The cold snap is over now. Pedalling into work early this morning, I saw that virtually all trace of the snow has gone. The kids will be sad (on Sunday we made it into the woods with the toboggan one last time). Work-wise, though, the prolonged cold period has posed some interesting technical problems. In all of our buildings there have been cold spots that the heating systems have had great difficulty in heating up. My own office was like a refrigerator when I came in last Sunday. In some cases, the local heating systems were broken or needed adjusting, but in others there is an underlying problem about the technical specifications for the general insulation of the building. I suspect that we have been living with a consequence of ‘global warming’, in the sense that those specifications were drawn up when we were going through a series of mild winters. Now – arguably as a consequence of global warming, with the probability of more extreme weather incidents – we can possibly look forward to similar prolonged cold snaps in the future. This particular cold snap therefore did us a favour. It helped us to identify all the little local problems and fix them, but it has also enabled us to see where more structural problems might be involved and hence to be better prepared for next time.