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 It wasn't quite a match because it required me to spend £2-50 and I'd spent only £2-33, and it was more than a week out of date, but I decided to try it anyway, and the machine accepted it, giving me 150 points, worth 75 p.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.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Don't forget the Periodic Table

A BBC news programme referring to the mining of cobalt suggested that cobalt is one of the rare earths.

 It is not!

For a link to a useful program follow this link


Thursday, 12 December 2019

My Sixteenth General Election

There have been sixteen General Elections in which I've been eligible to vote, and I've voted in every one.

Since moving to the present house nearly five years ago I've voted eight times for one thing or another, three times in General Elections, twice in District Council elections, once each in a European election, a County Council election and in the European referendum.

I've only once missed an election, that was a County Council bye election in Lincolnshire, held while I was away on holiday. In those days being on holiday was not a valid ground for having a postal vote, but as the contest was between two independents I didn't know, and neither of whom produced an election address it would have been hard for me to choose.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Maternal Instinct Awry

I'm puzzled by a story of a four year old boy who mother placed him on the floor of an Accident and Emergency Unit, photographed him in that position, placed the picture in the public domain, and then deplored the consequent publicity.

I gather mother and child had a very long wait for attention, but it would have been kinder to sit the lad on her knee and cuddle him, and find another way to protest.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Ought I to be Delighted?

I now have a Conservative MEP!

In the recent elections to the European Assembly the East Midlands elected five MEPs,  three  of the Brexit Party, one Liberal Democrat and one Labour.

A few days ago Annunziata Rees-Mogg, who had headed the Brexit list, left Brexit for the Conservatives. Perhaps the Brexit folk chose her for her name rather than for her reliability.