headache had purged all of the badness in one awful twenty four hour cold turkey period.

Day Four I felt lighter and less bloated, and noticed I had a full nights sleep and felt better for it.

Day Five and I felt my cognitive ability improve in work by quite some way, and my mind, body and soul sang a common chorus.

Day Six was the dreaded weekend but surprisingly, there was no “reach-in” to the snack store, just a reach-up to my secret stack of no-processed-sugar fruit bars (my saviour throughout the week!).

Day Seven was again plain sailing, helped mostly by my tornado tear-out of all sugared products in the cupboards and fridge.

During the seven days, I lost 1.7kg and 0.5 BMI, improved my sleep, energy levels and cognitive abilities, and due to the lack of stress, my tinnitus didn’t seem as bad.

My wife knows all of the above and is now sold on the idea of sugar-free living. She admits she is totally addicted to sugar and I will do all that I can to free her from those deeply ingrained hooks she has. That will be a challenge, as will migrating my thirteen year old daughter to our new processed-free-pantry.

Weekly tracker below:

Day 1

Sleep = Full 🟢

Weight = 86.5kg 🟢

Vitamins: Taken 🟢

Breakfast = Banana/Apple 🟢

Lunch = Egg/Salmon/Asparagus 🟢

Dinner = Venison/Shrooms 🟢

Drinks = Coffee/Tea/Water 🟢

Snacks = Fruit Bar 🟢

Exercise = Dog Walk 🟢

Mind = Genius IQ 🟢

Body = Moderate Pain 🟠

Soul = Heaven 🟢

Day 2

Sleep = Broken 🟠

Weight = N/A 🟢

Vitamins: Taken 🟢

Breakfast = Banana/Apple 🟢

Lunch = Egg/Salmon/Asparagus 🟢

Dinner = Venison/Shrooms 🟢

Drinks = Coffee/Tea/Water 🟢

Snacks = Fruit Bar 🟢

Exercise = None 🔴

Mind = Average IQ 🟠

Body = Chronic Pain 🔴

Soul = Purgatory 🟠

Day 3

Sleep = Full 🟢

Weight = N/A 🟢

Vitamins: Taken 🟢

Breakfast = Banana/Satsuma 🟢

Lunch = Egg/Salmon/Asparagus 🟢

Dinner = Venison/Broccoli 🟢

Drinks = Coffee/Tea/Water 🟢

Snacks = Fruit Bar 🟢

Exercise = Dog Walk 🟢

Mind = Genius IQ 🟢

Body = Pain-Free 🟢

Soul = Heaven 🟢

Day 4

Sleep = Full 🟢

Weight = N/A 🟢

Vitamins: Taken 🟢

Breakfast = Banana/Satsuma 🟢

Lunch = Carrot Soup 🟢

Dinner = Vegetable/Nut Stir Fry 🟢

Drinks = Coffee/Tea/Water 🟢

Snacks = Fruit Bar 🟢

Exercise = None 🔴

Mind = Genius IQ 🟢

Body = Pain-Free 🟢

Soul = Heaven 🟢

Day 5

Sleep = Full 🟢

Weight = N/A 🟢

Vitamins: Taken 🟢

Breakfast = Paleo Bar 🟢

Lunch = Carrot Soup 🟢

Dinner = Vegetable Fajitas 🟢

Drinks = Coffee/Tea/Water 🟢

Snacks = None 🟢

Exercise = Gardening 🟢

Mind = Genius IQ 🟢

Body = Pain-Free 🟢

Soul = Heaven 🟢

Day 6

Sleep = Full 🟢

Weight = N/A 🟢

Vitamins: Taken 🟢

Breakfast = Home Fruit Juice 🟢

Lunch = Roast Chicken Breast 🟢

Dinner = Low Carb Lamb Roast 🟢

Drinks = Coffee/Tea/Water 🟢

Snacks = Fruit Bar 🟢

Exercise = Dog Walk 🟢

Mind = Genius IQ 🟢

Body = Pain-Free 🟢

Soul = Heaven 🟢

Day 7

Sleep = Full 🟢

Weight = 84.9kg 🟢

Vitamins: Taken 🟢

Breakfast = Home Fruit Juice 🟢

Lunch = Home Broccoli Soup 🟢

Dinner = Venison/Shrooms 🟢

Drinks = Coffee/Tea/Water 🟢

Snacks = Fruit Bar 🟢

Exercise = Dog Walk 🟢

Mind = Genius IQ 🟢

Body = Pain-Free 🟢

Soul = Heaven 🟢

On reflection, I think the real problem we have here is convenience-store-capitalism, we all need food to live and on that basis if big companies can make that food look better, smell better, taste better, feel better and sound better (via advertising), then they attack all five senses at once, not many things in life have that ability.

