Monday, 25 September 2017

Caravan shutdown

If it’s 1797 and you’re going to invade Great Britain from France, obviously north Pembrokeshire is the go-to place, isn’t it?  Good rail links Goodwick to London, regular Sealine ferries to Ireland, nice local beaches…  but you probably didn’t allow for Jemima.
The tapestry (more properly, as Z pointed out, an embroidery) commemorating this bizarre bit of forgotten history (about which you can read more here), immaculately displayed and curated in Fishguard library, allowed us to dispose of a wet, windy Friday.  We proceeded up the coast to Newport (how many Newports are there in the UK, I wonder?) and an acceptable lunch at the Golden Lion, after which we drove back over the misty, drizzly Presilli hills and caravan life took over.
The Presilli hills are locally referred to, in English, as the Presilli mountains.  This is a deliberate mistranslation of ‘mynneth’, which sounds a bit like ‘mountain’ but in Welsh means something rather less.  (I am making this up, but don’t let that stop you believing it.)  Welsh is an intriguing language, which we’ve resolved to learn more of.  (* look up the Welsh for ‘resolve’*)  Sometimes it just looks like bad English spelling (ambiwlans, parc busnes) but then veers off into French (eglwys). 
Back at the caravan, we hunkered down and enjoyed a decent-weathered Saturday, including a walk across the westward Wiseman’s Bridge beach where the geology is, once you notice it, quite fascinating.  I’d spent many early years not noticing that what was now rockpools and striations had once been a massive promontory – huge and high worn down to sea level cracks and sand over many millions of years.  We don’t leave that much of a trace, do we?
The caravan is shut down.  Draining the plumbing was much easier once Joseph had taught me how to do it properly.  Z has made it cleaner than it’s been for years.
I didn’t cut the grass. No rabbits did either.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017


William of Ockham (1287-1347) invented the safety razor, often wrongly attributed to King C. Gillette (1855-1932), who of course invented the waistcoat, but (Ed: shome mishtake shurely?)
Ah, yes.  William of Ockham (1287-1347) formulated the principle that became known as Occam’s Razor.  It’s called a razor because it shaves away extraneous matter.  (Why Ockham became Occam is anyone’s guess; did medieval keyboards lack a K and an H?)
Occam’s Razor can be expressed in many ways.  Here are two:
1.     The law of economy of hypothesis (which I might have just made up) states that, of a number of solutions to a given problem, the correct one is that which requires the least number of assumptions.
2.     Z, on having heard me dissert on this, offered the 21st century version acronymised in this post’s title.
Anyway, it sprang uninvited into my mind after an amusing Facebok conversation about the following conundrum:

1 + 4 = 5
2 + 5 = 12
3 + 6 = 21
5 + 8 = ? 

The answer, of course, is 34, but a lot of people opted for 45.  I challenged this, and it was suggested that, given that the = sign in this context obviously doesn’t mean what it usually means, then the operators are up for grabs and the + sign can therefore be fairly interpreted as a * (multiply) sign, in which case you do get 45.
That’s where William nudged me in the ribs.  Oy, he said, one mistake’s enough, why let another one in? 
I thought I’d scored a point, but now I wonder: if + doesn’t mean +, and = doesn’t mean =, who’s to say what 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and the rest mean?  Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.