Thursday, 28 May 2009

Changeable Weather

On Tuesday, the day after the last photo, the weather changed completely, it became wet and windy. This photo was a quick snap taken into the wind and rain, looking in the same direction as the day before, but from the top of the promenade. You can see the sea is much rougher; I could hear the waves pounding on the shore quite loudly from where I live, inland further up the hill. You can no longer see the Beachy Head promontory because of the rain or mist.

On the same day I took delivery of a bookcase I had ordered online from Argos. This replaces one I decided to leave behind in Leicester as too weak to stand the move. It came of course in flat pack form, but unlike the stories comedians like to tell all the pieces were present, and I had no trouble the next day in getting it all to fit together. It enabled me to empty about six boxes of books, giving more room. I'm thinking of ordering a couple more bookcases to complete the job.

Today it was fine again and I was able to get out to do some more weeding that I had started on Monday morning. I'd bought a spade from poundstretchers for the purpose, since I left my gardening tools behind in Leicester not thinking I would need any here, since there is only a narrow patch behind the front wall. However there were extensive weeds in the car-parking area alongside the building. Whether it is really my job I'm not sure, but no-one else has offered to lend a hand.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

A View from Bottle Alley

This afternoon I went to buy a paper and took a walk along "Bottle Alley" which is below the promenade between Hastings Pier and Warrior Square in St Leonards. It is so called because of the broken bottle glass that was used to decorate the back wall. The photo was taken from one of the semi-circular viewing bays. On the horizon can be seen the outline of what I think is Beachy Head at Eastbourne.

As I walked along Bottle Alley, which is for pedestrians, I was a litle disconcerted to see a car coming towards me! It turned out to be a police car. I suppose only they and maintenance people are allowed to drive there.

Besides the Times I also bought a copy of the Argus to see if it carries any Hastings news, but it mostly covers Brighton and Hove. As it happens there was a small news item about a man found dead at the bottom of Beachy Head. A man from Derby. A long way to come to end your life.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Computer Trouble

After having my kettle blow a fuse, the next day my laptop computer packed up. The enigmatic message "Unknown Hard Error" came up and I could do nothing but turn off the power. When I switched on again all I could get was a blank screen with cursor at the top left. Apparently the fault was in the mother-board. I ended up paying £150for a replacement, reconditioned, computer.

Fortunately I had kept a back-up of most files on a USB stick, and it also proved possible to save the most recent work from the hard disk, so I don't think anything significant was lost. I prefer to use a separate laptop for most of my wordprocessing, rather than the PC that I use for connection to the internet.

As reported earlier I've been making progress in sorting out all my files on knight's tours, with a view to publishing the results in book form. I've also rediscovered a lot of other work on geometry and numbers and puzzles that I'd half forgotten. This could form the basis for several books, if I can find the energy and motivation to complete them.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Angels and Demons

Yesterday evening I went out to the Odeon Cinema in Hastings to see "Angels and Demons". I enjoy this sort of hokum; the mystery and conspiracy side of it that is, not all the blood and mayhem. The last time I went to the cinema was to see "The Da Vinci Code" about three years ago when I was in Lincoln for the Circular Chess. Contrary to reviews I've read I think Tom Hanks is just right for the role of the symbologist, Robert Langdon. He's not an athletic hero type like Indiana Jones or Jack Sparrow, nor an all-knowing master brain like Sherlock Holmes or Poirot, but just a modestly human academic carried along by crazy events.

This morning when I put on my kettle for a cup of coffee the electricity cut out. It wasn't a power cut, but my neighbour kindly pointed out that there is a device by the door that trips when there is an electrical fault, and just needs to be switched on again. I ended up buying a new kettle. It seems it is cheaper to buy a new one than to get the old one repaired.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

It's That Tree Again!

At the risk of appearing obsessive, here is another photo of the tree opposite my front door. From the small shoots in the last photo a month ago it now has a full complement of leaves that glow yellowish in the sunlight.

There is occasionaly a squirrel to be seen running along the branches. When the traffic is quiet it sometimes runs along the wall, jumps onto a telegraph pole further up the hill and crosses the road to explore the back gardens.

When I was in Leicester the view from my front windows was just of other houses, so I suppose I appreciate being closer to Nature here. I also try to go down to the sea-front every day if I can, to see what the sea is doing. Yesterday there was a strong wind blowing inland, making the sea choppy and leaving foam on the shore.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Knight's Tour Progress

I've been making some progress at last with my book on Knight's Tours. I have masses of material but the problem has been organising it in some sensible manner. The trouble is that putting things into historical order starts off quite well but eventually runs into the sand. On the other hand starting from first principles and putting everything in logical order means that the history can only be accessed via a chronological appendix that refers back to the appropriate pages.

The solution I have found is to use the historical sequence as the main structure, providing a series of themes, and to put in more recent developments where each subject first comes up, resuming the historical sequence at the start of the next section. So far it's working out quite well. It produces a series of Sections which I letter A, B, C, etc, with Chapters numbered 1, 2, 3, etc within each Section. A Chapter being devoted to a single narrow subject and covering on average six or eight pages (A4, 11 point text, diagrams with cells 1/5 of an inch wide).

I hope it will find a publisher, but if not I can put it on the web in the form of a series of pdfs. But there's still along way to go.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Proving One's Identity

I had a letter in the Hastings Observer last week about a new scheme of free swimming for people like me who are over sixty. The editor gave it a heading that suggested I was asking for free swimming for everyone. That might be nice, but in fact what I was arguing was that the scheme is unfair and likely to cause resentment and should not have been brought in, at least in that form.

I was also complaining about the need to produce a driving licence or passport, neither of which I now have, to prove my identity. It seems to me this is just softening us up for the introduction of Identity Cards. In the absence of those documents I was asked to show my birth certificate and utility bills. Why should I have to do this just to go swimming?