Saturday, 22 February 2020

Don't Shake Hands

When I was teaching, a colleague with a medical background told me that one way colds circulate is by people shaking hands. Even people considerate enough to wash their hands after using the WC often do not do so after blowing their noses. Indeed, even people like me who wash their hands when they can, often need to wipe their noses when no washing facilities are available. Therefore


Wednesday, 19 February 2020

A very high price

I've just noticed that the price on the Daily Telegraph is now £2-50.

In the mid 1950's I usd to buy a copy on the way to school. It cost 2d making it the third most expensive daily newspaper. The Guardian cost 3d and the Times cost 4d, while the lesser papers cost 1 1/2 d.

In those days there were 240 pence in the pound, so 2d was 1/120 of a pound, and at £2-50 the price is now 300 times as much as it used to be. Few prices have risen by so great a factor.

Friday, 7 February 2020

The Undefined

When I listen to the media I often hear people say 'by definition' without indicating what definition they are referring to.

I think that people often pick on phrases that they believe are used by clever people, and use them hoping to appear clever. They frequently fail.

Friday, 31 January 2020

A sad moment

This will be my last contribution to this blog as a citizen of the European Union. Britain is to leave in about ten minutes time.


Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Confused vegtation

Flowers we usually associate with the approach of Spring are blooming in my garden at least a month earlier than usual. Miniature irises were the first to come into flower, but crocuses are now following suit.

Usually snowdrops flower first, but so far they haven't even produced buds.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

The First Spring Bulb of the Year

An iris is flowering in the garden, in a tub it shares with a clematis.

I don't recall ever before having Spring flowers bloom so early.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Boldness Rewarded.

In Sainsbury's a few days before Christmas I checked the bundle of vouchers they send me from time to time and found one that nearly matched one of my purchases. It offered points for a purchase from the delicatessen counter. It wasn't quite a match because it required me to spend £2-50 and I'd spent only £2-33, and it was more than a week out of date, but I decided to try it anyway, and the machine accepted it, giving me 150 points, worth 75 p.

Timid readers should heed my example.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Seasonal Nostalgia

A few days before Christmas I bought some mince pies from Emerson and West's, one of Market Harborough's most charming institutions, and I noticed some glace fruit, something I hadn't seen for years. When I was a child we often had that at Christmas so I bought a box. The fruit was rather blander than I recalled, but still an agreeable reminder of past treats.

Monday, 30 December 2019

MisMeasuring Energy

When discussing  devices for storing electricity people sometimes try to measure the capacity in megawatts.

A watt measures power, not energy so it would be better to say something like megawatt hours, or megawatt days, though even that is strange.

The units of power are energy/time. A watt = 1 joule per second. Domestic power is usually measured in kilowatt hours.

A kilowatt hour = 1000 joules per second for an hour, involving both division by time and multiplication by time.

Removing both the seconds and the hours we have 1 unit = 3.6*106 joules

People who dislike number can just call it a 'unit'. Those who like precision can avoid the redundant use of units of time.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Timely Flowers

My Christmas Cactus is fully in flower for Christmas. It usually flowers at some time in the Winter, but I don't recall it ever before being so precisely on time.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Recognising Culinary Vulgarity

I recently bought a mince pie in the cafe of a department store. It was not at all like the mince pies mother used to make. The pastry was unpleasantly sweet and crumbly, but, much worse, the mincemeat tasted strongly of vinegar. When considering buying mincemeat or mince pies, check the list of  ingredients. Vinegar is rarely mentioned by name, but if  present it will appear as 'acetic acid'. Mother's mincemeat contained lemon juice, but never vinegar.

I consider that the contents of their mincemeat is a good test of purveyors of cakes and pastries. Shun the vulgar organisations that add vinegar.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Double Jasmine

I have two jasmines, one producing white flowers in the Summer and Autumn, and the other bearing yellow flowers in Winter. They were planted in the same large container and share a trellis where their shoots are twined together. This year, on the shortest day of the year, they are both in flower, the last of the white flowers coexisting with the first flush of yellow.