Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Philistine Thought

The Leonardo painting just sold for 400 million dollars struck me as distinctly uninspiring.

There is historical interest in something so old, but I found nothing to admire in the depiction of a depressed looking androgynous figure, apparently making a rude gesture towards the cosmos. Was Leonardo really a good painter?

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Strange Request

A recent email from my energy supplier bid me: "Simply peel off this sticker and place it on your boiler."

I'm thinking of treating that as a Zen koan on a par with "the sound of one hand clapping", and meditating on it in idle moments.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Expensive Water

Some of the butter substitutes, usually called 'spreads, are advertised as having reduced fat content. Scrutiny of the list of contents reveals that fat has been replaced by water, though the dilution of the important ingredients is not reflected in a conspicuously lower price.

I doubt whether use of such spreads reduces our fat intake because I find that they seem to soak into bread so that one uses more to cover the same surface area. They also make toast soggy!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Counting a Cat's Laps

I mean the lapping operations of her tongue when Senior Cat drinks her cat milk.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that cats take in about 0.05 ml of liquid with each flick of the tongue. That doesn't seem much so I've taken to watching Senior cat when she's drinking. Her lap speed is around three flicks per second so at 0.05 ml a time she might be imbibing about 9 ml per minute. I'm trying to decide if that is a plausible quantity. Look forward to further revelations!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A Change in my Reading Habits

When I moved into the present house, nearly three years ago, I unpacked whatever box of books was  most accessible, and put the contents on the nearest free bookshelf. I ended up with reference books, History, Biography, Cooking and Gardening downstairs, and Maths, Science, Philosophy and Literature in the second floor attic. Religion, Folk Lore, Psychology, Parapsychology, Economics and Politics, all of which I loosely classify as 'superstition' are in my bedroom.

That worked quite well, except that I found  myself making frequent ascents to the attic to find books on Maths and Science, but very rarely consulted the History and Biography books downstairs, so I realised my reading habits have changed, and sent an energetic few days swapping History for Maths and Science.

My journeys to the attic are now less frequent, and usually for Philosophy, hardly ever for literature. Thirty or forty years ago I often dipped into poetry books, but that form of expression now seems empty and pointless.

Without the house move it might have taken me longer to realise how my interests have changed over the years.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Distracted by 'Life'

I've just realised that we reached the second half of October without my posting anything here.

I've been distracted by a program for John Conway's game of Life.

Download a copy here, and share my distraction.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Perverse Illegibility

From time to time I'm irritated by notices that are hard to read because there's too little contrast between background colours and text colours. Notices in a supermarket printed in black ink on a dark red background are much harder to read than notices printed in black text on a white background using the same font. My toaster has a scale with numbers in black on a dark brown background.

Those who design such things must be extremely dim.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Praising Stewed Fruit

In my childhood, puddings, if any, were either 'milk puddings' -  horrid slimy concoctions of milk and cereals - or if we were lucky stewed fruit. During the 1950s and 60s we became,more sophisticated, or so we thought, making quite elaborate puddings rich in eggs, cream and alcohol.

The threat of heart disease has made me wary of such delights, so I no longer eat puddings regularly.

A few days ago I stewed some apricots, and was surprised how well they turned out. Eaten raw apricots strike me as insipid and in texture floury rather than juicy, but once they were cooked I found them delicious, juicy with a rich flavour.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Enlivened by Lists

In the last few months I'd become very lazy, pottering about doing very little and dozing in the afternoons.

I decided to make a list of little jobs I needed to do, and to consult it whenever I found myself at a loose end.

Since then I've got quite a lot done, and very rarely doze in the afternoon.

Inactivity seems to be more tiring than activity.

Thursday, 7 September 2017


I was delighted to find some damsons in the farmers' Market today. It's very unusual to see them for sale. I don't think I've ever seen any in a supermarket. I've made damson jam.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Check Your Nectar Points

Several times 'bonus' points, although included in the total shown on the till receipt for the day I earned them, have not been included in future totals.

For instance my points total just after shopping on 21 August when I earned 150 bonus points, was 5896, but when I did some more shopping the following day my receipt showed 'Previous Points Balance' at only 5746, so the bonus of 150 had disappeared.

I advise all readers to keep receipts for a few days and to compare one day's closing balance with the following day's opening balance.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Return of the Intrusive 'h'

It used to be common for people to preface with an additional 'h' some words that begin with a vowel. Dropping an 'h' was considered a sign of incomplete literacy, so people anxious to keep up appearances often added an extra 'h' here and there just be on the safe side.

I remember quiet amusement at school when our Latin teacher once referred to 'Annibal crossing the Halps'

For several decades the intrusive 'h' was rare. The only example I noticed was when a friend called his dog 'Aristotle'. When that was abbreviated to 'Ari' it soon changed to 'Hari', but that was not a typical case because of the understandable confusion with 'Harry'.

Just recently I've detected a minor revival of the intrusive 'h' in the name of the letter itself. In a television advertisement 'aitch' has been mispronounced as 'haitch'.

Is Annibal about to cross the Halps again?