The Anonymous Widower

Is Iceland Part Of The Solution To The Problem Of Russia?

Putin’s Russia is increasingly becoming a problem to the rest of the world, as the events in Ukraine show. I’ve also been to Poland recently and talking to Poles, some are getting quite worried about Russian intentions.

We may impose sanctions on the Russians, but the real problem with our relationship, is that many countries in Europe are highly dependent on Russian gas. Germany is especially dependent and has the direct Nord Stream link through the Baltic.

But how do we replace all of that gas?

We already have a Langeled pipeline from the UK to Norway, the Interconector to Belgium and the RBL pipeline to the Netherlands. We are also importing compressed natural gas from the Middle East. We may also see the benefits of fracking in the next few years. So as far as the UK and our near Continental neighbours are concerned, it’s probably a case of “I’m Alright, Jack”

Gas may be a cleaner fuel, than the coal the Germans are rushing to use, but it still is a fossil fuel, although it only generates about forty percent of the CO2, that coal does when you burn it.

On my trip to Iceland, I saw how you could use geothermal and hydro-electric power to create heat and electricity to power a country and energy consumptive industries like aluminium production and data centres.

But they could generate a lot more and that zero-carbon electricity could be plugged into the European electricity grid. A project called Icelink has been proposed that would link Iceland to the UK and onward to Europe.

There is even plans on the drawing board in other parts of the world, where electricity is used to convert aluminium oxide or bauxite to aluminium in a smelter. The aluminium is then transported to where you need more electricity and then burned in a conventional power station to generate that power. After burning the aluminium is turned into oxide, which is then shipped back to be re-smelted into metal. It sounds crazy, but get the designs right and it might well be financially feasible and considerably cheaper than laying an undersea cable.

Connecting all of Western Europe’s gas and electricity systems together will allow everybody to share resources to mutual advantage.

If we do bring Iceland into this network, it will all help to make Russia’s abundant energy unnecessary and give Putin the cold shoulder, he deserves.

July 19, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Would I Go Back To Iceland?

I think I will go again, as Iceland is a country that appeals to my mind.

But if I do go again, it will be with someone else, as my trip would have been so much better with a companion!

I still want to go over a geothermal power station!

And it would be wonderful to ride one of the sturdy Icelandic horses in some of the amazing countryside.

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Do These Strawberries Have Truck Or Rail Miles?

I was surprised that these strawberries were on sale in Sainsbury’s near me in London.

Do These Strawberries Have Truck Or Rail Miles?

Do These Strawberries Have Truck Or Rail Miles?

I just wonder whether they came down from Scotland by truck or by train. Supermarket groups and other retailers are increasingly using trains. There’s an article here, which describes some developments in recent years, including how Tesco bring in fruit from Spain by train.

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Food, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Why Was Flight MH 17 Over Ukraine?

There’s an old saying, that says there are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.

Over the last week or so, there have been reports of the rebels in the East of Ukraine shooting down Ukranian planes. An ex-British Airways pilot on the BBC this morning, felt that planes should avoid the area. In fact, the BBC has also stated that some airlines have been avoiding the area anyway.

But as Simon Calder, the respected travel journalist, said on the BBC this morning, if you’re flying long haul, you often fly over a war zone.

And then today because of the thunderstorms in the UK, there have been delays and diversions of airliners. So planes are avoiding extreme weather, but not war zones!

But I wouldn’t fly in any plane that went over a war zone, where the participants had the capability and especially the record of shooting down high-flying aircraft.

I sometimes think that my policy of holidaying in the area covered by my EHIC card is a sensible one, because of my health history. There’s still eight countries in that area, that I haven’t visited and they include dangerous places like Finland and Leichtenstein.

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Versatile Potato

I bought a pack of Marks and Spencer’s gluten-free cheese crackers today.

Here’s the front and back of the packet.

The back with the ingredients is interesting as it says they are a potato based snack with Gouda cheese.

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

The Second-Best Sandwich I’ve Ever Made

These pictures show the gluten-free salt-beef sandwich I’ve just made using Marks and Spenver’s brown, seeded gluten-free loaf, some slices of salt beef and a tomato.

It is not the best sandwich I’ve ever made. I made that a few minutes earlier and it was so good, I just had to make another.

This gluten-fee loaf is really the best, I’ve ever tasted and it makes superb toast too!

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment