Category Archives: Life

How Europcar stole £22.08 from me (and why you shouldn’t rent from them)

I mentioned last year that, living in rural England, I often find it useful to drive a hire car home from airports, and that Europcar had been my favoured option. But now they’ve stolen £22.08 from me, so I’ll have to find a different car-rental company to use.

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Why does my knee hurt? Someone must know

Five years ago, when I was at the 2010 SVPCA meeting in Cambridge, my knees were very painful. Walking was a trial, and going up and down the steps to the accommodation was pretty awful. I had no idea why my knees had started hurting, and neither did the doctor who I consulted. I also have no idea why they stopped hurting a little later. This whole episode makes no sense, given my generally good health.

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Paul Actual McCartney

I’ve waited 30 years for this, but on Saturday 23rd, at the O2 Arena in London, I finally saw Paul McCartney live!

He’s 72 years old — he’ll be 73 in less than a month. Yet he played forty songs.

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My quest to become overweight

I am 1.81 meters tall — I know this, because I got the nurse to measure me at my annual health-check a few days ago. For the last decade or so, my weight (or mass, if you’re scientifically inclined and pedantic) has hovered between 100 and 105 kg. At the bottom end of that range, 100 kg and 1.81 m gives me a body mass index of 100 / 1.812 = 30.5. According to the standard categories, that makes me obese — only just, as the threshhold is 30.

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A busy few days

These are busy days. In a few minutes, I’ll drive down to Newport, just across the Welsh border, to do a short set at The People’s Folk Festival. Tomorrow morning, I’ll play in a competitive football match for, I think, the first time in a decade (for Cinderford Veterans). Then I’ll watch proper footballers in the afternoon, as Liverpool play Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final. Then I’ll drive down to London to stay with old friends for a couple of days as I participate in the Royal Society’s discussion on The Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication. Oh, and I made sushi a couple of days ago.

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Great service is not dead

Several years ago, my brother Gerard gave us an Xbox 360 Elite for Christmas. At the time I was sceptical: we had a PS2 already and I didn’t see the need for another console. But time showed Gerard’s wisdom: the Xbox has been used for many thousands of hours of gaming — I myself have played well over a hundred hours of Just Cause 2 on it.

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It’s impossible to melt a Cadbury Flake

I discovered by accident that it’s impossible to melt a Cadbury Flake — our son needed to melt some chocolate for school-related reasons at short notice, and the Flake was the only chocolate we had in the house. Although it tastes identical to other Cadbury’s chocolate, it simply will not melt, instead breaking down into a coarse chocolate powder.

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