Lake albedo as high resolution wind speed proxy

Brienz Quay - print auction for Haiti
Brienz Quay - print auction for Haiti (Photo credit: Mark Howells-Mead)
OK this is a slightly weird post even for me. It explains a simple idea I had.

If it is of any value to climate-change researchers or anyone else I am delighted. Please use it.

It comes from an idea that I had following a discussion with a neighbour Anni Blatter who like me enjoys swimming in our local lake, the Brienzer See, but has done so for more than 75 years !

As can be seen from the wonderful photos in this post, the colour of the lake changes, not only with cloud cover, and time of day, but with something else...

English: Iseltwald, Berner Oberland.The weather over the last few days.

What happens is that Glacial dust or rock flour is carried down into the lake by the contributary Aare from the Grimsel and Susten passes and from the Luetschinen rivers that flow from the Eiger and Jungfrau. 

As you can see below they are very milky in appearance, because of this Glacial dust or Rock Flour

Aare-Schlucht (Photo credit:
This milky water traps heat extremely fast and so means that the top surface of the lake gets warmed up very fast (and can be lovely to swim in as early as March) when there is snow on the surrounding hills.
English: From Kleine Scheidegg
Eiger: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But as soon as a wind blows, the colder deep water is churned up to the surface and it becomes bitterly cold, even at the end of summer.

If the air has been still - the water is therefore warm, and a lot of this milkiness will have settled out to the deeper water and so the water will change colour.

So, my neighbour (not an engineer but she ran the local red-cross :), has noticed that if the water is green it is cold.  But I know if it is cold, it is because it has been de-stratified (stirred up), and therefore together we know that it is a particular colour, when it has been particularly windy.

Photo of rock flour (glacial flour) flowing in...
Photo of rock flour (glacial flour) flowing into Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This phenomenon occurs in waters all over the world, and is measurable from a single colour pixel.

It occurs to me, that if we have a satellite photo of a body of water, we have in effect a time-averaged photograph of historic wind patterns.  These are naturally of far higher resolution than is available from existing weather models, or weather stations.

The albedo (or reflectivity) of water changes the rate of solar admittance and therefore the rate at which water and air are locally heated.  So, subject to calibration (which will admittedly vary with season, precipitation, thawing and cloud cover in a complex way), I am suggesting that we could observe averaged recent weather conditions at extremely local resolution on the basis of widely available phenomena.

Now, I am no climatologist, simply an engineer who suffers occassional weird ideas like using the princess and the pea as an engineering analogy, with a slightly enquiring mind. However, I would dearly love to hear if anyone has any thoughts on the subject or if indeed someone has already looked into the practical details of using this method for monitoring weather.

PS - I have it on good authority that the answer is 42.

Please do pass this on to anyone you know who might know anything about how climate change people use weather data. Or just Tweet it if you feel like it :)
Enhanced by Zemanta

EnergyCo. wants me to use less - Really ?

OK - it sounds improbable ! In fact it sounds about as likely as going to a great 
restaurant and hearing...

Desserts from JusQytly
Desserts from JusQytly
 (Photo credit: laRuth)

"but wouldn't Madam be happier without that fattening desert ?"

or being greeted at the supermarket checkout with a patronizing...

"Oh but Sir, really ! - maybe we can help you put some back ?"

But they do because...

They have a good reason which makes them more money ! 

So next time they contact you and ask if you want to spend less - maybe, just maybe it's worth listening. I'll tell you why...
English: A look inside a standard, thyristor r...
Inside a standard, thyristor regulated, 500 W drill. (CMI 500E) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They understand "why you buy". 

Utility companies sell an easy way of getting a job done !  

Think about it, when you pick up a power tool, say a drill, what you really "want" is holes in the wall - not energy. 

When you switch on the washing machine, what you are "buying" is fresh clean clothes.

Energy is only a means to an end - an easy one. 

English: A photo I took myself of two NiMH AAA...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Convenient costs more - 5,000 times more !