We sow the seed, nature grows the seed, and then we eat the seed…

We received our first organic farm produce today, and have already welcomed back our old milkmen with open arms after he delivered his first pint of fresh milk this morning. So it’s up yours Morrisons

Stay strong. Stay focused. Stay away from sugar…

We, sow the seed…

As soon as the affirmation was received that I had acquired my “in” for the communal allotment last week, my initial thoughts amusingly turned to the 1980’s sit-com, The Young Ones.

Vegetable rights and peace!

There is an episode called Sick, and part way through the anarchistic character Ryk (played by the wonderful and gone-too-soon Rik Mayall) kills Neil the Hippy (Nigel Planer) because Neil keeps repeating the phrase “We sow the seed, nature grows the seed, and then we eat the seed”, and after several minutes Ryk whacks him with the spade. He then buries the body under a load of horse manure which had been recently dumped in their back garden, only to find that ironically he has cultivated three Neils, who return in the middle of the night to taunt and haunt him. Classic.

My sister is also keen to get involved in the venture and armed with gloves, hat and wellingtons, she joined me and my wife to visit the plot today. The weather this week had been been awful, and the rain and howling winds have wrecked a lot of the hard work in laying down the cardboard “runway” prior to the dumping of the compost next week to get our no-dig operation off the ground.

Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing, and we agreed that the cardboard matting and composting needs to go hand-in-hand and not in isolation.

We started work on collecting “free timber” in the form of disused pallets and will, over the course of the next few weeks, create borders and raised beds, recycled and upcycled, costing us just a few pence in nails.

After we had stockpiled around twenty pallets, the weather turned gnarly so we headed to the garden centre next door to buy some multi-purpose compost, small seeding trays and pots (the latter which we got for free).

So today I started off with broad beans, sowing eighteen pots, and under the advice of the nice lady at the garden centre, wrapped them in a plastic bag and put them by the window to germinate.

We, sow the seed…
Nature grows the seed…
Pre-fill…
Post-fill…
Multi-sowing in action, double the fun…
All potted and watered…
It’s in the bag…

Tomorrow I’ll experiment with peas in my smart garden, no idea if it will work but it will be fun finding out.

The days of stage diving and crowd surfing at Obituary/ Napalm Death gigs seems like a lifetime ago, but in the immortal words of both John Tardy and James Hetfield (of Metallica), “the memory remains”.

On reflection, I think that is life is like a car ride, get in, learn how to drive, start slow, speed up, go fast, slow down, reach your destination and eventually stop. Looking back at my life to date, I’ve certainly done that, and even though I’m starting the slow down phase which will inevitably lead to the stop phase, I’m still far away from my final destination and I’m enjoying the ride…

Allotment: Meant a lot…

The age-old adage of it’s not what you know it’s who you know never rang so true this week.

As I’m rotating around different circles of friends these days, opportunity seems to knock more frequently now. I had put myself on the local authority register for allotments to grow my own produce a few months back, but the waiting lists post-COVID are now ridiculously long, with the average wait a staggering ten years, now that a great many people are now wanting to do the same.

One of my new eco-retreat comrades alerted me to an opening in his new venture, which is a strip of land behind one of the market gardens close by to where we live, thus expediting my off-grid journey towards the Good Life by a mere decade.

Much to do…

Excited to see the land, it took a quick “recky” to assess the current status and envisioned future state at the weekend, meeting some of my would-be farmers friends at the same time. The land is approximately eight metres by eighty metres and is totally barren.

Some work has already been done, the visqueen weed-blocking layer has been stripped from the land and the goodly folks of the cooperative (nine others in total) have just completed the laying of flattened cardboard boxes, making it look like an alien landing strip from above, welcomed too by a fire pit already installed at the foot of the land, to warm their cockles after their sub-zero temperature interstellar space travel (should they have cockles to warm of course).

The Landing Strip…

The plan for the site will be to follow the no-dig methods of Charles Dowding, laying down strips of cardboard to block out the weeds, on top of which sits several tonnes of compost, creating narrow lanes of cultivatable land with minimal back-breaking work. The plans are to grow pretty much everything one can grow, with the additions of a poly tunnel and green house making this all possible.

The Communal Shack…

The inclusion of a communal shack will be a place of solace in the summer once built, allowing us all to click back and whittle some, after a hard days graft,

Needless to say, me and the extended family (sister) are super excited to get started, and the to-be seedlings will be seated in their respective pots and growing cells over the coming days, prior to the virgin planting once the compost has been successfully splayed across the allotment.

