Wednesday, 26 November 2008


Well, I promised puzzles so I had better deliver. I am sure that you will recognise the following style of puzzle. What is a surprise is how long they have been around. According to wikipedia, here, some of the earliest examples of this sort of problem appeared in a book called Problems to Sharpen the Young (actually it was Propositiones ad acuendos juvenes) which was published by Alcuin of York who lived from 735 - 804.

A man had to take a wolf, a goat and a cabbage across the river. The only boat available could only carry two of them at a time. However, he had to transport all of them to the other side in good condition. How did he achieve this?

I went to the university of York and one of the colleges their is called Alcuin. It looks like this.


I drive to work each morning along the M4. It is chaotic. Those of you who have driven down busy motorways may recognise the situation; those that want to go fast move to the outside lane, those that presumably don't want to go so fast stay in the middle lane and the remainder are in the nearside lane. This leads to what strikes me as an inverted population of the three lanes. If everyone followed the principle of returning to the nearside lane as soon as the overtaking manoeuvre was completed then one would expect there to be the most traffic in the nearside lane, fewer in the midle lane and fewer still in the outside lane. Instead we have the exact opposite. This results in acres of unused tarmac in the inside and middle lanes which means that the motorway is not being used efficiently. Further, it leads drivers to move into those lanes and pass other cars on the left.
Since we don't have traffic police any more these bad driving practices are becoming the norm and I am experiencing anarchy on the motorway.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Remote locking

It seems that every time I have bought a new car there is some feature that I come to treasure. With the Cavalier it was central locking, with my Mondeo it is remote locking. However, as I walk towards the front door at home I find myself wishing that my house had been fitted with remote locking.

Views of Tenby

I thought I would post a couple of the images from Tenby that represent, for me, a sea-side town in November. Both of these were taken on the south beach, one looking back towards Tenby and the other looking south along the beach with the western tip of Caldey Island on the left of the horizon. Interestingly, Google calls it Caldney Island.
The kite that appears to be above the buildings is being flown by my son whilst the lady in red is my wife. Click on the images to see a larger version.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Just for the recorde.

Back from Tenby after three lovely days eating the largest fried breakfasts each morning. We had a fantastic time flying kites on the south beach. We also managed a rather interesting excursion by train to Pembroke to see the rather magnificent castle. However, I was particularly pleased that I managed to find the memorial plaque for Robert Recorde in St Mary's church, see here (better image to follow).

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


So Hitler was monorchic after all, see here. But why did we sing 'the other is in the Albert Hall'?

Struggling for the right word

A colleague has just used the phrase "SQL language". Now the L in SQL stands for language so a small discussion followed regarding the use of the meaning of an abbreviation in the same sentence. We all quoted examples such as "DC current" or, my son's favourite example, "personal PIN number". There is clearly some duplication going on here which we all found superfluous. The question we were left with was is there a word for it?

Don't go looking for compliments

Just out of interest I put "grasp the mettle" into google complete with quotation marks. Seems I am not so original after all because there were 453 hits.


I read a lot of blogs. The ones I read are updated daily if not more frequently. They tend to be blogs that relate to one particular topic. There are not many that I read that reflect the authors life.Perhaps not enough happens in one persons life to keep a blog going. So with that in mind I have decided that my blog will be a mix of tales of from my life, thoughts on what is happening in the world and the odd puzzle.
We will see how it goes.