Electricity has to be so convenient, that they don't just bring it to your door, you  have it delivered to special holes in the wall. 

Even that's not enough, we want it cordless and portable: iron, telephone, remote control, iPod - energy - wherever its wanted!

Electricity in an AAA battery costs roughly $890 per unit or "bit" of energy instead of under 10 cents straight out of the wall (which took a huge installation effort ).

Oh and you have to go get the AAA for yourself and dispose of it afterwards ! 

Yes 8,900 times more money for the same thing a unit of electricity

So yes they will deliver gas in bottles, but they would prefer to pipe it right to you - because its the most convenient way of selling it !

How do you like your water sir ? - On tap ! that's right. Right - fresh water is a human right!

Example EU energy label for washing machine; s...
EU energy label
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So I think most people would accept that what we are buying is in effect "convenience" sold in "units" ! 

 Very few people could tell you what electricity "looks like", or really care how gas combustion with oxygen makes heat.

People want, and pay for - what energy does, not how they get !

It follows, that if you can pay less for a job to be done just as well, you will be just as happy - or actually more happy.

If you use less energy to get the same job done you are just as happy - in fact if you care at all about the environment you are even more happy.

So less energy for the same job is more value !

This means each "piece" of energy is worth much, much, more if it is used wisely.

The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomo...
Wisdom : The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon
 (Photo credit: jaroslavd)
If you know how to use it wisely - this profit is yours.

If kWIQly helps you to use less and still you get the same value then we can share the benefits.

AND, if the energy company sells you less for the less money - they can still benefit !

They need to produce less energy (they won't, but may just sell it somewhere else perhaps later anyway), you will also pay a modest service charge, which is profitable for them, while still saving you energy and money.

So it is a win-win situation. How can this be ? - Simple, the same job well managed is done for less, and the reduced cost is shared.

Energy management makes excellent sense whether you are buying or selling !

So, tomorrow I will write some more, meanwhile - there are some nice pictures in this post. Five ways weather affects energy bills

See you soon !
Enhanced by Zemanta

Energy Savings Frauds #3 (The lie you tell yourself)

Energy Savings Frauds - #3 - The biggest lie

(The lie you tell yourself)
Publicity photo of Jodie Foster and Christophe...
Wonderful scams as entertainment
 Paper Moon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK today we are going to mix it up - and its a slightly longer post than usual.

Instead of me selling you a lie, and you guessing how the scam works, I am going to explain how the scam works - and you dear reader, have the daunting task of thinking what lies might be sold using this scam.

Hint - if you can establish control over how people manage their decisions, then they are vulnerable.  The key to doing this is allowing them to believe they are in control.

This scam is a variation on the "measurement scam" and frankly it works best (as do many cons) on lazy, greedy people.  

It works by letting the sucker do the selling and the thinking themselves, and lazy, greedy people are very happy to be suckers!

Since all our readers have by definition powerful intelligence on their side (and none are lazy or greedy) , It will be necessary to lull you into a false sense of stupidity!  Please just work with me on this :)  

1962 ... 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
1962 ... 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (Photo credit: x-ray delta one)
For the record, anyone who disagrees with the above - do post about it in the comments, it may make for entertaining reading.

Now, if I said - "You can appear more intelligent by considering what an intelligent person would do - and then by doing that", you might think I was kidding you. Nonsense - or not ? (if you actually think about this before reading on - you are in the minority of the public at large - so I need you to be lazy this time !) ?

On reflection, perhaps if this did not convince you it would make you more intelligent, I might be able to convince you that it will make you "appear" more intelligent.

Now, imagine watching someone considering facts and options, weighing them earnestly, and then decisively declaring conclusions.  Sounds a pretty intelligent way of going about things doesn't it ? - deliberating!