I’ll also experiment with my smart garden to cultivate the seedlings, nine at any one time all year round, a constant conveyor belt of cultivation…

Offline…

I have of late given more and more thought time to anonymity online. A brief journey through time since the inception of the internet reveals very similar origins and outcomes when comparing it to the evolution of man and the agricultural revolution. The similarities are quite remarkable.

Ascent of Man…

Clearly the origins of our eureka moment when it comes to the evolution of the human network can’t truly be validated, but if we assume that the origins of modern society was in the Middle East (Jericho, Aleppo – the Ascent of Man theory by Dr Jacob Bronowski and other historians), then the true catalyst for the dawn of our time was probably the brainchild of a single person, who came up with the idea that the cross-pollination of grasses led to the cultivation of wheat, bread, agriculture, farming, commerce, society, government, law and inevitably greed, conflict, aggression and division.

Descent of Man…

Let’s then take the internet, the brainchild of a single person, Sir Tim Berners Lee. He (with no doubt help from others) came up with the idea of the cross-pollination of data and human interaction, which led to the cultivation of technology, information, ideas, connectivity, community, e-commerce and inevitably greed, conflict, aggression and division.

Both started out with the best intentions, the betterment and evolution of humanity, but sadly it appears that both have suffered the same fate.

Society has broken down into the haves and have nots, and in each of the major developed nation states in the world, opinion is divided completely in half, it certainly is in the UK and the US which recent referendums and electoral votes validate. The exact same goes for the internet, which sees an opportunity for the tech giant owners (Amazon, Space X Starlink, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Oracle and Apple) to grow their personal wealth whilst the masses fight from two camps against each other on social media. The divisions are clear as are the similarities in both systems.

I have a very clear path now to a life off-grid, and my plans for that will accelerate over the coming days, weeks, months and years until those back-to-basics building blocks are in place and I can successfully, physically and metaphysically disconnect myself from the grid.

The upcoming build of my “Cabin in the Yard” will allow me to construct a habitation and give me new skills which will help me further down the line. I have also completely detached myself from all big-tech online organisations this week by purging all accounts, data and profiles, to have that online anonymity, with of course the exception of this blog which is anonymous anyway.

It felt quite the cathartic process, not only in the purging of the data, but in the sense of (as they say in kundalini yoga) ego eradication, there really is no good to be had in the bloating of the self (either online or offline), the good comes, really comes, in honest and compassionate conversation without the need for hyperbole or acerbic criticism, whether that be via age-old means of verbal and face-to-face dialogue or new-age means in the form of the comments box below.

Like I’ve said many years ago, this site acts as a metaphysical timeline for myself, sharing my inner thoughts with my wife, my children and possibly (hopefully) my grandchildren and of course other folks I’ve never met. It documents the evolution and journey of a simple man who matures over time, who acknowledges the wrongs he has done in his own personal history and how he tries to put those right where he can, offering some primordial and basic nuggets of wisdom for others to read and cogitate on along the way…

Watts, amps and volts…

This week was a big step forward in grasping the basics of both electronics and off-grid living.

I took ownership of the first in a series of devices that will accompany my journey into the technical world of electronic experimentation, with a view to understand what (or should I say watt?) works, what doesn’t, what our basic needs are and what luxury items one can still use whilst being isolated from the grid.

Dokio 100w Portable Solar Panel
Beaudens Portable Power Station

So the sustainable energy basics are already acquired, this week saw two exciting deliveries; the first a 100w portable solar panel, the second an entry-level 240wh power station.

I intend to review both items in time, but what it has already allowed me to do is to think in a different way. Us on-gridders invariably don’t think about how devices work, how much electricity they consume and how much it costs to run them, one typically plugs, plays, enjoys and pays the hefty energy bills at the end of the month.

With the start of the build of my “Cabin In The Yard” (the prototype for the build of over a dozen ecolodges at our retreat in Wales), only weeks away, I wanted to fully explore and understand the art of what’s possible without drawing any resources from the house.

Thankfully, my son is an electrical engineer and he gave me an electricity 101 to explain what watts, amps and volts are, how to find out the inputs and outputs of devices, and by doing the maths, I could work out the drain from each appliance on the limited power reserves I have.

What’s a watt?

I’ll admit the 101 didn’t make much sense until I started to do some research on which devices and appliances are powered by 12v batteries, USB or AA / AAA rechargeable batteries.

Once I found out the watts for each device, the penny dropped. By documenting the watts of each device, I knew exactly how much each one would drain from the 240 watt hours I had to play with on my power station.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer volume of devices out there that could continue (somewhat) a life of luxury, totally cost free (besides the initial investment of course), as long as the sun was shining (the fundamental flaw in my plan of living in the monochromatic grey realm of North West England).

