A Quiet New Year in a Smart House
Well, we’re 10 days into 2022 and I’ve yet to write a blog post. New Years is usually quiet for us, but this is ridiculous! There just hasn’t really been anything exciting happening.
The New year was a quiet one for us. Anna and I went for a stroll around Furnace a couple of days before. It was a pretty grey, damp day and I think there were too many hills for Anna. It was nice to get some fresh air though.
New Years Eve itself was a quiet night in watching films in front of the fire with a couple of cocktails and that was it. We were tucked up in bed well before midnight.
Since then we’ve been mainly at home. We had a few ‘Smart Home’ devices for Christmas in the form of smart light bulbs and and Amazon Echo Dot. We’ve added to these and have been setting up various routines. It’s nothing too exciting as there’s only so much you can achieve with a few light bulbs but some of them have a little bit of use.
To be honest though for the basics of turning lights on and off you can’t really get much easier than a simple light switch attached to a bulb with some copper wire! Having to talk to a device that sends what you are saying to a server somewhere else in the world (probably via some satellites) to decipher what you are saying and then send back a message to your wifi network to turn on or off a light is certainly clever, but I’m not sure that it is any easier!
I guess once you have proper routines set up then it can be quite cool but until everything is properly smart it’s not really that much use. Having a smart speaker is nice though as we never had speakers throughout the house before.
As far as routines go I do have a morning routine that:
- Turns on the table lamp in the lounge.
- Tells me a useless fact about the day.
- Reads the lastest News from the BBC.
- Tells me the current temperature in Borth and reads the weather forecast to me.
- Starts playing a ‘chilled morning’ playlist .
We do also have a bedtime routine that:
- Turns off any music
- Will turn off the TV once we have a smart plug for it (or an Alexa enabled Smart TV!)
- Turns on the lights in the dining room (and in the hall once we’ve updated them to smart bulbs)
- Turns on the lamp in the bedroom
- Waits 1 minute
- Turns off the Lounge Lights
- Waits 1 minute
- Turns off the lights in the dinning room
- Waits 3 minutes
- Turns off the lights in the hall
This means that we have lights on to allow us to safely find our way from the lounge through to the bathroom and bedroom. The TV will be turned off, as will any music playing on the smart speakers. The lights will then be turned off behind us and there will be a light on in the bedroom waiting for us. We might program it to gradually dim the bedroom light and finally turn it off over the course of half an hour too.
We have a ‘Movie Night’ routine as well, which is more of a scene setting by dimming lights and such like.
We’ve also integrated the Echo Dot with our Tesco account. This means we can just say ‘Add avacodos to the shopping list’ and next time Tesco arrive with our shopping deilvery there will be avacados in it! It works with things other than avacados of course. We don’t quite trust it fully yet. So we do check the list before the delivery is despatched. We wouldn’t want Alexa to accidentally order 500 verucca socks or something for us! Not that it would actually be a problem as we can reject whatever we ant from an order once Tesco bring the delivery anyway.
New Years Exercise
I did manage to get out for a proper mountain bike ride on New Years Eve as well. The first outdoor bike ride since my heart attack. I met Colin and Paul at Nant yr Arian for a nice easy spin around the Pendam Trail. We kept it easy just to see how I was. Being the first time doing such exercise whilst in the hills and probably out of phone reception meant that it was better to be safe than sorry.
All went well.
I did however also go for a run one day last week and then decided to go for a walk in the afternoon as well. The walk was nothing too stenuous, but by the time I’d done about 2 miles and was now heading into the wind with soft sand underfoot I started to feel a little tired. I stopped for a rest by the sand dunes overlooking Aberovey.
I pushed on for a bit more but then hit my ‘afternoon wall’. I don’t know what causes this but I just completely run out of oomph and can’t do anything.
I stopped a couple of times for a bit of a breather as I walked across the estuary sands, but in the end with just half a mile of flat walking along the road left I gave up! I phoned Anna from the Visitor Centre and asked her to come get me in the car.
I don’t know if it’s the medication I’m on that makes me so tired in the afternoons or just an effect of having damaged cardiac tissue. It’s annoying whatever it is. I’m supposed to be back to work full time next month, doing full days. I don’t know how I’ll get on in the afternoons yet.