We happy few...


Yes I know...two blogpostings in one day. How lucky are YOU?
I was looking through my truckshunting email just now (address below) and thought that these items were far too good to keep to myself.

So first up, thanks to Vivienne for the attached pictures of the unforgettable Birkheads AGM on Wednesday.

Secondly, thanks to ex-Nightshift listener Dave for sending me this bagatelle about ‘chocolate maths’. Try it. It works...
It takes less than a minute.
Work this out as you read.
Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!
1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but fewer than 10)
2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)
3. Add 5
4. Multiply it by 50 -- I'll wait while you get the calculator
5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1759 ...
If you haven't, add 1758.
6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.
You should have a three digit number
The first digit of this was your original number
(i.e. how many times you want to have chocolate each week).
The next two numbers are
YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)

...for this poetic offering (with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe)...

Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary
System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bed sheets, Still I sat there, doing spreadsheets:
Having reached the bottom line, I took a floppy from the drawer.
Typing with a steady hand, I then invoked the SAVE command
But got instead a reprimand: It read, "Abort, Retry, Ignore."

Was this some occult illusion? Some maniacal intrusion?
These were choices Solomon himself had never faced before.
Carefully, I weighed my options. These three seemed to be the top ones.
Clearly, I must now adopt one - Choose: "Abort, Retry, Ignore."

With my fingers pale and trembling, slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored,
Praying for some guarantee Finally I pressed a key -
But on the screen what did I see? Again: "Abort, Retry, Ignore."

I tried to catch the chips off-guard - I pressed again, but twice as hard.
Luck was just not in the cards, I saw what I had seen before.
Now I typed in desperation, Trying random combinations.
Still there came the incantation - Choose: "Abort, Retry, Ignore."

There I sat, distraught, exhausted, by my own machine accosted;
Getting up, I turned away and paced across the office floor.
And then I saw an awful sight, A bold and blinding flash of light,
A lightning bolt that cut the night and shook me to my very core.
The PC screen collapsed and died, "Oh no - my database!" I cried.
I thought I heard a voice reply, "You'll see your data - nevermore!"

To this day I do not know the place to which our data goes.
Perhaps it goes to Heaven where the angels have it stored.
But as for productivity - Well, I fear that it goes straight to Hell.
And that's the tale I have to tell - Your choice: Abort, Retry, Ignore.

Please remember that blogposting 138 below is also new today.

Post comments on this blog or email me: truckshunters@googlemail.com


Hildie said...

Wow! Proud of you. Ian, two postings in one day! Mostly - but
- I love that purple-patch of a sentence describing Birkheads ...
"A perfect venue - a little ivy-beststrewn suntrap tucked away in the corner of a secret garden hideaway concealed in the undulating folds of the north-west Durham hills". That's outstanding, as sentences go! If I were Christine and Mike I'd be borrowing it! They were truly excellent hosts ... I'm just so sorry we didn't have a walk around the gardens! Who can believe that?We really must go back again .... walk first... coffee later ... what d'you think?
Dave's chocolate maths and Kev's poetry was good!
I saw a funny video on Channel 4 News this evening .... a bullock escaped from a cattle market in Scotland today and ran amok in a nearby supermarket. His owner came into the shop to reclaim him, but turned tail and ran out again when the bullock headed towards him in a frenzy. They were last seen heading back to the cattle market ... the bullock chasing the owner!
I'd like to say hi to Marion who posted on the blog a couple of days ago .... it was great to hear from you .... we have ever-open arms for the appearance of new truckshunters ... we look forward to hearing from you again.

Ian Robinson said...

Thanks for the compliment Hildie...yes, a good idea to go back again; I'm ready when you are...and by the way I'm sorry I left on Wednesday without making sure you had a lift home...whoops :(

Maureen said...

Hi All, I agree with Hildie, Ian a lovely description of Birkheads, you know that we are all waiting for your NEXT book, don't you? and that column in the Chronicle we would all love to see ...
I've passed it on to Christine and Mick, I'm sure that they'll love it. I saw that video Hildie, wasn't it funny? and did you see about those pensioners at Silver Screen events who received written warnings because they were being noisy and disruptive, keeping places in the queues for their friends and even taking tupperwares to put the free biscuits in for home! Ian...?

Sid said...

A return to Birkheads is a must, count me in.
I saw that clip on the news Hidie. It's bound to feature in an advert for 'See how fresh our meat is' sometime soon. I think the farmer was quite brave, he hung around just long enough to make sure the bullock spotted him, then sprinted out the shop....with the animal on his coat tails.
How does that chocolate thing work, I haven't managed to fathom it out yet.
Hildie is right you know Ian. The words flow from your finger tips. They are truly wonderous reading.

Ian Robinson said...

Aww shucks, kids - thanks for the compliments :-))...
Sid - good question about the time of the next AGM at Tanfield Railway; the trains start running at 1100. Any suggestions as to timing?...

Hildie said...

When's the next sunny day, Sid?
Ian says he's ready when we are!
I was fine for a lift home, Ian, thanks ... I was amongst truckshunters .... Vivienne very kindly dropped me on my doorstep!
That reminds me .... where's Lawrence got to? We haven't seen height nor hair of him lately.

Vivienne said...

Hi Folks,

Welcome to the blog Marion. Please come back soon. Where are all our other friends? Loz, Ellie, Audrey, Margaret, Alison, Gilly?

