Shannon Conley


Houseboat and land in UK – £0.5m

The price of the off-grid dream just went up.

In the wake of Covid, climate change and the stream of urban dwellers moving to the country, a tubmbledown shed, a houseboat and the land that connects them, have gone on the market for £500,000 with a bidding war expected. Its hardly surprising when tech workers on six figure salaries are told they can work from anywhere in the world. They move to places with a good 4G signal (which this property does not have) and then a few years later will be surprised when their job is exported to India.

It has its own water supply and power system and is completely off-grid, the product of years of hard work by current owner Roland Mann. He has spent years fitting out the boat, in order to sell it and move to Norway with his family.

Design genius

The 90 years old barge with a two-bed shed, on the banks of the River Deben, was built between the wars.

“We’ve spent lots of time learning different skills, we’ve designed and built our own power system, our own water purification plant, so we’re totally off-grid for everything, except the telephone of course,” Mr Mann explained. He wants to get a smallholding in Norway where is wife is from originally

He credits his wife as the “genius behind the land”, adding: “She’s got a real flair for design, she’s absolutely packed the garden out with an incredible diversity of plants.”

“One of the things people say when they come onto the land is ‘wow, this feels great’. It has a really amazing feel to it, it’s hard to describe.

“One of the things we’ve continuously felt is that we were sort of caretakers, that this wasn’t truly our home.

The property is being advertised by Yopa, realtors.

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Huge motorhome wth side door and steel shitters

Brexit made me go off-grid

Dave Goodwill told fellow-members on Quora how he made the choice to go off-grid:

Brexit will greatly improve my life.

I’ve been struggling with seasonal depressions during dark and wet winters, paying high rent in exchange for a tiny old property and was disappointed by my income being pretty much the same now as 15 years ago, with prices of everything being much higher.

In other words, I realised my life is a shitty rat race with bad weather and lots of traffic (Berkshire & London). My neighbours all had nice cars on finance, mortgages, crying kids and were imprisoned in “their” houses — never getting out of the prisons they were to repay until they’re too old to enjoy life.

That’s not the life I ever wanted. Brexit was the final nail to the coffin, a great eye opener and a kick up the ass. I decided to choose Europe. The sunnier, the better. So I ditched the shitty house for a luxurious motorhome and will be moving to South of Spain by the end of the year. You can see on the picture it seems bigger than a house for which I paid £1000pm + bills.

Yes, I’m lucky to have a dual citizenship so I’m staying in the EU, whether UK does or doesn’t Brexit. However I can’t see having just the British passport as a deal breaker – worst case will be a visa or equivalent of a settled status application. So if you have a similar itch to scratch – don’t let it be an excuse!

Don’t think I’d have the balls to make this decision, at least not in near future, if it wasn’t for Brexit. It’s a disaster for which in a way I’m grateful.

Edit after posting:

I’m surprised by how many people would like to join me in a motorhome convoy! Thanks for all the kind and encouraging words!

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Ways to save on smartphones and mobile internet

glamphoneThe key problem for off-grid smartphone users is their monthly data plan. Due to apps playing videos automatically, attachments being downloaded as soon as they become available, and other activities behind the scenes that drain data (and power), smartphone users typically struggle with making it from one month to the next when it comes to their data. To help, here are some ideas to help select a better data plan.

 Select a Rollover Plan Intelligently

One thing to consider when choosing a good mobile data plan is rollover data. There are a few carriers that offer this feature, which allows users to take any unused data at the end of a the month and add it to the next month’s data allowance. This is a good way to increase the amount of data that is available for the next month.

 However, for those who normally go over their monthly data limit, a way to save would be to upgrade their data amount. The cost for an upgrade varies by carrier, but carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint sometimes offer coupons for upgrades. This is important to look into because the cost of the upgrade may be lower than the cost of going over the data limit.

Another good way to find out if a data plan is suitable is by speaking to a customer representative about what is and is not included in a data plan. Some questions that would be valuable to ask a representative due to websites sometimes being unclear are valuable to have cleared up. Another benefit from speaking with a representative is that they may have a deal going on that might be beneficial to look into.

It is also important, if thinking of switching carriers, to see if the smartphone that is currently being used can be used through a different carrier. If not, a new phone will need to be purchased.