However, deliberating is an internal thing - it has no actual "appearance" , the external furrowed brow, the stroked chin - these are the things of Hollywood - picture Gregory Peck in "To Kill a Mocking Bird".  (a must-see if you have not  - and a superb study of acting intelligent)

So, yes, considering what an intelligent person would do "does" make you look like you are doing what an intelligent person does - "thinking".  And - you also give yourself time for thought, reflection, to turn it over in your mind.

Now imagine instead I had said - "It will appear to others that you are more intelligent if instead of making rushed decisions, you give your mind a little time for thought".  This may not appeal to your vanity (we all want to be on the ball or sharp) - but it's hard to argue (again please try below :)

A shell game is performed on a cardboard box w...
A shell game is performed on a cardboard box with bottle caps on Fulton Street in New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
OK - so if you accept what I have written, so far (and not as a cheap trick), then you can be persuaded. - And this makes you vulnerable to believing the things you "want to believe" - and when we believe the things we want to believe  we are confident in these thoughts.  - Yes literally a confidence trick !

So selling energy-savings is very much like selling weight loss. There are three targets. People who use too much (food or energy) and know it. People who care what others think. People who would like an easy way to change things about themselves.  Naturally the best target is someone who has all three of these characteristics.  And naturally these characteristics describe 99% of all energy managers. In turn again - ask yourself:

Do we use to much energy ?  - If not why are you here ?
Do we care what people think ? - Brand, image company reputation
Would it be nice to have an easy way to fix it ? - Well doh - (lazy) !

So, pots of gold are far and few between, I have no pixie-dust.  But lets dream.

Before we do - lets measure ourselves - stand on the scales or check our energy consumption.

Here the con bites - it's boring, almost nobody does the job properly and we are shouting "Bring on the pixie dust"
Standard deviation illustration
Standard deviation illustration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BTW - if you have a years energy history with say +/- 30% standard deviation
from forecast consumption at half-hourly resolution - let me be clear - congratulations - you are not normal !

To the dream... - Imagine if you will that by merely thinking about weight and exercise and energy use you could shed pounds ( or kWh ) overnight  - in your sleep perhaps while listening to motivational "bad science" (BS).  What a wonderful world !

Now wake up, and measure yourself carefully every day for a year.  By the way - If you are lazy or not conscientious - don't blame the pixie-dust - you are at fault, But if you do and you find you lose weight (save energy) be proud - slap yourself on the back.

But now snap out of it.  Imagine a million suckers -

70 % quit early and blame themselves - These stay quiet - unless pushed and defensive ("the technology was fine but we had to re-position our strategic priorities") - Some accidentally do see a win at the end of the year and claim it was their diligence !

25 % do try - but because of reading errors before the trial and general inattentiveness, they will unintentionally suffer confirmation bias  so more than half of them see savings ( just like weight loss programs ).

4% Try, fail and wonder what they did wrong.

1% - Are intelligent enough to know their science and their psychology, and are somewhat sceptical - and these deserve the title - Energy Manager

Make sure there are no comments below - wouldn't want to miss out on anything entertaining :)
Enhanced by Zemanta

Energy Saving Fraud - #2

Ok this one is easy - Why does the "How Now Green Con" always pay off if you line up a sucker ?

Before I begin this is a continuation from  feeding lies to energy managers - you may want to start there.

So imagine you hear this :

Three claims : 
  1. "We have a boiler sequencing Gizmo.  We attach it to any boiler, and by reducing firing when demand is low it will save you energy"
  2. "We have proven it in independent trials where it achieved X% energy reduction without jeopardising comfort"
  3. "If it saves you 'X%' it would payback in ....weeks, so we will only charge you if it does, and this is how we will prove it. We will enable and disabled it alternatively on separate days for fourteen days.  We will compare the seven days when it was working with the seven when it was not and if you don't see an "X%" saving you will get your money back, and we will remove it - or (in an alternative) leave it in place free of charge."