Here is the list of devices I found, not exhaustive by any means and somewhat primordial when compared to those in the house for the likes of heating, cooking and lighting, but still an impressive list nonetheless (those marked green I already possess):

12v Appliances

🟢 Portable Showers (15w)

🟢 Cooler Boxes/Fridges (58w)

🔴 Heating Stoves (40w)

🔴 Travel Kettles (120w)

🔴 Hair Straighteners (20w)

🔴 Hair Dryers (150w)

🔴 Toastie Makers (120w)

🔴 Heater Fans (120w)

🔴 Travel Hoovers (12.5w)

🔴 Electric Blankets (55w)

🔴 TVs (40w)

🔴 Air Pumps (120w)

🔴 Water Pumps (60w)

USB Appliances

🟢 Desk Fans (1w)

🟢 Desk Lamps (5w)

🟢 Bluetooth Speakers (5w)

🟢 iPhones (5w)

🟢 iPads (10w)

🟢 Surface Pro (60w)

🟢 Nintendo Switch (25w)

🟢 Logitech Web Cams (5w)

🟢 USB C Computer Monitors (25w)

🟢 Mavic Mini Drones (15w)

🟢 Sony XM3 Headphones (15w)

🟢 Apple Watches (2w)

🟢 Portable Power Banks (15w)

🟢 Recyclable Battery Chargers (15w)

🟢 Oculus Quest VR Headsets (15w)

🟢 Portable Shower (15w)

🔴 Portable Projectors (15w)

🔴 Mini Blenders (65w)

🔴 LED Lights (45w)

Rechargeable Battery Appliances

🟢 Radios

🟢 Portable Speakers

🟢 Clocks

🟢 Nose Trimmers

🔴 LED Lights

Yes, I’m at the stage of my life now where nose trimmers have become an essential item!

The beauty of buying the items above is that they are all 100% portable, so not only can I use them in the soon-to-be-erected cabin, but I can take them camping with me later in the year, and if the zombie apocalypse does turn up some point soon, I’m sorted.

All systems working!

Clearly to stay connected, I’ll need to tether my phone to the internet-based devices I have, so not everything is free, but it’s a good start, and does go to show that the art of what is possible is both sustainable and achievable if you want it…

Off-Grid On-Grid…

As Rabbie Burns famously once penned, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!”

It’s fair to say that as the dawn rose this morning, another day of being both completely healthy and totally locked in left me with feelings of melancholy.

In need of cheering up, I took it upon myself to make my wife a Valentine’s Day breakfast, her favourite of poached eggs on toast with sea salt and cracked pepper. With two small gifts and a hug or two exchanged, my mind quickly returned to the great outdoors. As the snowflakes fell again upon the cold ground, I could not help but feeling that this year was another one that is going to pass most of us by, certainly in the UK.

Mrofa Nefyn, home of Ty Coch, tenth best beach bar in the world…

The extra-currlcular project that I am working to invent and create an eco-retreat in North Wales couldn’t seem further away than it actually is geographically (i.e. anything beyond the Boris Johnson invisible line of seven miles is out of bounds according to the latest “guidelines”). Here we will have something that when deployed, will bring so much personal achievement for me and my comrades, as well an avenue for many others to enjoy nature, commune with others and return to an acceptable level of mind-body-spiritual balance, all of which are out of kilter for the vast majority of the populace.

I am resigned to the fact that it’s not going to happen this year. With so much uncertainty and blockers, my proposed project plan is already slipping to the right with no actions yet completed.

Someone said to me recently to only concern oneself with the things one can control and let go of the things one cannot. Wise words.

With those sage words of advice keeping my tinnitus company this morning, I took to YouTube for inspiration, and man was I inspired!

Dave and Brooke, inspiring couple

After several attempts to find the right viewings on creating ecolodges, I came across two wonderful individuals, known in cyberspace as Bushradical and the Girl in the Woods (move over Sarah Beeny and George Clarke).

Very recently, they have created what I had been dreaming of for the eco-retreat, an off-grid cabin/lodge erected simply and quickly from standard materials one can find at the reclamation/builders yards and hardware supply stores.

So impressed am I with the simplicity, speed and quality of the build, I simply have to share the videos below, in a hope to inspire myself to build a copy of their creation as a prototype in my own compact and bijou back yard, and if successful use the same design and materials as a template for our retreat.

Bushradical

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Girl In The Woods

Part 1
Part 2

After being totally consumed by these videos today, I started to put pen to paper to see how I can use Dave and Brooke’s template to create my “Cabin in the Yard”.

With the temperatures at zero outside, there is plenty of time now to draw up my plans on what the dimensions of the cabin will look like, and what materials I need to procure over the coming weeks. The planned build is to commence on the Spring Equinox (21st March).

Cabin in the Yard, initial plan on a page

Hope springs eternal, the eternal springs hope…