Not a terribly adventurous weather forecast for this time of year is it? A squillion pounds worth of powerful supercomputers running multi-threaded modelling software all expertly analysed by blokes with beards and yet this is the best they can come up with? So I’ve challenged myself to do better, and in no way felt hampered by having nothing more than a window, a rainfall measuring device* and many years of weather lore ingrained by being continually pissed on while commuting.
But I thought it was important to start small** and look for a niche opportunity to sell this fresh new meteorological service. So I bring to you “The Indoor Forecast” – now I accept the market is potentially only two children with no money of their own, a woman who has none of my obsession for stuff I can’t change and a dog, who while looking interested and keen, views weather as something that aids running, eating sheep shit and rolling in fox poo.
On the upside, it does give me an ideal opportunity to stop the kids’ pocket money and raid their bank accounts. The next obvious question would be “Exactly how hard is it to forecast indoor weather“. Well quite bloody hard actually Mr. Clever Trousers, especially when your heating system is essentially a NASA space shuttle only with more complexity and potential for catastrophic explosions.
We had great plans for our utility room, all scuppered by the installation of a Scud Missile masquerading as two hot water cylinders and a Swedish Heat Pump that has more than the odd blond moment. There is no room for anything other than shock and awe with the sheer quantity of stuff connecting the two. We have the output of 400 metres of under garden pipe at one end, multiple snakes of hot and cold water conduits disappearing through various apertures, electrical systems strung between the two and pumps, so many pumps pushing liquid this way and that. It is exactly like a 70s film set where the cat-stroking bad guy cackles”Ah Mr. Bond, marvel at my Destroy The World machine and see now that I cannot be beaten mwaaaahhhh”
So the bottom of the house is heated by underfloor heating, the top by big radiators, the bathrooms by huge steel towel rails all working off different circuits and powered by different, er, stuff. The hot water is another physics lesson in itself, and I’ve taken to wondering aloud if it is all really just magic, with careful examination of the darker spaces bringing elves and other magic creatures into the light.
“What has all this to do with indoor weather?” you demand. Well just this; on Monday evening, the local forecast at 21:45 hours was for a cool front passing through the kitchen (dog outside, door open), a warm channel of air being forced between two channels of high pressure (sure you can work that out), cloudy upstairs (steaming bath) and extremely wet on two walls where once there had been just dry plaster and fresh paintwork.
The outlook was not good at all. The threat of localised flooding was a real possibility, as were lighting strikes from frying electrics and definite impediments to travel unless one was packing an inflatable. At times like this, it’s important your first response gets right to the heart of the problem. Knowing this, and not much else I shouted to Carol “Probably worth knowing someting has exploded upstairs and we’ve Vietnamese boat people docking at our TV“. She instantly diagnosed the problem and dispatched me to Mission Control to shut down all systems.
Again, not as easy as it sounds. It goes like this; run into utility room and be faced with a barrage of flanges, wheels and valves, flashing me back to WWII films where the plucky brit single handedly attempts to put out a massive fire in a submarine engine room. In such films, rarely does the hero dash back into the kitchen for a chair much needed to ascend the North Face of the Scud. A riot of grunting, flipping and punching eventually created a tense quiet on the Western Front. The cascade was reduced to a dribble, which descrives well my soggy mental conditon as well.
The advent of a proper plumber brought guiltily forth a faulty “sealed for life“*** component that had decided it would rather be a hose than a pipe. We’re still awash in the sea of damp carpet, mouldering plaster and soggy floor, but had it happened an hour later, the forecast would have told of the kind of disaster that unstoppable hot water at mains pressure would create.
I am considering though a return to wood fires and tin baths. Or getting some new elves in. Elf and Safety you see – they just don’t go together. The forecast for the rest of the week is turning increasingly grumpy, with large clouds of depression and some internal wine showers at regular intervals.
* And work down.
*** Maybe of a mayfly. Lasted a total of four days.