Lets get the legitimate stuff out of the way first:

A red-hot iron object, transferring heat to th...
A red-hot iron object, transferring heat to the surrounding environment primarily through thermal radiation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you are using a boiler and demand is less than peak (think well-below freezing) - i.e. "almost all the time" - You can save money and energy by having it off some of the time. - That's obvious right !

If the boiler heats things (like water pipes and radiators or air ducts) you can reduce the temperature of operation - this inherently helps efficiency (water is cooler - so takes more heat from the flame, also less heat is lost from cooler pipes in transit - on low load this can be a big proportion).

Depending on time of year - savings are "always available". Since the heating system is designed for extreme heating needs, if it does not match demand very well there is some saving available for any time of year.  Yes this IS actionable, but don't be conned (we will look at how to achieve savings in a future post - this one is to make people stop and think).  So if you are an audit authority, you can stamp pretty much any device with a true saving claim - and that's their job - to encourage people to save energy - The con comes in how it is sold.


There are two "sub-cons" -

Did you ever hear the "tell the sex of your baby scam" ?

It is like this - 

Pay me 100 units and I will correctly guess whether you will be having a little Timmy or a Mary-Jane - so you can buy clothes the right colour (yep we are totally gender judgemental here :  Blue for a girl etc:).
If I "read the runes wrongly"  -I will not only give you your money back - I will refund you 50 units on top.

Always a winner (or 50% percent of the time). Guess right you win 100 units, guess wrong you lose 50 units - average win 25 per guess.

So this is the - "if I fit something at very little cost - I can hardly lose scam"

The other is more subtle and harder to judge

It is like this - 

Fact - If I keep the  temperature of your system lower by any means it will be more efficient.  (Switching off will do this !)

Fact  - If I keep the  temperature of your system higher by any means it will be less efficient.  (Switching on will do this !)

So if I can choose when the system is on or off I can schedule savings !

But -  BUT - BUT !

When I lower a target setting the system takes a while to cool - during which time it uses NO fuel - but does some heating.

When I raise a target setting, the system must be heated and the energy is stored (before that energy is transferred - ie boiling a kettle does not fill the cup with hot water).

So changing temperature targets is either get something for nothing (temporarily) followed by paying something for nothing (temporarily).

Lets take this to its logical extreme - there is a thermostat (costs 5 $ ). 

It turns things on an off (around an average).  

When its off it you spend nothing.  
When its on you spend 100% of capacity.

So is it fair to argue that by installing a thermostat I save 100% of your energy when its off ? - Doh! 

These con men are selling a thermostat - wrapped up in big scientific words!

Enhanced by Zemanta

How Now Green Con? - fraudster challenge series

In another "fraudster challenge" in our series feeding lies to energy managers today we are looking at what I call the "How Now Green Con".

OK - the name is chosen because its easy to remember - there's even a blog at who seem to be doing good things !
Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo
Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia) - Some certifications ARE better than others ! - but some are worse.  All can be conned!

So lets first see how they phrase the con (carefully - as it always is).  It is about contrasting on and off control or "How green is it now when on Con" - trol ?".

They typically make three claims - the first two are true - the last is smart.
  • "We have a boiler sequencing Gizmo.  We attach it to any boiler, and by reducing firing when demand is low it will save you energy" - 
    • (reducing dry-cycling - it works).
  • "We have proven it in independent trials where it achieved X% energy reduction without jeopardising comfort"
    •  (these may be real trials).
  • "If it saves you 'X%' it would payback in ....weeks, so we will only charge you if it does, and this is how we will prove it. We will enable and disabled it alternatively on separate days for fourteen days.  We will compare the seven days when it was working with the seven when it was not and if you don't see an "X%" saving you will get your money back, and we will remove it - or (in an alternative) leave it in place free of charge."
    • (Don't fall for this  - maybe bookmark the answer page tomorrow for future reference )

OK that's it - simply stated.  It is legal and honest as expressed - but highly disreputable.

There are many, many, companies who run variants of this con. And some of the best engineers are suckered by it.

