Thursday, 25 February 2021

Compelling People to be Careful

There has been some talk of making covid 19 vaccinnation compulsory. It may help to consider cases where careful behaviour is already compulsory.

A quick potter through the Internet suggests that use of seat belts in cars may have saved about 16 000 lives per year, and motorcyclists' helmets may have saved aroung 2000 per year. Some people would have used seat belts or helmets without compulsion, so the benefits of the legislation must be somewhat less than that. It appears that upwards of 10% of the British population are refusing vaccinnation. Although it is hard to estimate how many lives would be saved if the refusers were vaccinnated, a saving of around 10% of the covid 19 deaths so far recorded seems a reasonable first guess, suggesting that the case for compulsion is stronger than that for motor cyclists' helmets, but perhaps not quite as strong as for seat belts.


Sunday, 21 February 2021

Winter Flowers

What we used to call 'Spring flowers' are now blooming in the garden, much earlier than they would have done in my youth. They've bloomed early for several years now, but I'm not sure if the daffodils flowered so early last year. What is certainly different this year is that snowdrops, crocusses and daffodils are all in flower together. The hardy cyclamen are flowering too; they've been in flower continuously since late Autumn.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

A Pleasant Surprise

We received two unexpected presents today - half a dozen eggs from a neighbour who keeps hens, and a packet of chocolate from one of the neighbour's cats. The cat stole the chocolate from the neighbour's shopping bag and left it on a plant pot in the garden.

The cat, called Sox, has been interested in our activities since she arrived next door as a kitten a little over three years ago, but while our cat was alive she didn't come into the garden, just watching us from the top of the wall, or lying in wait for us on the driveway. After our cat died in July Sox has annexed our house and garden as part of her territory, and has been keeping our premises mouse free. Now she's shown her appreciation of our friendship!

Friday, 22 January 2021

Coming to Terms with my Antiquity

Today I had a stair lift installed on the main staircase. Climbing the stairs had become a challenge - I could do it, but it was enough of an effort for me to treat it as a serious undertaking. Now I can go up and down as often as I like. As I no longer need to cling to a handrail I can also carry as much as I like on my journeys.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

A Triumph for an Aged Brain

When I went shopping today I forgot my shopping list and had to shop by memory. When I got home I checked my shopping against the list and was delighted to find that I'd remebered to buy every one of the fourteen items on it.

How wonderful that my memory still works - sometimes !

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Relief !!

I don't usually pay much attention to the details of the inauguration of American Presidents, but today I followed news from the USA closely. I wanted to make quite sure that Mr. Trump had indeed been replaced.

At last he has departed to a golf course. I hope the bunker goblins will keep him occupied

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?