Today is the 5th anniversary of my blog, and, in common with may of my readers, the past year has presented significant and unexpected challenges. And in common with a great many people, I suffered health problems last year for which I was unable to get treatment, which threw a large spanner into my business. Thankfully now, things are now getting back to normal, and I hope this is also the case for my colleagues, clients and regular readers.

I started this blog 5 years ago as a means of keeping my eye in while taking time off from paid employment to find the right combination of medications and therapies to manage my fibromyalgia symptoms – when I was diagnosed I was prescribed a range of medications whose side-effects were extremely debilitating, and not conducive to either working or commuting.

chronic illness cartoonOver the next few months I worked out a reasonable balance which kept my symptoms and the side-effects of the medication manageable – and it is a balance: too much pain relief makes me foggy but not enough means the pain enters a negative feedback loop due to stress. Anyway, within the six months I had allowed myself for this process, I started to get approaches to do consulting work, and so my business grew from there.

But as the first lockdown started last year, I was experiencing my worst ever fibro-flare-up (and had also been diagnosed with small fibre neuropathy), and at the same time the clinic I attend for treatments to help me cope with my symptoms was forced to close.

My neurologist prescribed me a new medication and again I was knocked sideways by the side-effects, and although I stopped the medication after a few weeks it took months to recover. Luckily my wonderful doctor and his colleagues at the London Healthcare Clinic were able to re-open after 6 weeks and I was able to re-start my treatments (and we discussed the possibility of me self-administering my treatment should another lockdown force another closure, which thankfully didn’t happen as putting in my own IV does not appeal!)

Just as I was getting back on a even keel my husband lost his job, so it’s safe to say that I was very pleased to see the back of 2020.

However, despite everything, the year wasn’t a complete write-off. I was able to carry out a few small projects, and in between I started developing some new content for my website and my business, which I had hoped to launch today – Watt-Logic Training. Sadly in final testing I discovered some issues when the content is viewed in different browsers, so a bit more de-bugging is needed. I’m now targeting a launch next week.

It’s taken much longer than I hoped to get this off the ground – I have created all of my own content, producing animations by hand and editing videos I found online (which I hope are all free from copyright – I know from first hand experience how annoying it is when people help themselves to your work…I attended a seminar a couple of years ago only to see some of my own content up on screen with no attributions! I was not impressed!)

“And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected,”
– Spike Milligan

A gratuitous picture of my cats doing what they do best (Artemis on the left and Luna on the right)

Anyway, as I’m sure everyone else who has explored the use of new digital media has found over the past year, it’s very time consuming. Small vocal trips which go un-noticed in conversation jar on a recording, and then there was the ever present danger of the doorbell ringing or a cat miaowing for attention, and while the cats showing up in video calls can be cute, it really isn’t in a training film you want people to pay to watch!

So it’s taken much longer that I hoped, but I’m really proud of the content. The first course is a free introduction to electricity markets which walks through all of the important milestones in the discoveries and inventions which have led us to our current electricity market, right from ancient Egypt.

Pseudodoxia EpidemicaThe term “electricity” was first mentioned in print by Sir Thomas Browne in his 1646 book “Pseudodoxia Epidemica: Or, Enquiries into Commonly Presumed Truths” in which he describes the attraction of different bodies due to static electricity.

Or not…he lists a number of substances which do not exhibit these properties, including opium, and the intriguingly named “Sanguis Draconis”. Sadly he doesn’t elaborate on where he found this curious substance! The book is still in print, and an interesting if sometimes obscure read.

One of the things I love about energy markets is the way that the physical drives the economic in a way that is unique – the fundamental physical properties of electricity determine the way in which the electricity system operates – balancing supply and demand is a physical imperative and not just an economic preference.

“The alternating current will kill people, of course. So will gunpowder, and dynamite, and whisky, and lots of other things; but we have a system whereby the deadly electricity of the alternating current can do no harm unless a man is fool enough to swallow a whole dynamo,”
– George Westinghouse

I particularly enjoyed researching the developments of the late 19th century and the shenanigans between Edison and Tesla in the so-called “Battle of the Currents” – it’s interesting to note that a re-run today might achieve a different outcome with the decline of synchronous dispatchable generation on the system.

I hope you enjoy the course as much as I enjoyed creating it (although I’m liking the WordPress de-bugging an awful lot less!). I will be following it up shortly with a seminar on electricity trading, and then afterwards there will be specialised courses taking a deep dive into specific topics such as investing in batteries.

And I’m hopeful that by the time I come to write my 6th anniversary blog, covid-related horribleness will be well and truly behind us all.


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