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Showing posts from January, 2021

Bill's Garden 2019, Growing Biennial Plants From Seed

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For many years I've enjoyed a spot of gardening. In fact there have been several occasions over the years when I've been employed as a gardener. That's included in Scotland and when living in the Northern Territory of Australia. I also studied plant biology as a component of my BSc degree in 1985 at the University of St. Andrews . I'm by no means an expert but gardening is a pastime I've always enjoyed, though what can be achieved in my Dunfermline garden is limited by its small size and difficult location. An enormous sycamore tree, which I've pictured elsewhere in my blog, hardly helps. The following photographs were taken over the spring and summer of 2019, although preparations began the previous year with the sowing of biennial seeds. I often sow biennials indoors on window sills during June and July. I have a greenhouse but it's more convenient to tend a small amount of germinating seeds in the house. Seedlings are potted up and transferred to the gr

Football Fortunes, the Trainspotter's Paradise

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In 1996 my first (and last) book Football Fortunes was published. It was described by the Sunday Times as "a trainspotters paradise". A curate's egg of a review, although I do confess the book is one for anoraks. The book was written in an age before internet gambling was commonplace and the football pools and bookmaker's fixed-odds coupons were the most popular way to place bets on the outcome of matches. Football Fortunes. Results Forecasting, Gambling & Computing. W.A.Hunter BSc BA The blurb on the back reads as follows. " ... MAKES VITAL READING for those interested in soccer results forecasting, the football pools, or fixed-odds betting. Comprehensive advice is provided for both the novice and experienced bettor. Beginning with the fundamentals of results prediction and the laws of probability and odds, there then follow detailed explanations of forecasting systems and staking strategies. To improve your fortunes, there are many origina

Carrion Crows and Wood Pigeons Nesting in my Garden

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In the summer of 2009 wood pigeons nested in my front garden. That's not remarkable of course, but on this occasion they chose to nest in a small cherry tree only six feet from an upstairs bedroom window. The arrival of the pigeons coincided with my purchase of a video camera and was the perfect opportunity to test it out. I set up the camera only inches from the slightly open window. The quality of the video (in terms of clarity at least) is excellent. The episode remains strong in my memory as my mother's bed was sat adjacent to that window. She was bedridden and her dementia was by that stage severe. Although mother had lost her speech I was aware that she was intently watching and listening while I filmed and contributed an Attenborough-esque commentary. This is the video. The camera was a Canon HG20. I uploaded the  video to YouTube in August of 2009. It has accumulated over 16,000 views. There was a  sequel  but it failed to achieve the acclaim of the original movie. In

Billiard Balls, Sequence and Logic Puzzles

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A few years ago I created a series of billiard ball puzzles. They were posted on my pool websites and on Facebook. Here they are again. Just click on each of the images for a full screen view. Ball Heads Puzzle The first puzzle is self-explanatory. Simply provide a value for the final image in the series. Balls in Sequence Puzzle This next one is all about sequences. Select the 6th in sequence from images A, B, C, D and E. Pyramid Balls Puzzle Below is a 4-sided, square base pyramid formed by pool balls. There are four layers numbered from top to bottom 1, 2, 3, 4. Individual balls have these points values…  Red = 1  Yellow = 2  Blue = 3  White = 4  Black = 5 Each layer consists of balls all of the same colour except that a single black ball is out of sight somewhere within the pyramid. The sum value of all of the balls in the pyramid is 53 points. In which layer is the black ball ? Poolean Logic Puzzle There are three pool balls. Red, yellow and blue. They are numbered 1, 2 and 3, but

Facebook Trolls, Covidiots and Scottish Nationalism

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The creation of this blog during isolation has proved to be a welcome escape from the abomination which is Facebook. I rarely visit my Facebook account, but today made an exception to retrieve old content. It didn't take long before I came across a Facebook 'friend' denying the very existence of the pandemic. It beggars belief that anyone can still seriously suggest that it's all been a big hoax... some kind of cleverly crafted conspiracy. Others attempt to play down its seriousness. If you are standing at a bar quietly supping a pint with friends and the village idiot arrives on the scene it's possible to turn away and shuffle along a few feet. Social media on the other hand provides a very public platform for the craziest of people. As I say, one of the reasons I began this blog is that I'd become increasingly exasperated with the content of social media. Twitter I think remains just about tolerable, but not Facebook. There are so many things I won't miss