The Autumn Term is now over, or nearly over. It's that time of year again and the journalists will be writing their reviews of the year. It's easy journalism and they can get their copy in quickly with little effort by recycling the old stories. Tell me the old, old story, the one I love to hear... The BBC will be doing it as well. I think that 2016 is a year that is better forgotten and consigned into the dustbin of history. The miserable incident in Berlin's Christmas Market seems to underline it.
Wir sind Berlin
Comparisons are being made with the atmosphere in 1914, and we all know what happened then.
Then there will be the New-Year's Honours list, i.e. those who have made large donations to the Conservative Party. I have as much chance of getting an honour as being on a shortlist for a best-selling author prize. Currently I am a worst-selling author, and there is no booby-prize for that. I have two books on Kindle, writing under my pen-name of Peter Maxwell-Clarke. They have sold precisely zero copies in the last year.
Mr Bowen, my English teacher some forty five years ago, was never impressed by the stories I wrote. He also wrote in my final report, "...still derives no joy from English Literature..." Since I retired, I have tried to reacquaint myself with Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders. I found the story as impenetrable now as I did then. In those days I was a complete prick. I have since mellowed to be an irrelevant fart. I did try. Sorry, Mr Bowen. I would commend Thomas Hardy as a very good architect who designed his own house. Very nice it is too.
The thing that did strike me as I attempted to read The Woodlanders is about the houses they lived in. In the story, they were little more than hovels. Even the bigger houses could be occupied by people of normal means. Now they are the picture postcard cottages that feature in Escape to the Country, that lifestyle programme on BBC that features each episode a couple who want to escape from London (who doesn't?) and want to buy a house in Wiltshire, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, or occasionally Cornwall. They have a budget of at least £500 k, if not 1200 k and see three of these ex-hovels that now once housed a family of Woodlanders, but now are owned by ICT consultants who normally work from home, but catch a train to London twice a week to touch base with the office. They have the same old tiny rooms, the low ceilings with beams on which the man of the couple bangs his head, along with the small but extremely pricey kitchen. As for upstairs, there is no way in which both the bed and the wardrobe would fit in the master bedroom. But it does have an en-suite. As for the thatch... "I know it's above your budget, but we have had a word with the owner who is aware of your maximum figure. It may be the start of a sensible conversation..."
I am busy at the moment on my companion website, www.jirvine.co.uk which you can access by clicking on the link. It is designed to support students who are doing Access courses at Level 3 (the equivalent of A-level). It is also designed to support students at Foundation or first year level at university. I have notes on Basic Electricity, Electronics, and Electrical Engineering. They are based on the courses that I taught at Leeds City College. The electronics notes will be of particular interest to First Year university students since most students progressing from A levels will have little or no experience of the study of electronics. They will give you the very basics, but do not go into the rigorous detail that many Physics courses will.
Please visit it and tell anyone you know that may be interested that it's there for them to use.
I am an incorrigible re-moaner. I remain angry that the whole idea was sold on lies.
Now we know the start cost. £5000 million. We weren't told that, were we?
30 000 extra civil servants - who is going to pay for them?
Withdrawal of most farming subsidies, especially those to protect the environment. We didn't vote for the degradation of our countryside?
Project Fact might be slow in coming, but it will, with interest.
I read in The Guardian that there is one thing than a bad loser, and that's a bad winner. Brexiteers are a case in point.
The Future of this Site
I have had a number of e-mails asking me to continue. I will therefore revamp the site, but I need to state a couple of things before I do so:
1. It will take some time.
2. I will be maintaining the present format. It may be dated, but I am dated as well. The physics is the important element. If the format puts you off, then there are other sites. Some of them are even more dated looking than mine.
3. Please do not complain about the format; you will get a very dusty answer!
A very happy Christmas and peaceful and successful New Year.
Until the next time I saddle up my high horse, enjoy and good luck. I hope you do well.