Saturday, 31 December 2011

What has become of Light Pens ?

In the 1980's we had high hopes for the future of light pens, but I had't seen one for many years, until a bank asked me to sign on a screen with one.

The problem seems to be price. An internet search suggested prices of the order of 150 dollars, much much more than even a very elaborate mouse.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Early Flowers

I've just noticed that my daphne is coming into flower. It usually flowers early in the year, around February or March, but I don't recall it ever flowering as early as this.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Quiet Christmas Eve

I was surprised how quiet it was in the city centre this afternoon. Despite the fine weather there were far fewer people milling about than on a normal Saturday, and many shops were almost empty.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Legislative ‘Truth’

Yesterday I read a news flash to the effect that the French National Assembly has legislated to make it illegal to deny that the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Turkish soldiers was genocide.

‘genocide’ is a slippery term with no precise generally accepted precise, and there is room for differences of interpretation. This legislation makes it illegal to discuss the question in France. It also makes any assertions that the massacre was genocide worthless if they are made in France, because anyone there expressing that opinion might be doing so for fear of punishment, not out of conviction, and the judgement could not be tested in open debate.

Indeed, it I hard to understand how the legislators could have made the decision they did, unless they thought the judgment of genocide was open to doubts that they wished to suppress.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Cards

This year I decided not to send any Christmas cards. Eventually I did send a few, mostly to accompany presents, but the total must be in single figures.

For a long time I’ve been irritated by the way the postal service is swamped by pieces of expensive cardboard, so that letters that matter are delayed. More recently I started to wonder what Christmas cards are supposed to achieve.

When I started to send my own cards, in my mid teens so far as I can recall, I sent them to friends and relatives - people I met quite frequently. However, once one starts exchanging cards with someone, the annual exchange tends to continue indefinitely, even when one gradually loses touch, and the card exchange is all that is left.

I find it most depressing to receive annual reminders of people whose company I used to enjoy, but who gradually stopped answering my letters and emails, yet still add the gloom of mid December by tantalising me with reminders of lost friendships.

There is also the custom of sending annual letters. Those are often quite interesting, but to have them all arrive around the same time makes it a considerable chore to reply to them all as I’d like to.

Perhaps we could spread out the illumination through the year by all writing annual letters on our birthdays, though as I use this blog for the sort of news most people put in those letters, I don’t need to write one at all.

Incidentally I can arrange for entries in this blog to be automatically emailed to up to ten people, so anyone who’d like that service just has to let me know.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Late Harvest

This morning I gathered some apples from my Bramley apple tree. The fruits seemed unharmed by the few light frosts we've had so far this year.

I don't recall ever before gathering anything edible so late in the year.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Disintegrating Socks

I've recently been surprised how quickly my socks develop holes. I buy socks in packets of half a dozen or so, yet a packet seems to last only a few months.

I think that next time I buy a packet I shall record the life of its contents.

In what strange ways do we pensioners while away our twilight years !!