Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Back to school

As I hit the button to upload this post early on Tuesday morning, Jessi is already on the train, starting the journey which will end when the Eurostar arrives at St. Pancras International in London. For the first week she and her friend Kiera will be staying in Whitechapel while they hunt for a flat to serve as their home during their year at King's College.

Her gang will miss her. Her parents will miss her. What a wonderful adventure awaits my daughter. Okay, her Auld Da must settle for contact limited to the Skype messaging window which enable our 'Long Desk' dialogues... and Munich will feel very empty until the break after her first semester. But she is sure to have a great time and is so lucky to be continuing her studies at such a fine university.

It seemed very fitting to have our farewell dinner yesterday at an excellent Indian restaurant here in Schwabing. I think I can safely predict that there will be many a curry consumed in London in the months to come!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Auf wiedersehen

Dear Summer,

Your visits to us this year in Munich were very timid, tentative and lacking in confidence. Why did you not make the kind of grand entrance you used to? It was wonderul when you barged into the calendar and simply took over a chunk of our year, never to let it go for weeks and weeks and weeks.

Or is my memory coloured by nostalgia more than precise recall? Perhaps. Although when I contemplate my collection of photographs from seasons past it certainly looks as if there were months on end of balmy temperatures and blue skies.

Oh well, dear Summer, I shall forgive you I suppose. And I’ll give you chance to surprise me in the year of my seventy-fifth birthday, to delight me once more. Come to us with your blessings again, and stick around for longer than just the occasional weekend. I shall be waiting hopefully at an outside table at the renovated Café Schwabing. Until then, goodbye!

With fond regards,

Friday, August 29, 2014

Reading matters

Readable narrative text documents generated by machines, without human mediation? The mind boggles! For the moment the technology relies on the content of data bases and such massive collections of information. 

But how soon are we going to be reading books facilitated by the 9th century Persian mathematical genius Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Musa Al Khwarizmi, whose name via European Latin translation evolved into algorithm by the 18th century.

Today's weather

Given that the Today program on BBC Radio 4 is my chatty companion every morning between 7 and 10 o'clock local time, I regularly hear the weather forecasts for the British Isles. Yesterday, when the forecasters predicted a late summer heat-wave next week, I had a sudden Eureka moment.

As of next week Jessi will be living in London, starting her studies at King's College. As a result I'll be hearing about the weather she will be dealing with on a day-to-day basis. It's an odd realization... in a way comforting.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Counting down

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Counting down

Not relevant to the issue of the upcoming referendum, 
but this is Sandlander's  2,222nd blogpost!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Binge reading matters

Binge reading is something I have been wallowing in since the beginning of May when I belatedly discovered the  Spenser series by the late Robert  M. Parker.

Before I finally delve into the latest volume of the Outlander series by Diana Gabeldon I must re-define the 'binge'. The first book of hers I read in the first half of the nineties, hence the enjoyment of book eight counts not as a binge indulgence... it is merely fidelity. The true binge is to download an author's titles one after the other and read them without interruption. Kerry Wilkinson.makes it very easy with his DS Jessica Daniel procedurals, with three books at a time as a single Kindle click purchase. It's an enjoyable series and I have another three on my device before I return to Outlander. Time spent with the characters invented by  Peter May and by G.M.Ford, Enzo MacLeod and Leo Waterman was by no means wasted. In  each case there were about half a dozen stories. The chronology was (as usual) hard to figure out on Amazon, the pricing policy sometimes bizarre and there was an unaccountable gap in the Ford books with the penultimate volume not offered in Kindle format even if the more recent  title could be had.
Peter May's Enzo Files, stories areset in France and are centred on the work of half-Italian, half-Scottish Enzo Macleod. This former forensic scientist, now working as a biology professor at a French university becomes involved in applying the latest scientific methods to solve cold cases.
May continues ensures authenticity in the details of his books by researching tirelessly. When writing The Critic... which involves the wine industry and is set in Gaillac, France...  May took a course in wine-tasting, picked grapes by hand, and was invited by the winemakers of the region to be inducted as a Chevalier de la Dive Bouteille de Gaillac in December 2007

Ford's first book, Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca? was published in 1995. As well as being Ford's début novel, this book was also the first in a series of seven books based on the character Leo Waterman, a detective working in Seattle, Washington.

Says Ford… “Notice a pattern here?  Seems like I lose interest in a character about six books into the series.  By that time, I’ve shot him, stabbed him, thrown him off bridges and tried to drown him in the river, and am starting to feel sorry for the guy, so I move on to something else.”

Wilkinson's Detective Sergeant is such a well-written female protagonist that Kerry (sort of a gender-agnostic first name) is often obliged to remind us that he is indeed a man! 

And one who writes good stories.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Inflation defined

The year was 1967.

My weekly pay of GBP 35 added up to an annual salary of GBP 1,820.

That's the equivalent of about GBP 27,500 today, very close to the average salary of employees in the United Kingdom in 2014.

But I look at that amount... 1,820... with new eyes since for the past few weeks my daughter has been hunting for a flat to rent in London when she starts her studies next month.

Jessi and Kyra are looking for a furnished flat they can share.

They reckon they will have to pay 1,600 per month... not far short of what I earned per year back in the day when it was sufficient to maintain a family with a one-year-old baby.

Jus' sayin'.