I expect you are wondering what this has got to do with climate change. Nothing at all, but I thought I would pass on the benefit of my knowledge and experience to my loyal readers. Do ask questions in the comments if you wish. I will reply as soon as I can.

To  be honest I do not have vast knowledge of these areas but there are a few points that you may find interesting or useful.

1. What to do with tough or stringy vegetables.

I hate to see anything wasted but I will not eat tough or stringy vegetables. The answer is to boil them up and then use some form of liquidiser on them, then filter out all the tough stringy bits using a colander, leaving a nourishing liquid to which any stock cube or herbs can be added to make a soup. This worked very well with runner beans which tasted a bit like a pea soup.

2. How to make your home grown tomatoes last through the whole year.

My wife grows tomato plants from seed. She starts in February and grows around 20 plants which fill our greenhouse. She also grows another 5 plants for outside and this year we have another 5 later sown plants for replacing those in the greenhouse when they are finished around September. This lot means we have excess tomatoes in the summer which we cook in the microwave - one dinner plate full of tomatoes cut in half takes 8 minutes in a standard 800 watt microwave. I then leave them to cool and scrape out the soft flesh and juice into small plastic cube shaped pots with lids and put them in the freezer. When they are frozen I take them out and leave them to soften at the edges so I can remove them from the pots and put the cubes into clean plastic bags. I find old cornflake bags ideal for lining old shopping bags for extra strength. These tomato cubes, I find, taste just like fresh tomatoes, only more runny. We use them with bacon for breakfast and also to add to other meat to make a sauce or in gravy.

3. Replacing a toilet and cistern

I had to do this as my cistern developed a crack and started to seep water out. The toilet was close-coupled and so the pan had to be replaced too. First tip is to realise that the spigot (the pipe coming out of the back of the pan) is not the same height for all models, so check the height of the original. This is something I regret not doing, so I had to raise the pan by making a wooden platform, which was a nuisance. Second, if the sewage pipe comes from the left or right you may find (like I did) that you need to extend the spigot to be able to line the sewage pipe up, which in turn may mean that you cannot get the pan as far back as you need to get the cistern to be tight to the wall. I ended up with the cistern about an inch away from the wall. This meant I had to pack out behind it.

4. Cleaning solar panels

Yes I do have them, you may be surprised to learn! As the government were being so generous by offering to pay me well above the price of electricity for every unit they generated for 25 years I took it up as an investment back in 2011. But this is about how to clean them on the roof, without getting on there yourself. My answer is to use a dutch hoe with a long extension. Cover the blade of the hoe with several layers of cloth tied on with string. I can use a velux roof window to access the roof. Gently rub over the panels after soaking the cloth-covered hoe blade in water. I found it was hard to control the device as the distance to the panels increased, so I slung a rope over the roof with a sling attached which the hoe could go through, a bit like a snooker rest. 

5. Prolonging the life of your car battery

A lot of people don't realise that the car's alternator does not always keep the battery fully charged, particularly if you only do short journeys and even more so in winter when lights are frequently used. The answer is to have a home battery charger and every two or three weeks put the trickle charger on for at least over night, or longer if possible to restore the battery to fully charged, which is how it should be kept for a longer life. If the battery gets to a low state of charge you may find it does not recover its charge when in use and it will fail to start the car - so beware!  

6. Fixing a door that is locked shut 

This happened to me recently. It was my front door and luckily my wife was in and so she could let me in via the back door. I decided that the only way was to take the hinges apart, which I did by using a small hacksaw to remove one end of the metal shaft which holds the hinge together. I then used a small punch (a four inch nail was good) to knock the shaft out and so separate the two halves of the hinge. I then had just enough room to get the hinge side of the door out. It was very tight and I used a small metal chisel inserted between the door and frame (taking care not to damage the door) to shift the door away to create enough space to get it past the hinge. With the door out I removed the faulty lock and then re-inserted the shaft into the hinges after lining the hinges up and it was fixed. 

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