Can you see the con ? - Comments and discussion welcome as ever (don't be shy) - Maybe you have been conned, or would you like me to write up a specific one ?

I will write up the answer tomorrow (unless someone comes gunning for me :) - God-willing - see you tomorrow.

Update - And there it is Energy Saving Fraud - #2

By the way please tweet or "like" or whatever this one if you can. Together we can make a dent in the cash crooks are making at the expense of climate change - which is stealing the future of our grandchildren !

Enhanced by Zemanta

Energy Saving Fraud - #1

This post explains one if the easiest energy saving frauds in the world.

Yesterday, we discussed the idea of treating energy managers like mushrooms (keep in the dark and feed BS) and "lies, damned-lies, and statistics" which led to this post. So if you have jumped straight into the page have a read of feeding lies to energy managers first.

The subject today is a simple explanation of why the following is a case of a statistic that is a "damned lie":

"We have an energy saving product that will save you > 15% in 'seasonally adjusted savings'.  We will look at your last six months bills and get a pattern of use that is weather adjusted, we will implement product "X" in summer and monitor for another six months, and then you will use less energy, even after we have adjusted for the weather."

So, what is the implicit assumption here ? -  it is absolutely obvious!

Answer : It assumes there is an the amount of heating energy you normally spend that depends on primarily on the weather !

This sounds reasonable - cold day - more heat - right ?

Wrong !

In reality the vast proportion of buildings do not work like this !

This is an alarming claim, so I will have to explain it (I have met a couple of energy managers over the years who immediately understood this - but it is complex, so excuse me if I spoon-feed a little).

To maintain comfort the above assumption is exactly right - this is the basis of degree-day analysis, by which most of the energy managers in the world are taught to analyse (and reasonably so - "but as a first approximation" ).

Degree-Day Energy Management Theory chart
So here is the theory you were taught (and on which all degree-day analysis is founded)...

As it gets colder, below a certain temperature, energy spend goes up, linearly (AKA red line is straight) with temperature load.

To save energy you need :
  1. to move the green line down (reduce base load)
  2. to make the red line less steep (insulate or improve plant efficiency)
  3. a miracle

And that is pretty much the theory.  We only need to understand how the miracles occur (drum roll ....) !

Now, let us suppose people use the building ! (I know it's a radical concept and  a departure into the unknown that ruins a perfectly good theory ).

They are average people and there are lots of them, so we can describe them in terms of "typical behaviour".

So our very simple occupant people ( ok - no comments : )  are one of three things as follows  ...

  1. I'm too Hot -  I will open the window , turn the cooling on
  2. I'm too Cold - I will turn the up the thermostat or radiator valve
  3. I'm not Sure - I will complain about something else !
If we go on to assume our very simple occupant people are also very lazy, they do these things at different times - when really, really motivated.

1)  - Happens in early summer (when its horrendously hot and the heating is still where they put it !)

2)  - Happens in mid-fall / early winter - when it's getting really cold and the heating is low (or the cooling still on)

3) Ok - so in fact they complain all the time !

These things change the shape of our diagram as follows :

Chart of seasonal energy waste
The seasonal savings con.

If I install my energy saving equipment (it can be a bright orange blob of jelly - it really doesn't matter), and do a six month return survey - "to see how its doing"), I can "reconfigure" your heating system (aka turn it down for summer in late spring or summer), then tell you to continue keep a close eye on energy (achieving some small savings anyway) - My seasonally adjusted savings (for one year) will save a bunch of energy without ANY new technology.

If you are sceptical - look at this graph - The dots are days and the blue area is surrounded by month averages.

Chart of Energy Savings in Buildings automatically identified
Asymetric waste automatically identified by kWIQly

A good energy management dashboard can identify this automatically without site visits - I have NO idea where the above diagram comes from - it is based on an anonymous data feed combined with weather data that kWIQly provides.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Manage mushrooms, keep in the dark and feed...

st jacobs oil
St jacobs oil (Photo credit: Tim & Selena Middleton)
It is said, that

"there are lies, damned lies and statistics" 

and I have also heard a senior manager use the phrase 

"Manage mushrooms, keep in the dark and feed horse-shit!".

