Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Standalone Solar Installation....





We decided it would be good to have some electrical power in the greenhouse, primarily for growlights and at least one of our electric propagators during the winter months.

Taking power via a spur from the house mains is not so easy - there's nowhere to run a cable underground without cutting slots across at least one concrete pathway.  The best alternative solution would be overhead, from the house wall via a cable supported by a catenary wire.

However, the amount of power we're looking to draw is not huge, and so we've simply relocated three of the solar panels from our experimental array onto the greenhouse roof.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Is this how Financial Independence arrives - not with a bang but a whimper ?


My recent post about the company's finances made me think very seriously about the state of our personal finances, and what may be possible in '...retirement...' or at least for long periods without a regular earned income.

Using some of the 'float' we've established in the company, in the last few days I've set up a large monthly contribution from the company into my personal SIPP.   Making contributions to an employee's pension plan is also an allowable expense against corporation tax, so it's a tax-efficient way to withdraw money from the company.

Assuming the unlikely prospect of doing no further work at all in the period, these contributions would reduce the three years future 'earnings' we've banked to around two-and-a-half before the company runs out of reserves.  

Anyway, I've been beavering away at various spreadsheets for the last couple of days.  

Monday, 11 August 2014

Banking on working....


Many, many years ago, I was a fitter on a production line for a manufacturing company and I worked on 'piecework'.

For the unenlightened, basically this meant that I was paid for each measured portion of work that I completed.  Not being particularly greedy, I never booked all the 'achieved' hours each week that I had earned, and consequently 'banked' the remaining balance for future weeks.
  
The rates for each job were set on the basis of a skilled employee completing a specified task within a specified time, and to a specified level of quality.  

The quality was always verified by an Inspector, who had to countersign the yellow docket for satisfactory completion of the task before you could book it for payment.

Well, of course, some tasks were either easier or more difficult than others.  If it was the first time a task was ever measured, say for a job on a new product line or a product variation, and you happened to be the very first one to undertake it, then you effectively '...set the rate...' for all others to follow.  In these circumstances, it was essential not to complete the job too quickly and alienate your colleagues, or potentially screw yourself in the future !  Not exactly swinging the lead, because you were under observation, but certainly not putting yourself out in quite the same way as you'd do for a previously measured job.