Afternoon all, just a quick missive to wish everybody a Happy Christmas and a safe new year. I'd go for the traditional 'Prosperous' but that might be a bit of a big ask. 
Much of my time in the last month or so has been busy busy, not that it's particularly unusual, but perhaps a bit more so than usual. Helping a friend with his Air Source Heat Pump, and a few other bits. Finishing up the Winter 2016 MOBC Magazine, and community work for WATIF? a local charity looking to improve the local infrastructure. 
    The Air SHP took a bit of sorting and I ended up replacing the main control board. Easier than it sounds, I didn't have to do much actual electronics, it was mostly swapping a lot of wires and plugs and repositioning sensors. It's still not right but I think the remaining problems can be sorted by a refrigeration engineer, it looks as though the refrigerant fluid is contaminated with water and needs vacuuming out.
Other snags turned out to be mis-translations of the instruction manual and programming faults.
    In case you are wondering I still think Air Source is a reasonable way around heating the house, but Ground Source is better if you have room for the pipe or a bore-hole.
    The Winter Magazine is for the owners and builders of Midges, although you are welcome to have a look if you should be interested. As the petrol engine era nears its end it has also reached a remarkable level of complexity which tends to make 'old car' maintenance (i.e. more than 10 years),  expensive. One way around that is to use a 40 year old car, but they are less comfortable, have to be kept in a garage, and use more fuel. I think the electric ones will 'overtake' in a few years, especially as more people learn about the environment and other costs. There's plenty of near free power available, it's just a matter of finding compact ways of carrying 250 miles worth of it around with you. The wind turbine is more efficient and cheaper than petrol if you factor in the environmental cost  and Solar is even better, all we need is a better battery (thank you Elon Musk). The Midge being light weight and more fun will probably convert more easily than most when push comes to shove. 
    Incidentally, although I know most people are only interested in cars as a means of getting from A to B in comfort, there is an interesting series of internet 'programs' by Robert Llewellyn. Much of it can be accessed via you-tube although you can subscribe a few bob each month. You'll understand how far the electric car has come on when you see the look of fear on his face when he engages 'insane' mode on a pure electric ( Tesla ) car. Once things have come down in price a bit, or if the oil supply gets tricky, I'll be looking for a battery to run the house and then an electric car. Somewhere in between I might start thinking about an electric Midge, however, since I've just gotten the engine running right it seems a pity to take it out just now.
    Just at the time of writing there seems to be a lull between storms I think Storm Barbara has just left and Storm Conor should be here shortly. Santa may be a bit windswept when he arrives, although somebody worked out that he has to travel at 650 miles per second, so I'm not sure what effect a storm would have. Come to think of it that would produce something of a shock-wave on arrival in the kiddie's bedroom, and a bit of a vacuum on leaving. Maybe there's more to it. 
    Anyway we are feeling quite lucky so far, others seem to be suffering more damage than we have seen. I suppose it's rather like the reaction of the home-counties (a term that gives away a certain kind of thinking) to a foot of snow. If you get challenging weather on a regular basis then you build and live accordingly. So there's less incentive to build roads and rail systems able to deal with a couple of yards of snow, if you only get that every century or so.
The effect is that local structures are able to deal with local weather, as long as it doesn't change too quickly, and that's where global warming may prove difficult to deal with.
    Personally I can't understand why the whole of the UK seems to be quite happy to build all its new flashy stuff in London when everybody knows the place is going to get flooded within a few years. What is wrong with Birmingham? Or is it that the rich think they can de-camp to the south of France and their yachts when it all goes wrong, and so they want to be close enough to make a quick exit
    OK I know there's lots wrong with Birmingham, but that's because it lacks the kind of investment that London is used to and by the way, it doesn't still have the industrial pollution that made it, (well London really), rich. 
    I can't really see much of a change happening for a good while yet though, unless Scotland and Ireland break free, it's just too easy to avoid thinking more than five or ten years into the future. Maybe current political trends, (if you can call Trump political and I'll not go into that now), will solve the whole thing, apparently Chernobyl is turning into a wild-life haven with few humans and resurgent, if somewhat radioactive, nature. However I think there are better ways of reducing the anthropogenic effects than thermo-nuclear war.
And on that note I'll wish you all a happy and ecologically sound new Year
The Home counties in 1888.
(My, how quickly thinking changes) I'm not sure how I feel about Hampshire not being part of it
My insincere apologies for going on about it, but I was recently told that Scotland was rather small. You'll understand why a lot of people think that when you see the bias. If you photo-shopped the bottom of a politician's picture like that they'd complain fairly swiftly. Thanks to Bella Caledonia for the correction. It also shows how far London is from the centre. and how near the rest of Europe. Incidentally, the corrected image is centred over the centre of the UK, which is at the same latitude as Lockerbie in Scotland. Of course if you ignore Shetland  it comes down to Morecambe Bay, but there's a lot of oil in that bit isn't there? Sullom Voe ring any bells? Ignore them enough and they may go back to being part of Denmark or Norway. Curiously that might not help the Mainland Scots much, as the islands were given to Scotland in a wedding arrangement in much the same way as England got Scotland.