Category: Hobbies

Champagne Socialists or Hooray Henrys?

Grimy Miner, Going Postal

I my previous post (see here) I highlighted the concerns regarding the drinking culture at Durham University and how the Labour MP for Durham City, Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, voted with the student element in the referendum, indeed, in conversations that I had with her on her blog (now deleted by her) she said that she voted that way because of the student vote in Durham, and how important it was to heed their voices.

When it was pointed out to her that the student vote was transient and that her resident constituency had voted massively in favour of Leave she severed contact.

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Regular Numbers and Plimpton 322

OldTrout, Going Postal
Plimpton 322 is a Babylonian clay tablet, notable as containing an example of Babylonian mathematics. It has number 322 in the G.A. Plimpton Collection at Columbia University. This tablet, believed to have been written about 1800 BC, has a table of four columns and 15 rows of numbers in the cuneiform script of the period.

There are trigonometric arguments for interpretation of Plimpton 322 and a number-theoretic argument by Neugebauer.

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The things I really hate!

Colliemum, Going Postal
Toot, toot!

First off – keep yer hair on, this is not about politics and politicians or Al Beeb.
This is just a little list of my top pet hates which irritate the hell out of me in my ordinary day-to-day life.
Top of them is car seats.
They are oh-so-wonderfully ‘secure’, ‘cradling’ one so that one doesn’t rattle around like a pea (why that should happen when we’re all strapped in by our safety belts anyway is something I still don’t know). And of course they make even a common-or-garden family car ‘feel’ as if one’s in a high-powered sports car – that’s especially important when creeping around at 10 mph or standing still!
But try to get out of such a seat! It’s impossible, especially when one’s not a limber young model like those lovely examples of totty gracing the comments (I suppose, since nobody reads the comments, nobody sees them either?). Lifting one’s legs to indecent heights, then rolling over that bulge (which seem to get higher in every new model), then gaining one’s feet and lifting one’s bum from low inside over that high bulge to get out: it’s an atrocity!
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The Internet

El Cnutador, Going Postal

So there I was, at 16, with my Commodore 64, a Programmers Reference Guide and no assembler, translating assembly instructions into hexadecimal opcodes, by hand, then typing them in as DATA statements in decimals. A friend had one of these new fangled Modem thingies, and he could connect to the various bulletin boards, where we would swap our C64 BASIC code into their gaping ether to gain enough upload credits so we could download a few grainy gifs of grot. The modem could handle a blistering 14.4Kbps in one direction at a time.

Never mind that the forests outside our houses were a veritable cornucopia of grot, Reader’s Wives, Playboy, and Fiesta. We even found a copy of Roue once but the stories of lesbian hockey girls in private schools being lightly frotted with a feather duster did little for us.

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Sex and drugs and upper firsts

I live a few miles out of Durham City, in a former pit village. For those who don’t know Durham it is a World Heritage site

Grimy Miner, Going Postal

and home to Durham University, one of the prestigious 5 Universities in Britain (Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Imperial College London being the others).

Durham University is (temporary) home to some seventeen and a half thousand students (last available figures 2014). There exists an uneasy truce twixt Town and Gown but our MP, Ms Roberta Blackman-Woods, and Durham County Council, seems to hold them in higher regard than their more permanent constituents. I communicated with Ms R B-W regarding her stance on Brexit and she eventually stated that she voted to remain because “the student vote was to remain”. When it was pointed out that this 17,000+ voter base was transient, and that they could not ALL be remainers and that her total constituency had, in fact, voted to leave she closed communication with me and deleted the correspondence on her blog.

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Shunting Puzzle, Part Three

Christmas Lull – Shunting on slowly

Last time you saw a relatively quick transformation of my winter project – from bare shelf which was hollowed out, wired up, a baseboard added, ramp, rails and magnorail installed. This time it has rather less to show for progress. Many reasons for that – not least being thrown out of my work-space by the Christmas return of the eldest from Uni – how dare he need his bedroom back! That has meant the project is homeless, currently residing in the study, a place used by others, so not able to set everything out and make a right mess. Having said that there have been occasional bursts of activity and more purchases.

We left it as so – looking fairly well advanced, but the cyclists flinging themselves in all directions, rarely along the ‘road’, no motive power or anything to run on there and all manual.

Sweaty Dave, Going Postal

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*Special* Christmas Nibbles for those occasions where you simply wish they wouldn’t come


OK everyone, it’s that time of year when you see *friends* and those *family* members you do not really like very much come round yours.  To keep face, and pretend you don’t hate them at least, you must offer them something to eat and drink.  I see from the articles we have so far for the ‘ Advent Calendar of Cuisine’, that they cover some delicious meals and drinks.  In these difficult circumstances, you do not want to be wasting good food and drink on these people.  The solution therefore is to provide some special *drink* and *food*

Regarding drinks, many of us will have won a raffle prize or two where it is a bottle of sparking urine or similar.  Keep these, and tell your guests they are in for an international treat.  Explain that as you are on a strict diet, you cannot partake of this yourself.

So here is a couple of  *nibbles* that you can prepare, in some cases weeks in advance, some can be frozen or kept in the fridge and they should last until Christmas has finally finished, which we will know about, as the shops will be stocking Easter Eggs, except they will now be called *Holiday Chocolate Eggs* to avoid offending people who are not of a Christian religion, but will of course offend all those who are of a Christian religion.  I digress:


Pttm, Going Postal

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Cider – Milling the stuff

I currently have a project role at Heineken, based at the Cider Mill in Hereford.  It really is a great company, with terrific people.  Even though I, like many others, are contractors, they treat us as part of the team, with all the benefits of being a Heineken employee.  As a Test Manager, I know bugger all about brewing beer, or milling cider.  (Cider is milled, not brewed).

I am going to write this article over the course of milling our cider, so day one was 22nd  November.

Anyway, our project being new to the Cider Mill site in Hereford, was invited to spend a few days, over a few weeks, to mill and vinify some cider, the old fashioned way.  The first day was bloody hard work.

The recipe starts with “take 1,500kg of apples”

Pttm, Going Postal

Here we start with around 500kg each of Dabinett, Yarlington and Brown Snout varieties, from orchards around the area.

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Shunting Puzzle, Part Two

Shunting on

Sweaty Dave, Going Postal
The Magnorail kit arrived from Holland

A fortnight ago I outlined a plan for a winter project – both explaining and justifying it to myself and the esteemed audience of wankpuffins. Since then a lot of money has changed hands and items have started to arrive. The plan is to produce a working model of a colliery siding next to a town, within the confines of a shelf. No messy wiring is allowed and the scene should be as accurate as possible. Anything that can be automated should be, not just engines and points, but signals, cyclists and cars too.

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