Monthly Archives: July 2011

28 – 30th July, 2011

Apologies for the delay in posts – we ‘ran out of internet’ the past few days but it’s now back up!

On the 28th I went to visit my Grandfather, and had a wonderful time. He normally submits the prize cryptic crossword from The Telegraph but was stuck on a particular clue – I couldn’t answer it (if he couldn’t get it, I certainly wouldn’t be able to – he is a master) but we had a good think and managed to get one or two others lurking on the page. We chatted for some time about some cracking stories: How he once managed to get royal box tickets to the Royal Albert Hall, the war and other things. It was so nice and comforting to be in his presence and think about a time long ago. When we got back my Mum and I had to get our tennis gear on for a match but we were obliterated. Rather disappointing, really, since none of the family will be playing on Final’s Day this year!

On the 29th I went to my girlfriends house and spent most of the day reading, (delicious carrot) cake making and walking. It was a very pleasant and relaxed day.

Today I arrived back home fairly early, my brother has come back for his birthday and tomorrow we plan to go on a nice family picnic. I have received an email about work experience within the immunology department – this is good, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t help but feel a little bit like I don’t want to go. I wonder what I’ll be thinking when I read this after it’s all over! The professor has scheduled it right through August – well – that certainly won’t be happening since I am going on holiday and I have told him – but what of camping? I do hope I can get it sorted and going, I feel a little uneasy about it all. I shall chat to you about it Monday and see what happens.

‘Till then!


26 – 27th

A fairly calm and relaxed two days – the 26th was spent mainly reading and doing some piano practice. My girlfriend and I did some baking of ‘cupcakes’ and decorated them as pies – the reason for this is that we have a ‘cupcake’ calendar which has unbelievably beautiful cupcakes, they really are works of art, each moth. We plan to make our own and photograph them for next year, even though they clearly won’t be as good!


Today there was nothing outright to speak about (apart from perhaps playing three good-fun sets of tennis), it was more of a day doing general things. I happily spent some time trying to come up with ideas for my novel. I plan to write at least 50,000 words. Doing so in thirty days requires 1,333 words per day – so here’s hoping! Presently I’m thinking of setting it around the late 19th century, I’m not sure of the main plot but I’d like the main protagonist to be a lecturer in cryptography and his skills are called upon by the metropolitan police to decode some mysterious messages from two alleged murderers lurking around London. As you can see, it really needs much more substance to it, but that can be worked on.

I did some more cryptic crossword work, it is tricky but it inevitably will be at the beginning. If all works out, I think I’ll be supremely satisfied if I can solve an entire one unaided.

I had a look at a terrific article from WikiHow on ‘How to Exercise an Open Mind’ – it has some truly great suggestions and (hopefully) will motivate me to do them. I’d like to list a huge amount of stuff I’ve learnt this summer and there is still a very good chunk (over sixty days) to go – that will not last forever. I’ve presently got a Wikipedia article on cyphers – 49 of them to learn, so let’s give them a shot! I also had a look at the Cambridge ‘Mathematics’ reading list, I truly enjoyed mathematics A-level

Off to Cambridge tomorrow and back for a club tennis match!

25th July, 2011

Proposed route!

Camping place sorted! Off to a wonderful (apparently!) walk in the Lake District, compiled by ‘Trail’ magazine a year ago (see image). Now I just need to pick up any necessary items and off I go, but at a price – the train ticket alone is a meaty £60 to Windermere with a railcard. I’ll try and get it cheaper but at least the possibility exists at all.

I did some more work on the cryptic crosswords but I am really struggling with so called ‘Sandwhich’ clues whereby one word is put in another, I understand the principle but ascertaining the words from the definition is more challenging – it may take some considerable cerebral activity to know how to combine the right words, and often you don’t even know you have the right words in the first place – if ‘left’ is written in the clue is this meant to be taken as ‘l’ (for shorthand) or as the word ‘port’ as in sailing? Or some other esoteric word I do not know? I suppose it’s a case of getting into the mindset of a setter and simply doing some practice – what I certainly do not want to do is trail off and not complete it. Hence, I plan to have a hefty go at it again tomorrow!