Do these ideas deeply offend you ? - 

They do me !  

logo - kW - kiloWatts, IQ - intelligence , kWIQly
At  kWIQly we interpret numbers to help people manage energy. It means lighting up the truth and sharing it when people do not want to hear it.

So one of our biggest issues is overcoming B.S. about energy savings from con-men,  snake-oil salesmen, or put simply - crooks. So I am going to tell some lies ! - I am going to tell you some lies people tell, how you can spot them, and what to do about it !

English: mushrooms
English: mushrooms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
They sell "damned lies" to mushrooms !

Like a cold-reader they will promise you voices from the dead if it will make them money, and they know exactly how to make money - they must tell you what you want to hear. 

If you are a 'shroom' you must just love what they feed. 

 By the way - There is a link from spiders to mushrooms. which I feel a need to quickly explain : - So this post is about unweaving webs of lies ; interestingly in German a 'Spinnner' - is a spider and 'du spinnst'" - means literally 'you spin  - a web', or - You're totally nuts' or even you are 'full of it' - i.e. bullshit.  So - spiders and mushrooms go well together

I have ranted about building energy management systems snakeoil before but this one is rather different - this is not about "cure-all-ills" but about "ways that people lie".  Not in general, but to you the energy manager.


Here is lie #1

"We have an energy saving product that will save you > 15% in 'seasonally adjusted savings'.  We will look at your last six months bills and get a pattern of use that is weather adjusted, we will implement product "X" in summer and monitor for another six months, and then you will use less energy, even after we have adjusted for the weather."

 - The beauty of this lie is that it is true factually, but the buyer is not buying the truth, rather; they buy what it implies. What is implied is untrue (a lying statistic) - which must be inspected, exposed, rejected and stomped on !

So, if you can spot the trick or have any idea please comment below, with proper respect or "props" ( I love my new vocabulary: ) ) to anyone who gets it.

If not do come back tomorrow and I will talk you through it, and after that I will tell you another lie ! 

Update energy saving fraud # 1 - Explained - as promised - (last chance to comment ) ...

Here is lie #2 - "How Now Green Con"
Enhanced by Zemanta

Cost of precise comfort - who knows ?

An incredibly important and simple question came up the other day and I have absolutely no idea of the answer.
I would really welcome any insight or references in the comments, and will happily link and give credit for any interesting articles in a follow up. So please do contribute if you can - sharing ideas we all win.

Here were the given facts :

Determining if a room is too hot or too cold for comfort is subjective - it follows that any target will be disputed.

To achieve a "comfortable building", an optimum is assumed when fewest people express discomfort. 
We know it is impossible to please all the people any of the time. So this is pragmatic - and democratic.

Around 7% of people are uncomfortably hot or cold as an optimum.

It gets worse if conditions affect people of different age, sex, build, current activity level or health !
  • Any warmer and more people complain they are now too hot than stop complaining they were too cold.
  • Similarly any cooler and more people complain they are now too cold than cease from complaining they were too warm.
In short - "Some like it hot" - when others want to chill.

The question:

"What is the cost of over-shooting target in pursuing temperature goals?"

My first thoughts are that we can assume some parameters for our problem.

If we know the volume of air that must be heated or cooled to achieve "target", we know how much energy is needed (lets ignore pressure and humidity to keep this simple).

We can assume an ideal situation where air is perfectly mixed and no significant stratification arises.

We can assume a minimum fresh air make up rate requirement, and a percentage enthalpy recovery by heat exchange.

We can calculate perfect response costs (assuming 100% efficient plant).

BUT when we factor in an exact target (as is very commonly and absurdly done), and if we allow both chilling and heating primary plant to operate (though not simultaneously in an air handler), we see that theoretical cost tends to infinity (and is only limited by plant capacity), if we have anything less than perfect control.

