Earth Notes: Diarycast - Lockdown Lawnmowing Sadly Allowed (2020-04-13)

Updated 2024-07-10.
Apparently the lockdown does not prevent lawn mowing (or home cooking)! #podcast #coronavirus
166s "20200413" (captions) Uploaded . Downloads:

Hi, I'm Damon Hart-Davis, and this is a mini Earth Notes diarycast for 13th April 2020.

In the spirit of short'n'sweet this is an experimental brief diary piece from EOU Towers.

Coronavirus lockdown has pros and cons: some pros are more homemade sweets (today was honeycomb), and baking (and thus also contributing in a small way to a UK flour shortage)!

Also, the brewery at the end of my road has started home deliveries, and I have tested several for science. More research is needed.

On the downside, apparently mowing our lawn is allowed, and I did it today.

20200405 16WW grid tie generation

The 5th was a very good day for PV generation, with a very smooth generation curve and a total yield of 21.57kWh and imports of only 360Wh.

On the 9th a shiny new Blue Yeti mic arrived, to be the new microphone of choice for recording this podcast. Tomasz said on Twitter The quality improvement with the Yeti is fantastic...!

off-grid battery

On the 12th, though my off-grid (gel) lead-acid battery bank is old and failing, it did manage to keep a (reduced, 6W) extra 'dump' load off-grid all night in addition to powering my Raspberry Pi server.

Indeed, I'm managing to run my MacBook Air laptop off-grid for much of each day too.

In January, while investigating unexpectedly low output from my off-grid system even with decent sunshine, I found that the junction box for the part in the back garden was full of water and had suffered significant damage. I think that the downspout is partially blocked and very heavy rain had spilled over onto the box from the gutter above.

(The system as a whole, and the Raspberry Pi server for this site, kept running in part because I have a second independent solar charger which includes a couple of panels at the front of the house.)


Given our recent lack of torrential rain, likely to continue, I put the box up again yesterday, though I should move it a bit and try to prevent the problem that caused the deluge(s) in the first place.

On the subject of the EOU site, please tell me if the new dark mode support works for you.

When your operating system or browser is set to dark mode, does EOU correctly flip to light text on a dark background? Do other things look right, or do they need fixing? Please tell me which operating system and browser versions you are using.

Contact me on Twitter @EarthOrgUK, or email me via

There's more on my "Earth Notes" Web site at Earth.Org.UK.


Thanks again to Tomasz for a data point: the website does correctly recognise dark mode while using Firefox 24.1 (17574) on an iPhone 7 running iOS 13.3.1. Switched back and forth a couple of times and everything works perfectly.