I, myself, prefer Virgin Mobile as a carrier despite its service map due to the prices of their phones and their data plans. They currently have two types of plans, $35/month for 5G of 4G LTE and unlimited data, talk, and text and a $45/month plan for 10G 4G LTE with unlimited talk, text, and data. Verizon is in second place thanks to their offer to allow users to pay for their phones monthly. Their data plan is a little expensive, like the 2G for $35/month plan that comes with unlimited talk, text, and rollover data. In third place is Sprint. For $30/month, a user can get 3G and unlimited 2G data. Their phones are also pretty pricey, but they do have the best service available, next to AT&T. However, AT&T is the worst carrier due to their plans and expensive phone prices. For $30/month, a user receives 1G, rollover data, and unlimited talk and text.

In conclusion, all smartphone users face the …

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$700 energy gather and storage

Cheap portable solar power setup

The chatter about solar power and energy storage over the last few years, might make you come to the wrong conclusion that such systems are neither portable nor affordable.

But testing out an off-road, off-grid solar power setup, we recently came to some interesting conclusions. Like many who read this, we like the outdoors but our kids tend to destroy the calm with their demands for the comforts of home. To tell you the truth, I believe that every single camping trip I’ve ever been on has been in the rain, so I can understand why bringing along some of the comforts of home can be attractive. Unfortunately, those “comforts” might include things like the laptop, a television, or a refrigerator. Going beyond this, what happens when the comforts of home are taken away by power outage, whether by storm or blackout?

This tends to happen regularly at my place in the highlands of Majorca’s Tramuntana mountains, such as last night when we lost power for a few hours. Candles only go so far, and do nothing for the refrigerator, laptops for work, cell phones for communication (the local cell tower has backup power) or the electric shower. A cheap Chinese 800W generator is a little over $150, not to mention fuel costs. On the other hand, depending on how much power you need, a small solar power system and energy storage could be all that is required.

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Letter from the Marihuana State

Meet Ed and Laurie Essex — just two of the many millions whose lives were smashed by the greed of others in the Great Depression that began 2008.

They lost almost everything in the crash and have lived in remote, rural, Wauconda, WA, for the 2 years since. They make a living by helping others to get the same lifestyle.If they wanted they could now supplement their income by growing the local cash crop on public land out their back door.

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Light my Fire-knife

Isn’t it great that just one utensil could provide your needs for cooking and eating and heating?

Prepare for winter by mastering the art of fire-making with the Sandvik Swedish FireKnife. To use this necessary addition to your bug out bag (or just your regular camping gear), strike the back of the knife against the included fire steel for a shower of sparks.

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Vancouver preppers get their own store

For Vancouver residents who want to eliminate the global industrial food complex from their diet, help is on the way. Rick Havlak’s Homesteader’s Emporium, is a new store set to open in June servicing aspiring beekeepers, permaculture growers, home brewers, cheesemakers, disaster survivalists, backyard egg farmers, and front porch food growers will find equipment, ingredients and tools as well as practical advice.
The 1,700-square-foot store-front will offer a range including beehives and honey extractors, chicken coops, cider presses, food dehydrators, vertical small-space growing systems and home cheesemaking supplies for what Havlak believes is a burgeoning market of organic food purists, sustainable lifestylers and post-apocalyptic preppers.

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NPR on Electric cars

How would an electric car work out for an off-grid household?  Remarkably well assuming it could be charged up during visits to the grid.  And the car battery would become an important power source back at home base.

Electric cars have to be integrated into the daily pattern of life, just like off-grid homes. A recent discussion on NPR’s SCIENCE FRIDAY, was most enlightening. “You rapidly learned how to integrate that charging in with the rest of the things you do during the day, one contributer told presenter Ira Flatow:

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Unplug for an hour

Small initiatives can sometimes have a big effect, and its that time of year again when Australians are asked to turn up their environmental conscience for just an hour. Earth Hour will be held at 8.30pm on Saturday, March 31. The day will see unplugged community events held across the country.

The hour of no power Everyday Australians will be celebrated for their grassroots contributions to a more sustainable future for the planet in the Earth Hour Awards.

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Average UK household faces fuel poverty

With average real incomes heading down and average fuel bills going up, the typical British household will be in “fuel poverty” by the  2015 if energy bills stay on their current path.

Fuel prices have almost doubled as a share of median income since 2004, and an official target to spend £200bn on new infrastructure by 2020, mainly on the so-called Smart Grid,  will intensify the price rises.

Next month, the average annual bill for a “dual fuel” (Gas and electric) customer will reach £1,293, or 6 per cent of median household income, compared with 3.3 per cent in 2004.

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