Note this infinity arises from the implicit assumption of zero error tolerance.  To correct instantly requires infinite power, and is thus not attainable.  It must therefore pay to tolerate inaccuracy, because humans cannot perceive infinitesimal discomfort.

But how much does it pay back - and what is the shape of the sweet spot.

I accept this depends on thermal lag and all sorts of assumptions about plant configuration and control loops - but is there NO research o the subject.

I would imagine that at least a rule of thumb could be developed and promoted as global policy (e.g. a minimum legal target dead-band of say 2.5 Celsius or 4.5 Fahrenheit.)

- Any thoughts, comments, questions or reference material, ideas or pragmatic approaches happily received.
Enhanced by Zemanta

A proper cup of tea - Who is really at fault ?

Johnny Foreigner
Johnny Foreigner (Photo credit: chrstphrwng)
Although my blog is usually generally in good taste and often about fun things like energy management or issues that affect startups, which judging by the likes - diggs , and other social media feedback to the left is statistically quite unlikely to be your "cup of tea". 

Sometimes it has amazing pictures . However, just once in a while up pops a business topic that deserves your serious attention - and I must address it here.

There is racism, there is humour and then there is the serious distinction between: 

KOBE, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 03:  A tea ceremony mas...
KOBE, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 03: A tea ceremony master makes a green tea during the outdoor tea ceremony at Zuihoji Temple Park on November 3, 2011 in Kobe, Japan. The tea ceremony began in 1950 to commemorate the 14th century governor Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his tea master Sen no Rikyu, who are said to visit this area and enjoyed tea ceremonies. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
A Proper Cup of Tea
A Proper Cup of Tea (Photo credit: James Shade)
"A Proper Cup of Tea
(note the polite capitalisation)

 and ...

your typical continental 'Jonny foreigner' 
- European 
tea-making behaviour'

which has never been anything other than dreadful !

(or so my wife tells me - I don't often drink the stuff)

So I will put in my early defence before I continue...

I  work and live in Switzerland (I really love it here, have great neighbours and appreciate their sense of humour - Some Swiss people will even admit to being bankers - I mean how self-deprecating is that ?).

My best-man is German. Naturally he cannot handle the simple question "wouldn't you like a proper cup of tea" - and may answer "No" and then go on to explain in a voice straight out of "Das Boot".

 "but, I would like a cup of tea, - So when you ask me if I would not like a cup of tea the answer must surely be no"). 

When he answers "yes I wouldn't"  - I really do get confused.

One sister sister lives in France, wife comes from Zimbabwe so I can claim to love people and places from all over - 


If you are a "Jonny Foreigner" you have no clue as to how to make a "proper cup of tea" !

This is probably NOT your fault ! -  If you cared enough, you would find it is easy, but you do have the inalienable right to care as little about tea making as I care about bias regarding International Tiddlywinks Organisations on Wikipedia - allow me to quote :

However, the modern competitive adult game of tiddlywinks made a strong comeback at the University of Cambridge in 1955. The modern game uses far more complex rules and a consistent set of high-grade equipment. The rest of this article concerns the adult game. 

Really - Do you think so ?  :) 

So - to the point of this post,...

There are as many different ways to make a proper cup of tea as there are British people, but funnily enough only British people about know them. 

Here is one example with which I can hugely disagree  
and as every decent chap will be aware George Orwell and Tea science are still at loggerheads.
So as I come to the end of this rant, allow me to teach one thing...

1 - The water has to be boiling !

Not "luke - , after you've stubbed out your silly Gauloises cigarrettes with the logo that looks like Asterix's helmet, and you've sent another three text messages to your Mum with whom you still live probably ! - warm "

But really, really HOT !

Thank you rant over - time for a nice .....

If you have nothing better to do, you could go on and read about what I call auto-congratulatory-green-benchmarking - its a shambles !
Enhanced by Zemanta