Saturday, 16 January 2021

A Delightful Discovery

Yesterday I found some Bath Oliver Biscuits in the local Waitrose.

For quite a few years Waitrose has been my only source of those elegant companions for strong cheeses, but since last March they've been out of stock. Yesterday they were available once more. I was delighted.

Sunday, 10 January 2021


I was vaccinated today. The Medical Centre unusually opened on a Sunday to vaccinate ancients, who attended in great numbers. We had to queue outside on a chilly, but fortunately dry day, but eventually the protective jab was delivered.

Saturday, 9 January 2021


Snow fell yesterday mrorning and some of it settled on the ground. That didn't happen at all last year. It had all melted by the time I went shopping around midday, but it was still quiite a shock. I detest snow!!

Saturday, 19 December 2020

"Exponential Growth"


I recently heard someone say in a television interview that incidence of the corona virus was increasing, but not increasing exponentially. That is an absurd claim.

"exponential" is being misused to mean 'fast' by people who do not know what it means, but use it because they hear clever people using it and think that if they use it they too will appear clever.

A quantity q changes exponentially  when:

qt =q0*kt where q0 is the initial value of q,

qt is the value of after t time units, and k is a constant. Positive k corresponds to exponential increase, and negative k to exponential decrease.

Increases of the incidence of the corona virus will always be approximately exponential until near the very end of the epidemic when most people will be immune. Until then the rate at which people catch the virus will be roughly proportional to the number already infectious. That implies exponential growth or decay

Friday, 4 December 2020

What Could we Buy for 4p ?


I was intrigued by the price in the following extract from the latest newsletter from the District Council.

"Our large waste items for collection service allows for up to three large household items or 12 sacks of waste to be collected for a charge of £35.04."

I wonder how someone arrived at that figure ?

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

What Became of Burton's ?


In the 1960 s and 70 s I used to buy suits from Burton's. They measured me and after a while I would be summoned for a fitting. The clothes fitted, lasted for a good while, and were not particularly expensive, but then Burton's shops seemed to disappear. I don't recall seeing one in the last thirty years. I thought the company had faded away until I saw the news of the collapse of the Arcadia group, which apparently owned Burton's. Where was the company hiding in the years since I last patronised it?

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

The Garden in December

 Flowers still abound in the garden. I don't remember ever seeing so many in December. Apart from the yellow Winter Jasmine and the hardy cyclamen that usually flower around this time, there are the white Summer jasmine, blue campanulas, begonias, feverfew, fuchsias, Mexican daisies, rudbekia, a couple of late flowers on the hydrangea, some zonal pelargoniums, often miscalled 'geraniums' and some flowers on old strawberry plants.

I usually try to avoid repetition in this blog, and worry that this post is very similar to one I posted last month, but think the difference between November flowers and December flowers is big enough to justify saying much the same thing twice.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Praising Solitary Shopping


I try to shop as quickly as possible to minimise my exposure  to infected droplets emitted by other shoppers. Serious obstacles are groups of people blocking aisles. I can usually navigate my way past solitary shoppers quite easily. The great problems are the blockades constructed by people shopping in pairs.

Couples tend to have prolonged seminars about the tensile strength of the cucumbers. Sometimes they block not only the shelf containing whatever it is they contemplate buying, but several other shelves too. There will be their trolley, with one of them behind the trolley, often with a bottom sticking out behind them, and the other in front of the trolley waving about a sample of whatever it is they might eventually decide to buy. Sometimes one of the pair minds the trolley on one side of the aisle, while the other inspects the opposite side, contorting themselves so that there is too little space for anyone to pass between their buttocks and the trolley. I suspect that many people are not aware of themselves as physical objects

 Shopping should not be a social occasion.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

The Last of the Homegrown Tomatoes


For the first time for several months I bought some tomatoes today. Apart from a few unripe fruit that may or may not ripen indoors, I've now used up all the crop from my own plants. They ripened rather later than usual this year - I attribute that to a shortage of sunshine at the time they should have started to ripen, but I still had plenty of fruit in the end. I have saved seed for next year.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Praising Virtual Firework displays


We didn't hear a great many fireworks this year. Despite the cancellation of the usual town display in the park individual efforts seemed quite restrained though they were spread over several days.

I did wonder though whether actual displays of arial chemistry are needed. Spectacular displays in many places have been filmed in recent years. Those could be made available on the Internet, or even broadcast on television on special occasions.

It should be possible to write a program to simulate a firework display, at a virtual location chosen by the user.

Pets need not be terrified, spectators need not be injured. Let all fireworks be virtual.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

A Floriforous November


Even though it is now the second half of November, less than five weeks before the shortest day, there are still quite a few flowers in the garden - two sorts of jasmine, begonias, Mexican daisies, zonal pelargoniums, blue campanula, cyclamen, feverfew, and several others whose names escape me.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Immortality ?


A while ago I boasted that I'd killed my mint by neglect - something few gardeners achieve. Now I have to withdraw that boast.  This morning I noticed small sprigs of mint where the old plant used to grow.

It's back!!