There’s an awful racket in our bedroom – and not in a good way, says you. Denis is fumbling about looking for something on the floor.

“Where are my shagging slippers?” he manages to whisper and shout at the same time.

“What are you at, Denis? It’s 2am.”

“I’m putting on the dishwasher.”

“Now? Why?”

“To get the cheap current. I know you’ll be using up all the solar tomorrow on the washing machine.”

I’m half awake in the middle of the night being accused of something I haven’t done yet.

Denis got the fierce cheap night-rate electric deal to charge a battery that we don’t have and an electric car we don’t have. Some sort of a stroke he pulled. He’s turning into Patsy Duggan, our local TD.

Patsy Duggan keeps sending WhatsApps asking me what the yield is. I don’t know how in this day and age with everything on the computers that he still thinks he got us the grant.

“I had a word, Ann,” he told me.

“With who, the computer?”

Human touch

“Ah, Ann, the human touch is still very important.”

Patsy Duggan has nothing to fear from the artificial intelligence anyway. He’s already deep fake, as far as I can see.

Well, the panels are in anyway and Denis is obsessed.

He was already gone off the deep end with energy during the Big Bills last year but now the panels are in, it’s gone worse. We got the smart meter and he has an app and he’s watching everything like a hawk.

I wouldn’t mind but there’s hardly any sun yet. He’d be better off shining a torch at them. I don’t tell Denis that because he’ll be up on the roof to beat yesterday’s score.

He’s telling all and sundry about them these days. Up in Johnny’s Bar with the phone out spending €6 on a pint to tell Johnny how he’s just made 4 cent.

“It’s a good time to put them in, Ann”, he tells me. "I don’t know what he’s going to do when the days start getting short again. We’ll need a therapist for the dying of the light. More expense.

Ethically sourced

Freya is my environmentally conscious niece and she approves, sort of. “Are the panels ethically sourced?” she says. “I don’t know, pet. The fellas who put them in looked ethical enough to me. I left the priest’s petrol money on the table and they didn’t touch it when they were going into the attic.”

“No, auntie Ann. The panels. They’ve rare earth metals in them and the mining of them is problematic.”

“I don’t know, Freya, they took away the boxes so I didn’t see the components.”

“C’mere, Freya till I show you, look!” Denis is over with the phone.

“FOUR KILOS of carbon saved. Did you ever see the bate of that? Like planting trees while sitting at home, ha?”

“I still prefer planting trees, uncle Denis.” (Freya has been guerilla planting trees in corners around the village, the cheeky monkey. She’ll bring me down with her if she’s caught. I gave her Tidy Towns money for it.)

I’ve never seen Denis so happy. Or rather, I hadn’t seen Denis so happy. But then he discovered this Facebook group of solar owners and he’s gone mad jealous of the other people on it.

“Some 20kWs they put in, Ann. Sixty panels, Ann. That’s not right. How could you have a house with that much roof?”

He throws a look up to his own roof now that he thinks is so small. Then he catches my eye. “But look it, I’m happy with what I’ve got, isn’t that the main thing.”

I don’t know whether he’s talking about me or the panels. I think it’s the panels.

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