I did some reading of Birdsong by Faulks and it was interesting – It is fiction but he did his research and the levels the first world war pushed people are just ridiculous – drink becoming necessary to forget the horrors, soldiers being simply unaware of right and wrong. It’s all very messed up and we really ought to learn a lesson from history here, I feel.

More documents came through re: careers so am presently working through all that.

Speak to you tomorrow!

24th July, 2011

From Dumfries to Brighton!

Damn it all – no reading or camping advancements and it is only myself to blame. A lot of today was spent wrapping up eBay items ready to be shipped off tomorrow. Sales came in drips and drabs as the times ended – but I’m very glad they’re done with and I’ve managed to make a few bob doing it so that’s always a bonus. Normally parcelling up eBay items is something I’d say is boring – however I decided to listen to the wonderful I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue on BBC iPlayer – an especially good episode this week, and also Fry’s English Delights where he spoke on the subject of brevity – from newspaper headlines where it’s essential to twitter where you are of course limited to one hundred and forty characters. Tim Vine was on there, a man I don’t know much about, but he had some amazing, non-offensive one liners there so I believe I’ll look into some of his stuff!

Oh dear. This all seems rather unremarkable – all I can add is that I am now the present Nerf champion and that I did the next zone of Portal 2 co-op, which was good fun. Now, I am fed up of saying tomorrow will be a productive day – it simply must be and I think I’ll have to start imposing some kind of punishment if I don’t look back on it and really feel I have made the most of it.

23rd July, 2011

What to do with this...!

Fortuitously the alarm clock I set actually managed to awake me properly from my slumber – as opposed to the usual odd occurrence whereby I seem to somehow turn off my alarm without being conscious of doing so and hence do not wake up. It was an early start walking to the train station and a long journey there but I arrived in London and saw some (rather expensive) houses with a flatmate. Then it was off for a surprise ‘party’ which was to view the BBC Proms ‘Human Planet’ in the Park, next to the incredibly grand prince Albert monument which I had not seen before, but it was incredible – so ornate and exquisitely crafted. It took us an hour of wondering around to find the damn place (we didn’t know what it was near at the time) but the wait was worth it and it was wonderful hearing music from all the way across the globe. We had a lovely picnic and it was great fun spending time with friends. After the concert was over I wondered if any of the (truly) giant posters were going to be used afterwards – it turns out they weren’t and that they were free to a good home, so I am now the proud owner of a massive poster that really wouldn’t fit on any wall in the house.

After picking up my wrapping supplies for the ebay gifts I headed home (a long and painful journey involving missing a train by seconds and chatting to a wonderful former Church-warden who had been to Lords). The usual tasks of keeping up with the emails and news (horrendous news about the attacks in Norway and sudden death of Miss Winehouse), I organised playing Portal 2 coop with a friend – it was amazing and I intend to finish it with him ASAP simply because it was such fun.

I then had a very interesting discussion with a friend of mine about opinions – do we all have the same opinion, but different levels of understanding? If, given enough time, we could discuss every aspect of every person’s view and inform it, would we all end up with the same opinion, or something different? Interesting stuff.

Plan to sort out camping location, at the very least, tomorrow and pack the ebay items.

21 – 22nd July, 2011


My girlfriend has been round the last few days and we spent a long time lying in on the 21st, drifting in and out of sleep and doing some reading. I picked up the latest NewScientist, not a journal I normally read but it titles this issue as ‘The Existential Issue’ and has a series of very interesting and profound questions: ‘How could our cosmos have come from nothing?’ ‘Why is the universe just right for life’ and even ‘Am I a hologram’. Reading through the article, it’s most interesting and I find the interplay between science, philosophy and religion supremely interesting, and I would love to get involved in debates about it, whether it be in real life, forums or even youtube – I think the last two show the wonders of the internet in enabling people to express and discuss their views.

