This page written circa 26 August, 2018.
What, I wonder, do people like Elon Musk or Steve Jobs do when they are not working, eating, sleeping or mating? Read a book? Garden? Go hiking? We do a little gardening, more Kay than me. The image below shows the house after the removal of the large copper beech tree. That was done by the local arborists. I recently read biographies of Musk and Jobs, but Kay reads more than I do.
Moi? I have been learning how to install heat pumps. In the image of the house you might just make out the tip of a heat exchanger on the flat section of roof between the wings. We were quoted quite a few thousand dollars for putting in a heat pump for the front bedrooms and that was with the outside unit on the ground outside Edwin's bathroom. That did not seem reasonable when you can buy a unit with 3kW of heating that runs remarkably close to the Carnot limit for less than a thousand dollars. So, about 8 weeks later, with help from Weiqian and Sinduja and Kay and Edwin, we have done the installation ourselves. The hard part was getting the 37kg unit up there! Every new project is an excuse to buy new tools, and this one was no exception. I now own a vacuum pump (US$46 from Ali), a huge set of brand-name c-spanners (NZ$70) and electronic hand scales (US$3, Ali) to make them into torque wrenches. The heat pump itself, pipes, cables, and a condensation pump cost about $1500. The next heat pump installation will be a whole lot easier, trust me. I guess being an engineer is in my genes.
As an aside I can confirm Eric's observation that the Japanese have the path to the DIY heat pump worked out very neatly. The suckers can even evacuate their own lines in case you need to do maintenance, storing their working fluid in the outdoor unit. Perhaps HVAC installers will eventually go extinct, as we confidently expect in the case of the taxi driver and the long-haul truckie.
Speaking of genes, Kay and I did a DNA analysis courtesy of Ancestry.
The image at left is the localisation of my heritage.
Sadly not much of a surprise; assorted British and Western European components with a chance of about 1% contribution from Finland/Russia, meaning one of my antecedents about 7 generations ago married a person from North-East Europe.
Kay's DNA, in contrast, shows a decent component of Scandinavian origin.
Must be Vikings who settled in Yorkshire contributing to the British gene pool.
Who would have taken Denis for a Viking lad?
It also shows small components from a host of regions stretching to the Middle East
and North Africa.
Interestingly, Kay's sister Jane did not show up so much of these exotic traces. I got the sibling with the adventurous lineage. This does not come as a surprise to me!
What one likes to do apart from working, eating, sleeping and mating might affect where one might want to live. Anyone who has browsed my railway pages will know that I build model railways with sexy electronics, and more recently furniture around those. That does not have much influence upon the city in which I live. Models and electronics are well served by the internet, although California was way better for getting exotic wood than is NZ.
As my friend Susan reminded me from Melbourne recently "it's really the people that matter rather than the actual place". Once we entertained a lot, though not so much in Cranwell. Now we are going through a small entertainment resurgence. Nevertheless, Kay believes I would be happier in Sydney than Hamilton. Unlike Jude Law's character from Gattaca, I seem to be perfectly capable of finding much to amuse me while hardly ever leaving the house, which is why I set much store by this lovely abode here. I don't believe I will be able to answer that question about maximising happiness until I have a better projection of what I might want to do in the next few years. Apart from eating, sleeping and mating, that is.