Learning a language

Learning a language is, to me, about grinding. Continously exposing yourself.

Ich lerne Deutsch. Oder, ich versuche Deutsch zu lernen. 😉

I try to expose my self to the language via YouTube (thx Nils for the tip about 7 gegen Wild), but also news papers and just chatting with people. I’d say the biggest hurdle is that people find English easier than having me try to find and reorder the words, so practice at full speed is hard to find.

I guess I do the same for people trying to learn Swedish, and i really shouldn’t.

If you have tips for how to expose myself more to German – spoken or written – please drop a comment here or join the conversation at mastodon.

Creating Apples

Time for another weekend post in the 100 days to offload effort.

A couple of years ago I had an excavator dig up parts of the garden to make room for a new deck. Apparently it took out a bit too much of the roots of my daughters favourite apple tree – the Transparent Blanche. So, yesterday evening we finally got a new one and planted it.

The 11yrs old found couple of red bricks (I guess they come from the the construction of the neighbours’ house across the street) so he is now turning into a fully fledged archaeologist looking for artefacts from as far back as the 1960s :^)

Sick kids

Who would had thought that having a child with a cold at home would affect my blogging cadence this badly. This week is going to be a short list of links, that’s it:

  • Paul Bourke, a wonderful website with collections of fractals, algebra for geometry, useful and just plain strange transformations, and much much more. Perfect for a lazy day of browsing.
  • fedi.directory, a directory of interesting people and accounts to follow on the fediverse.
  • nordiska akvarellmuseet, the nordic watercolour museum, located just by the sea. Usually has nice, but smallish, exhibitions. Recommended.
  • Lights in Alingsås, visit my home town for the annual lights festival. This year will be the 25th edition. If you like running, make sure to participate in Running Lights. It is a flat and fast track, so a good opportunity to set a new PB on 5km or 10km.

Growing Lemons

I’ve extended the house with a large glassed area. We call it the orangeri, which is a lie, since what grows there are lemons. So how do you grow lemons in Sweden?

First of all, you have a hole straight through the construction of your house all the way down to the soil underneath.

Then you send a child down the hole to clean out any left over gravel and stuff from the construction to get a good connection with the soil you pour in from the top. Also, add double layers of plastic to avoid getting the house wet.

Then you take a tree, and way too many bags of soil and assemble it into the gigantic pot you’ve just constructed.

You might notice the pile of styrofoam to the right. There is a vent there which needs a cover. Good thing I have a 3D printer. Designed using FreeCAD.

The tree came with a lot of lemons, so last spring consisted of lemon icecream, lemon drinks, lemon cakes, and various dishes requiring lemon (schnitzel – yay!). But how has it fared in my care? Apparently not too bad. It is taller and wider, and it carries a whole bunch of lemons in the making.

And yesterday I finally picked the first lemon of my making. I almost feel like a parent. I pollinated the flowers with a small brush, I watered the tree, and now I can enjoy the fruits. I just need a few more to be able to do a batch of icecream.

Home Charging

I recently wrote about my experiences in driving a fully electric car. Today, the electrician dropped by and installed a charging box in my garage. Finally I can do 11kW charging from home, at the lowest possible price.

The box was installed super late as the eesee box that I initially ordered was banned from selling in Sweden this spring, so now I’m trying Zaptech. I guess the next step is to install it in home assistant and see where it gets me!

Driving Electric

As promised, here comes a post about living with my first fully electric car. In March I received my MG5.

So, let’s get the range question out of the way. My last car was a fairly lean diesel (a BMW E61 with the 2.0L diesel) and my personal record was 1350km on one tank of diesel, but I could do 1000km easily. The MG claims to do 380km. On a nice spring day on the smaller roads (so doing ~70-80kph) I can do 400km without too much effort. On a day with heavy rain trying to do 100kph, I’m happy if I can do 300km. It will be interesting to see how this car fares in winter conditions (cold + thick slush covering the road).

Given that the charging speed is a variable thing, it took a couple of weeks getting used to it, but now I do longer trips quite comfortably.

I consume ~16-17kWh/100km. If I want to do highway speeds (in Sweden that means 100 – 135kph) I need to calculate ~25kWh/100km. The battery pack carries 61kWh of charge. You do the math.

To refill the 61kWh, there are a range of options, but the three categories are:

  • single phase charging from a normal power outlet, ~2kW, so 10km/h
  • three phase charging from a public charging station (soon at home too), ~11kW, so 50km/h
  • DC charging from a public charging station, ~95kW, so 475km/h

The interesting part here is the variability of the prices. At home I can charge for ~1SEK/kWh. Public stations in my home town vary between 3-4SEK/kWh – but I’ve seen stations as low as 2SEK/kWh and as high as 8SEK/kWh when travelling. For DC charging, the price seems to hover around the 9-10SEK/kWh point. The exception to this is Skövde where all public charging stations costs 2.5SEK/kWh regardless of power output last time I checked.

Another thing to factor in is the ridiculous number of apps needed to charge. I need two for my, rather small, home town, and have 12 in total at the moment. It would had been nice if the outlet could negotiate the price and payment with the car, so that I just approved the price and could get on with my life.

For my needs, I’ve been able to survive on the 2kW charger since March, but sometimes had to use a public 11kW charger to fill it up before longer trips. But for my summer house trips (200km, one way, only single phase charger there), as well as my semi-daily commute (~50km, one way, charging at home) it just works.

The longest trips I’ve done this far is ~600km, and it has worked out. Once I got stuck in a charging queue due to Easter and a game being played at the local arena. That made me ~2h late, but apart from that, it has just worked.

There are other factors to take in as well. The air conditioning system of the MG is the worst I’ve ever encountered. It fogs up if there is rain in a 100km radius from the car, and the fans always blow a lot of air, despite the temperature being ok in the car.

When it comes to infotainment I’m a damaged human being, but it will have to be a separate post. If anyone from MG/SAIC wants my input – reach out – I’m here to help :-)

Otherwise the car does what the box says. It delivers the range. It comfortably drives five people. It fits a bit of luggage.

For the next car I’ll definitely go electric again. All I want is a 6 or 7 seater that does not cost an arm and a leg. Let’s see what’s on the market in a few years time.