Saturday, 1 December 2018

Timing the Seasons

In the media people refer to today as the first day of Winter.

We used to treat the twenty first of March, June, September and December as the first days of the four seasons.

As 21 June was often referred to as Midsummer, it seemed odd to treat it as also the first day of that season, but much of June is often quite chilly and more Spring like than summery and much of September is still as summery as it gets in our cool climate, and seriously wintery weather rarely starts before late December.

If seasons are all to start on the first of some month, it will be hard to date the start of Spring.  The first of March is much too early as most of that month is decidedly wintry. Yet if we start Spring on 1 April and Summer on 1 June, there'll be only two  months for Spring. Perhaps that would be justified since Spring is a transitional state.

What abut four months each for Summer and Winter, with two  months for both Spring and Autumn ?

Friday, 30 November 2018

A Creature of Darkness

I'm reconciled to dark mornings. It no longer distresses me to rise and breakfast in darkness, provided it's at least getting light by the time I clear up and go into the garden for my medicinal feverfew leaf.

At one time I found dark breakfasts very depressing, but no longer. Perhaps I'm becoming a creature of darkness.

However I doubt if I'd adjust so easily to the adoption of British Summer Time throughout the year. I hated it when we did that in the 1970's, and I had to start teaching before dawn.

I'd like to end the twice yearly change of clocks, but only by retaining Greenwich Mean Time throughout the year.

The End of the Tomato Crop

I ate the last of my home grown tomatoes today. The plants stopped producing several weeks ago but unripe fruit I gathered then have ripened indoors and today I ate the last of them, apart from a few tiny unripe fruit that seem unlikely to ripen.

I'm quite pleased to have home grown produce so late in the year. Early in September I collected seeds, so I hope to grow more next year


Thursday, 15 November 2018

Very Bad Value

If baffled by the need to choose Christmas presents likely to delight some fastidious acquaintance, one might be tempted to send them a 'hamper'.

Don't !!!!

The ones I've seen advertised seem to be extremely bad value for money. I've just checked through one I saw advertised on line at a price of £110, and estimate that the ordinary retail price of the contents would be in the region of at most £40.

Fearing liability for a libel action I don't give a link to the site, but I suspect that almost any hamper being offered would be as bad a buy.

Just check if you doubt my word.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

An Extravagent Gift

As we celebrate the end of a war that hardly anyone is old enough to remember, we hear of people 'giving their lives'.

I picture people queuing with little boxes, waiting to give them to some official, and dropping dead when the box is accepted.

Actually many of those who died were compelled to fight by governments, so often the architects of great wrongs.. Their lives were not given, but were stolen from them.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Vulgarity in High Places

I've just read a news headline that says:
"Groping suspect says Trump said it was OK to grab women"
That was followed by a link to a video of the President discussing his carnal ambitions in lurid detail.

I can't think of anything more to say !! 

Monday, 22 October 2018

Bogus Arithmetic

What is 95% of a deal?

95% of the text?  95% of the cost?  95% of the time needed to make the deal?

I don't believe that any calculation supports the Prime Minister's claim to have completed 95% of a deal concerning our leaving the European Union. In making the claim she demonstrates little more than her poor understanding of percentages.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Oppressive Mis-Education.

The most miserable period of my life was three years from age 8 to10 when I attended a junior school which seemed to be designed to suppress original thought and self expression. A ferocious headmistress used to patrol the corridors, cane in hand, to ensure that no-one spoke while proceeding from room to room.

Moving to a grammar school was a great relief. There we could chatter as much as we chose between classes.

I've just been appalled to read that a secondary school in Birmingham is to impose a rule of silence in the corridors.

A school should be a place of learning where ideas are developed and exchanged, not a prison where unimaginative pedagogues suppress thought.

Sunday, 30 September 2018


For several years I've noticed that it's getting quite hard to find soap. There used to plenty of choice, but now shops that sell soap offer only a few varieties, and tuck them away on a small shelf that's quite hard to find. Where there used to be a wide selection of soaps in different colours with different scents, there are now lots of plastic bottles of dubious and often quite expensive potions, and things called 'wipes' that look as if they'd be hard to recycle.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Mixed Blessing

A few years ago I was delighted at the prospect of having bills, statements, and similarly boring material delivered electronically. I hadn't thought through the full implications.

I'd imagined it would be like receiving email, which can be skimmed through and then filed very easily.

Of course email is not secure, so I don't receive bills and statements by email. Instead I get emails telling me there's a message on line. I then have to log on to the relevant site, using the password so secure it's hard to remember, navigate through a site to find messages, and then work out which of the vast collection of messages I haven't already read.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Chilly days Ahead

Yesterday I changed into my tweed jacket, ready for Autumn and Winter.

So far this year weather has been disappointing.

Spring was unusually cold, and when hot weather arrived it was too hot to go out, except for brief visits to the shops early in the morning, and much of the evenings was spent watering thirsty plants.

Monday, 10 September 2018

A Triumph for an Aged Brain

When I went shopping today I left my shopping list behind, but still managed to remember every one of the nine items on it !!!