After that we popped to town and invested in a cookery book, an American one on how to bake ‘Whoopie Pies’ – a similar looking, but more sweet and cake-like, food to the humble Macaroon (of which we have had several unsuccessful attempts at trying to bake). After several frustrated internet searches trying to decipher the meaning and value of a ‘cup’ (an American measurement that seems to change depending on what you’re weighing) we got them in the oven and they were a great success! Will be shipped off to London tomorrow for a surprise birthday picnic for an individual – we plan to watch the Proms too, so that should be great.

Today we both went for a walk and discovered some new areas – very pleasant ones – and it’s always such a bonus when that happens. It was beautiful weather (for once) and we had a nice time lounging in the sun.

As for now I’m going to sort out what needs to be done tomorrow, try and pack some of my ebay items, give some thought to where I want to go camping and also where I want to go – the future looks exciting if it all works out! I’ve had two months to recharge my batteries and now I really want to get going with some adventure.

17th – 20th July, 2011

Apologies for the long delay in a post – not been home an awful lot the past few days! A good thing, I think.


There were only two affairs for the 17th – After getting up late I did not have much time before I was off on my tennis match. It was my first away game and I didn’t play at all well but it was good fun, and I do believe I can feel myself getting back into the swing (excuse the pun) of tennis – shots, whilst far from perfect now, are occasionally replaced with a well timed lob or ground stroke. I would like to emphasise occasionally, but it is beginning to come back. The team were a lovely bunch of individuals and, despite our team losing overall (not helped by me whatsoever), we did it with a smile and enjoyed some nice food afterward.

The next item on the agenda was ebay, it was the last day for the free listing so I spent a good deal of time making sure all of the items were there, accurately described and with good pictures. And that was really it – looking back it seems like not much to do in a day but the tennis did take five hours or so, and I do seem to be able to lie in to extra-ordinarily late times.


Today we were off to London. I had organised with many estate-agents on Friday places to go and see – it was looking promising until were were hit with troubles from fate. We missed the ‘fast’ train by one minute and so had to get the next one which stops at many more places – we were pushed for time but we should have been okay. Then, oddly, whilst we were on the train it came to a complete standstill for no apparent reason, progress was remarkably slow and the tannoy informed us that a train ahead had broken down  and there was a backlog. As you might’ve guessed this resulted in a tremendously slow journey. Along with delays on the underground it all resulted in missing the first viewing. This isn’t so bad, you might think, but I had invited my flatmate along and she had gone all the way to where the first viewing was, at a not insignificant cost, I imagine, from her own house – and we weren’t there. Feeling particularly awful I phoned her up and explained the situation – she said the estate agent wasn’t where he or she was meant to be. At any rate she managed to come for the second viewing but all of them ended up being rather uneventful. Either in serious need of work or no where near a tube. The long and short of it being that we’ve decided to wait and buy a house we think is perfect, rather than be forced to settle for one we don’t like, so now we’re looking into the letting market, at least for the first term.

19th & 20th

Off to the girlfriends house for a pleasant time reading and cooking and watching films. She’s gone off for a run now (I have the excuse of having no kit!) and tonight we’re off for a school leavers’ event. The parents have gone off for a holiday to Germany so I will be home alone most days – so no excuse for not doing exactly as I want – presently I am very close to finishing the crossword book! Though I must say I don’t feel at all ready to take on the might of a cryptic, but we shall see. Though it has helped develop my first ever clue: Somewhere under St. Andrew’s, clear?

Yesterday I was thinking it’d be really great to basically spend the whole holiday travelling around the world. And not just in a ‘touristy’ way, I should like to ingratiate myself into the culture else I feel one doesn’t really learn much. We had a school trip to India and it was so moving, but I think that was only the case because we were visiting orphanages, living in a true Indian college where students go, not tourists and I got a chance to see beggars on the street, see poor children and try to help, even in a very small way and it was so much more eye opening – I know this because we spent the last night having a meal in an actual hotel and it was simply a posh man’s eatery – ultra clean, a huge banquet, pristine glass and an individual hired to play the piano – absolutely nothing like what the previous week had lead me to believe to be the ‘real’ parts of some Indian counties.