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Chronicle for 2018

I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

It is conventional to celebrate this time of year by listing the things one has done during the year. I have done little recently and wondered whether to list some of the things I haven’t done, but thought that might confuse people.

Having reached the age of 80 denary I’m tempted to use hexadecimal and state my age as 50 hex. I defied convention and didn’t stage a drunken event. I stopped taking anniversaries seriously about 60 years ago.

Although there have been few events worth reporting this year, I’ve been happily occupied doing this and that and sometimes wonder where the day has gone.

I usually rise at 7 am, but checking emails and Internet and preparations to face the day usually occupy me until at least 11 and often later. To leave the house before 11 requires careful advance planning and is not to be undertaken without a very good reason.

Most of my time is spent browsing through books and internet sites and meditating on my problem of the day. Each morning I read a page or two of Mathematics or theoretical Science, to provide me with a puzzle to contemplate while eating, washing up, or walking to the shops, and yes, I still manage to walk to the town centre to shop. I do that almost every day. Even when I don’t need to buy anything I usually walk into the town for the sake of the exercise and look round the bookshops and the library.

For several years I’ve reported on the renovation of the house. That was work done by other people, though I claim credit for paying for it. By the beginning of this year there was very little left to be done. Only the derelict spare room required attention. This year it got it. After receiving the attentions of a plumber, two carpenters, a painter, and some in house wall papering and carpet laying by Jon, it needs just a little painting and a couple of minor tweaks before becoming usable.

A significant new departure has been a slimming programme. For a year or two I’d noticed trousers becoming tight at the waist. As my knees are a little arthritic, the less weight they have to support the better, so I bought some bathroom scales – I had two before moving house, but none after the move – and started to watch my weight and avoid eating fattening foods, forgoing the delicious cakes I used to buy from Wesses’ bakery. I’ve reduced my mass by about 3.5 kg, corresponding to a weight reduction of about 35 newtons, and seem to have reached an equilibrium, though I recently gave up yoghurt and bananas in the hope of losing another kg. I’m avoiding both Christmas pudding – which gives me indigestion, and mince pies this year.

Annual letters usually describe a great deal of movement. People record themselves going hither and thither, observing that building or this object and meeting one person or another. I’ve never been an enthusiastic traveller and often found that when I did go away the most enjoyable part of the excursion was returning home. Viewing places through Google Earth is much more comfortable than travelling to them.

This year I haven’t left Leicestershire, or indeed been outside the corridor between Market Harborough and the centre of Leicester. Almost all my journeys to Leicester are to attend meetings of the Leicester U3A. I still co-ordinate the activities of the Science and Technology group which meets in the same building in which I went to school. The building is now owned by Age UK. As we are an aged lot we get a room for a very moderate price.

I still manage to do some gardening, and once again grew tomatoes of various non-standard varieties. I was still eating them well into November and have saved seed for next year.

The more energetic of my friends sometimes visit me in Market Harborough, so let me know if you expect to be in the neighbourhood so that I can prepare refreshments.