20 Apr 2017

20th April 2017 What did you say my name was? ๐Ÿ˜ถ

Thursday 20th 32-48F, 0-9C, white frost on the grass, early calm replaced by whizzing anemometers, bright with thin, high cloud. Early, or overnight pig's muck spreading, has obviously occurred!

Gulls? What gulls?

We'd better forget that occasion where I raced the length of Wales. Going completely the wrong way! Desperately trying to get home from a camping trip before it was extended beyond the call of duty. Normally I do have a good sense of direction and can remember the site of almost every building I have ever  photographed for my blogs. Ask me to remember the name of the nearest village or road and I am often completely stuck. For me the general situation of the building is contained in a warm and fuzzy, mental image, Only very rarely by a place name. I often forget the names of the three villages at which I shop most days of the week. I will often start to write about something and will forget the exact form of words I had mentally crafted only seconds earlier.

My blog posts are, by default, almost completely spontaneous. I often have ideas I want to to discuss as I am riding along. A few minutes later I haven't a clue what I had decided to write about. Yesterday, I arrived home with four things which had occurred. Could I remember them? Try two out of four!

I do remember that another person, also without a functioning brain, had parked right across the beginning of the new cycle path. Hedge cutting, it seemed to him, had a far higher priority than the needs of mere cyclists. I doubt it was a deliberate act of premeditated  evil. More a total lack of brain cells. Would an extra ramp, or two, have broken the budget of a multi-million, multi-year long, multi-discipline roadway, cycle path and public services contract? 

On my return journey I discovered that the village gutters had been partially swept for the first time in what passes for living memory. I'm pretty sure they will have missed lots of Viking treasure. Even some earlier stuff, if they did not sieve the contents of the vacuum sweeper lorry on its return to the depot.

I know from years of practice that I rode 12 miles yesterday. But I shall have to wait until Year Three of my Advanced Sigma 16.16 course before I can get the new toy to tell me that with less than 37 carefully sequenced button presses. Despite it being a birthday present I am sorely tempted to return to the 16.12 and put the new computer head on the Higgins where it won't really matter. What, on Earth, were Sigma thinking when they released the 16.16 on a completely unprepared world? Heads should roll!

Footnote: Luckily, on returning home, I was able to enroll on a three year, evening class course, in Sigma cycle computer basic settings at the Odense Technical College. It's a 25 mile ride each way, completely in the dark for six months of the year, but it will be well worth it, eventually. The course was heavily oversubscribed but they let me in because of my tearful pleading in pidgin Danish. Perhaps they thought I'd be fun to have around? There's no accounting for taste. Time for a walk before I seize another chance to talk about me. What did you say my name was, again? ๐Ÿ˜ถ

Talking of courses; various employers have sent me off to "improve" myself. With the inevitable consequence that I'd find myself at the end of day one having overwritten the memory of that morning's facts with those administered after of lunch. I'd turned up needing several megabytes of memory cells but find I had only 8k available. And so, as each day passed the earlier information would be repeatedly over-written into increasing corruption of the vital earlier data. Despite using maths for every project and interest, I have the skills of an unripe lemon. Even basic fractions must be tested to destruction with simple examples to ensure I haven't broken anything.

My father decided to invest in a commercial memory system at the height of his career. With several thousand staff to be remembered it was probably a wise move. It was also handy at family get-togethers for him to to be able to instantly conjure up the 7th or 17th root of any number on demand. It seemed the memory system relied on remembering a clue to the fact or number to be memorized. I tried it briefly but soon found I could not remember the clue.

Intelligence, without a working memory, is a very severe handicap. Expectations are always very high and always sorely disappointed. Being told, repeatedly, that I should be in a far better job only ended when I retired from a lifetime of manual/unskilled jobs. Having the memory of a shriveled walnut required copious notes to avoid daily disasters. After nine years of working on one CNC machine I still could not remember the numbers stamped on the few sets of jaws used on that lathe. Yet I was considered the expert and frequently required to train others. I got away with it by sticking clear labels and files on the machine hood to "aid potential trainees."  ๐Ÿ˜‡

Even to this day I will forget to turn on the router or the telephone each morning. I have tried to remember some detail which will trigger the memory to turn it on without the least success. This goes on day after day. Year after year after year. The telephone remains switched off all day or I must return downstairs to switch on the router. I made a mental note to look out at the weather from the window just above the switch. The weather always goes unnoticed for months on end. I tell myself to look at something specific and have always forgotten to look. I not only forget what must be remembered but forget to remember to remember. If only I could remember to stick a note by the switch itself.. 

Oddly I have a perfect memory for the exact source of every piece of junk in my collection of large plastic tubs and boxes. A thousand parts from literally hundreds of dismantled objects are easily identified in my mind. Often from objects taken apart well over half a century ago. How useful is that to a normal life? I must have been standing behind the door when they handed out the really useful stuff.

Every morning I add the weather to my blog. Every single morning I must use a list on the wall beside the computer to convert F to C. Every single morning, for year after year, I simply cannot remember even the "round" number conversions so must consult my list. I did a delivery round in my youth but could not remember a single customer's name out of hundreds. How weird is that?

I have had a lifelong obsession with astronomy.  Inevitable, I suppose, when you feel more alien than human. Yet I cannot remember the names of more than a few constellations or one or two stars. After 60 years of this total obsession I really ought to be able to reel off the names of Jupiter's moons. Or the diameter of The Sun? Nope. Not a chance if you demand anything from memory.

It's no wonder I took up astronomical telescope making instead! I converted advanced optical design textbooks to BBC Basic with great success. I even found typos and mistakes in answers to test designs. Ask me to solve an equation on a piece of paper and you might as well ask a limpet.

I was always useful with mechanical things. I had an early start when I dismantled my mother's iron at the age of 5 or 6. Ask me anything about electronic circuits? No. But I can wire up a complex audio system including satellite reception and DIY multi-speaker boxes.

I quickly taught myself antique clock repairing and restoration to undo the awful damage caused by professional repairers. My first car was highly modified before I parted with it for more than I paid. I built my first racing bike in a couple of hours, from scratch, at fifteen. Despite having never owned one with derailleur gears, high pressure tyres, center pulls or cotterless chainsets before starting.

My morning walk was without excitement other than an aggressive Coot attacking an innocent pair of Mallards. Which had foolishly chosen the church pond for a little R&R. Coots are obviously much closer to the dinosaurs than they pretend to be. A clear case of "village mentality" in my book. There's a lot of it about.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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