Saturday, April 20, 2019

A bunch of fives

The people in charge of weather have shown unusual good taste and made this four-day Easter weekend into four days of gorgeous summer sunshine, after months of general miserableness. So, since it takes a lot of really devoted denial to pretend I haven't put on any weight over the winter, I decided that this Easter will be dedicated to a lot of healthy exercise and a sharp reduction in the volume of sweets I stuff my face with on a daily basis.

Luckily, Redditch is a great place to live if you like to cycle along handily-signposted long-distance cycle routes. It's the place where National Cycle Route 55 splits off from the main Route 5, giving me a choice of three directions to go, starting practically right on my doorstep. Yesterday I went all the way down to Stratford-upon-Avon (and then got the train back, which probably takes longer than cycling since you have to go all the way to Birmingham and back out again, but which is fine because that means I can drop into the comic shop while I'm there), today I went to Bromsgrove and back, and tomorrow or Monday I'll complete the triad and venture up towards Birmingham by the more direct route. That will hopefully make it easier to close the buttons on my work shirts when I go back to the office on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 21, 2019


Two entirely unrelated people today have mentioned the chronicles of Narnia, with particular reference to Edmund's love of Turkish delight, in conversation with me. It must be an omen of some kind, but I can't quite figure out what it's omening. I'll have to go and look in the wardrobe.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Time marches on

I really don't like seeing a football headline saying "Brighton are in the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in 36 years". I remember the previous time, you see. It happened in my lifetime. That can only possibly mean that I'm old enough to remember things that happened 36 years ago, which is a very disturbing thought.

It's Brighton's fault. If they'd won the cup every year since 1983, the sports pages would just say "Brighton are in the FA Cup semi-finals, just like last year", and I don't particularly mind remembering things that happened a year ago.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Do the math

Some time back in the late nineties or early 2000s, when England had four teams in the Champions League quarter-finals and someone complained in my hearing that the draw was obviously a fix because two of the English teams were drawn against each other, I quickly played about with Excel in order to add some mathematical accuracy to my counter-argument that that person was extremely stupid, and worked out that the chance of all four games being one English team and one foreign team was only twenty-two-and-six-sevenths percent.

But that figure seemed so obviously not right, because I would have thought it was exactly 25% if it was anything, that I assumed I'd done something wrong, so I never did come back with my brilliant rebuttal of the whole 'fix' calumny. However, I just did the same thing with my more advanced version of Excel, and it still only says 22.857142 recurring percent, so either I'm very consistent in doing something wrong after all these years, or the universe really is so badly aligned that the chance of all four English teams ending up in different games doesn't work out to a nice round number.

Somebody out there please do some maths, because otherwise I'm going to have to devote hours to doing the whole thing properly.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill

And there's no need to activate the aura of negativism (if anyone gets that reference, award yourself a promotion to colonel), because I'm still as wildly impressed and entertained by the Marvel Cinematic Universe as ever! Captain Marvel is great, and I'm going to use it as a good excuse to re-watch all twenty previous movies preparatory to seeing Avengers: Endgame. There might maybe exist some more productive uses of my time, but I don't care. Excelsior!

Friday, March 01, 2019

Memory québécois

I was going to add last night that I could put on a red wig and play Dot Cotton, since they've been very awkwardly filming scenes without June Brown in which Dot is just off-screen for the last couple of weeks of episodes. It's the part I was born to play.

But on the subject of my bad memory, everybody should know about the Quebec Memory Championships coming up on March 23! It's an innovative and really well-designed memory competition that should really be emulated all around the world. And you don't actually have to go to Laval University to compete, because you can take part, just for fun, as an 'honorary competitor', in the sense that they'll send people the memorisation papers and let you do it yourself. So I'm certainly going to do that, and I just thought I should publicly announce my approval of the whole thing here for the world to see.

Although most people will have stopped reading when I implied that I want to be Dot Cotton, but never mind.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Dreams of stardom

 I started watching EastEnders again for the first time in many years, when I heard Dr Legg was coming back. I still don't know what half of the characters in it are called, but it's fun to keep in touch with everyone on Albert Square. It even inspired my subconscious mind last night and gave me a dream that I was sitting in the café when Dr Legg (or possibly Leonard Fenton) came over and said he'd had an idea for a new scene with the two of us, which they could add into the episodes before he died, so we had a conversation which I think involved baking pies.

I've always sort of wanted to be on EastEnders, or even better, Coronation Street, as long as it was in some kind of role that required an absolute minimum of acting but basically just involved me sitting in the background of important scenes. And getting my picture in those soap opera magazines a lot, obviously. I'm available, casting people. Send me an email.