It was a year full of extremes. Some nice, some nasty but all totally unexpected. First was the weather, which these days we can conveniently blame on global warming but I suspect was simply the result of random meteorological chance of the sort which must have happened many times over many millennia. When primitive man experienced a ludicrously cold winter or a stifling summer (as he surely did) he cursed the gods. Today we are somewhat sceptical about divine intervention in such matters but instead have global warming to blame.