I've been wanting a heat pump, now, for 26 years. That's how long it is since I learned about them in first-year thermodynamics. The idea of getting much more energy out than you put in appealed strongly to the lazy freeloader in me - which, let's face it, has always been a strong if not dominant character trait.
But it wasn't until I came to New Zealand that I saw them widely advertised as a household appliance. We had ours fitted yesterday, a day before - in accordance with the universal laws governing these things - the weather turned cooler.
The installation involved drilling a hole through our wall. I was eager to watch this operation, because I wanted to know if it was true that the wall is, basically, made of polystyrene.
Turns out it's completely true.
There's a thin layer of plaster on the outside, then about two inches of polystyrene, then (allegedly, though I haven't actually seen this) a timber frame, then about a quarter-inch of plasterboard on the inside. Sometimes I'm amazed the house has stood up this long.
But so far, touch wood, it's doing well. And as from yesterday, it's significantly more comfortable, when the weather outside is either inclemently warm or cold.