Thanks for your lovely postings Ian.

I thought you'd all like to know that Inga has sent me a link to a Radio 4 play by Alan Plater. It's a Geordie play, performed by local actors, and it's very funny. 'The Gallery' will only be available on the iplayer for another 4 days. I've attempted to paste the link below, so you can copy and paste it too. I must write back to Inga and tell her that Alan Plater's a Jarrovian too, i.e. as well as Maureen and me.


For the historians amongst you, you may be interested in a new book about Mary Eleanor Bowes called, 'Wedlock' by Wendy Moore. Wendy was at Gibside yesterday, where she gave a talk about the life of Mary Eleanor Bowes, how Mary came to inherit the Gibside Estate, and the terrible abuse Mary suffered in her marriages.
Wendy was able to see the original hand-written papers documenting the evidence in her book. The book is available at Gibside in the gift shop. You can access the shop without paying a National Trust entrance fee.

Vivienne said...

Hi again,

For some reason the full link to the BBC Radio 4 play did not publish, despite it all being in my comments box when I posted.
The part which is missing is as follows:


Kev said...

Sid, this is how the chocolate maths thing works.
I'll use myself in the example. I've had my birthday and I was born in 1956.
Assume the number of times you eat chocolate is X (I know this is awfully like school algebra lessons but please bear with me)
Each of the following lines gives the result after following the instructions so starting with
2X + 5
100X + 250
100X + 2009 (n.b. this year so subtracting my year of birth will give my age)
100X + 53
Since X is between 2 and 9, 100X puts X into the hundreds column of a three digit number, whose last two digits are my age)
This would not have worked if I was 100 years old plus.!
Hope this helps
Take care

Vivienne said...

Hi Kev,

Wow, I almost understand, but algebra was never my strong point at school - despite extra coaching! I managed to scrape through my 'O' Level maths at the third attempt! Thanks for providing us with such a clear formula for your puzzle.

Hildie said...

This morning I rang The Prisoner of War Camp .... to see if they are ready for us .... it is with much dismay that I have to tell you that the number I dialled wasn't recognised ... I believe Vivienne was right in saying that it has closed ... and Ian and I were wrong... we understood it had just opened! So, that's one venue for an AGM off the list! Anybody fancy Durham one of the times instead? Not the prison.

Hi Kev ... how are you doing?

Vivienne said...

Hi Hildie,

I've beenn so busy at Gibside over the weekend I forgot to tell you that I drove up to Weardale on Friday (in search of the farm where my great, great granfather lived) and went by Harperly Hall en route. I was successful in finding White House Farm at Eastgate, but sadly there was a big sign on the entrance gate to the Harperly POW camp, saying 'Private Keep Out.'

The other news about Harperly POW Camp is that it was featured on BBC2 on a 'Restoration' update, the day after our AGM! The owners were unsuccessful following their appeal on the Restoration programme, and are still trying to gain funding to restore the camp, Each building requires work costing about £65,000. The camp is quickly falling into a worse state. It didn't tell us on the update whether the camp was open to the public, but it seemed in such a dangerous state it would be a health & safety risk.

I then went online and found the Harperly POW Camp website, which is still up ad running.

It's a shame Ian's not on air now, as this is another 'lost cause' we could have promoted! I can't believe I forgot to tell you, and you wasted time making the phone call, sorry Hildie!!! The Restoration programme will still be available on the BBC iplayer until midnight on Wednesday. I meant to tell you that last week too!

I love Durham, Hildie. That's a great idea for an AGM. Perhaps we could take a trip on the boat?

Vivienne said...

ps. My lambs were in the field on the other side of the road from White House Farm. You can't see the white house from the road, as the back of the house is covered in modern stonework, and the front faces the Weardale Railway line and fields with caravans. In my attempt to get a closer look I managed to set a neighbour's pack of dogs barking, so retreated hastily. I took a photo of the house before departing.

Ian, you were talking at the AGM about your feelings when revisiting places where you once lived. I felt a connection to White House Farm too.

Sid said...

Thanks Kev, it's easy...once you explained it so well!.

Ian Robinson said...

Sid may have understood the Chocolate Maths explanation but yours truly was left utterly bemused. No change there then...
Yes, Vivienne, as it happened I saw that Restoration update programme the day after our AGM and was really saddened to hear about the lack of progress at Harperley. Let's keep our collective truckshunter eyes on it and have an AGM on the river in Durham City instead...

Maureen said...

AGM, Durham is a lovely idea. Have you thought of the Botanic Gardens? I haven't been myself but the parking is free and it's right next to a park and ride. You don't have to pay to go into the shop and coffee shop either ... you said as little cost as possible Ian. How did I do?
PS. Sid suggested Saltwell Towers, a lovely idea, also free to get in!

Maureen said...

Sorry, forgot to tick box!

Christine said...

Hi Truckshunters, Thank you all for the wonderful compliments about Birkheads. We enjoyed you're company and you'll be welcome back anytime especially if you can arrange to duplicate the weather!

Vivienne said...

Hi Christine,

Welcome to the Truckshunters' blog. Yes, we had a wonderful time at Birkheads, but were sorry we were talking so much we didn't get the chance to explore you lovely gardens. We all intend returning to see them, and sample some more of your delicious cakes!

It's a good thing I ticked the box or I would have missed your comment.

Thanks again,

Love Vivienne xxx