Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you have so many lights?
Because it's fun - it started small, then each year you see more displays and there's a challenge set for you. Besides, the more you have, the brighter it gets and the more people want to see. Finally, the kids love it.
Ok, so how many lights are there?
I'm still counting. There are up to 43 plugtops and at least 15 extension strips.
What's new this year?
The layout is slightly different. There are some new reindeer, trees and flowers. The Arch over the path was not set up in 2008, but makes a comeback this year. As usual, some icicles are re-arranged, and some snowflakes aren't making an appearance this time round.
What do your neighbours think about it all?
They all seem to be fairly happy - some even make an effort themselves (will add photo sometime!).
What does your wife think about it?
Loves it all. Serena's always looking out for new lights for the display and she's just excellent at spotting the sale bargains!
Where are they in the summer?
All the lights are taken down and checked, then they are put back in their boxes, and stored in the loft. They all come down in November, the empty boxes go back, then the boxes come down in January, get re-filled and taken back uo and packed away. Thst's a lot of up and down the ladder. The lights take up over a quarter of the area of the loft.
How much electricity do they use? You must have a huge electricity bill!
I prefer not to think too much about it. Roughly, though, it costs about £2 per day to run - although that's not 24 hours. Mostly we only have the lights on during the evening, so it's a fairly modest outlay.
You can see for yourself the total house electric consumption in the meter here. Lights are on between 1630hrs and 2330hrs UTC.

How do you control them?
The lights are cpntrolled by means of the whole house remote control system. They can be turned on and off from certain fixed points in the house, by hand-held remote controls, as well as linked into the house computer network - so that they can be internet controlled, or even by WAP on a mobile phone. Maybe I'll eventually get something set up for public internet control with a webcam - but this year it proved impossible to complete this part of the project due to time constraints.
Have you won any prizes for your display?
In 2001 there was a village competition which we won. There are some other grand designs nearby in Goodwyns and Chart Downs which might be described as "the competition"!
How much money do you get given?
We colleccted in 2003 and 2004 and were given about £15 and £75 in each respective year. These gifts are always passed on to a charity of our choice.
What's the charity you give the money to? What do they do?
This year we have chosen Brooklands School in Reigate, Surrey. Brooklands is a Surrey County Council community day special school for children with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties. Children are admitted from 2 years of age and may continue their education there until the age of 11. See their own internet site for more information.