A woodland walk

This morning started out cloudy and cool, but quickly turned into a scorcher. Walking around the back of the prison walls I sometimes hear the prisoners out exercising, but not today. What they would give to be in my walking boots! This must be the third time I’ve done this 11-mile, circular walk, and on a hot day like today the mainly woodland walk provided welcome shelter from the sun.

I’m never happy with pictures taken in the trees, but these three are ok.


mm/dd/yyyy

I have been known to put in a false date of birth when creating a website account. Sometimes there’s no good reason why a particular organisation should have this piece of key information.

So when my DOB was rejected when trying to log into an old, redundant Apple account (so I could remove it), I wasn’t too surprised.

But after several abortive attempts at alternative solutions to the problem I discovered that my DOB was acceptable if I entered the day as the month and the month as the day. ie My DOB had been recorded as the 4th November rather than the 11th April.

I guess it’s an American v British date thingy.

When a blog suddenly stops

I came across a blog I used to follow only to find that the last post was back in October last year. It was just a typical post, nothing to indicate it would be the last post, so why the sudden ending? I’ve come across other blogs which just end. If I was going to stop posting I’m sure I would do a sign-off post.

In some cases, I guess, something sudden has happened to bring about the abrupt ending. With this in mind I’ve decided to write a last post that will automatically appear at some time in the future. So I’ll set the date to be published as 1 month in the future and every now and again I’ll remember to push that date back so as it’s still in 1 month’s time. All I have to do now is decide what to put in my last post.

When I was younger I read…

In my twenties I read a fair bit of Hermann Hesse. All the main ones, The Glass Bead Game, Steppenwolf, Narcissus and Goldmund and several others. I think I re-read most of them in my thirties and, like the first time, I really only understood them as a story rather than anything deeper.

I read a few of E M Forster and George Orwell. I loved Orwell’s Keep The Aspidistra Flying – the cover evokes so many memories. There was a phase of Kingsley Amis – Take a Girl Like You, Lucky Jim, One Fat Englishman.

I had a long phase of reading American crime novels – the Travis McGee books of John D MacDonald and the Lew Archer books of Ross Macdonald. The Travis McGee series all had a colour in the title and had some great covers. I regret letting them go.

Then came a series of psychological thrillers by Ruth Rendell. I vaguely recall them as being about rather inadequate / disturbed people (mainly men?), but they were good.

I would read computer books and manuals – it was the industry I was in after all. In between there was sociological stuff – Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man; J K Galbraith ‘s The Affluent Society, and some politics stuff. Novels by John Fowles – The Magus and Luke Rhinehart’s The Dice Man, were mixed up in there somewhere. There’s lots more that may eventually spring to mind.

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander

Subtitled ‘Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colourblindness’, this wonderful book describes the truly shocking level of imprisonment in the USA, brought about by the ‘war on drugs’, and of how African-Americans have been most affected. It’s an eye-opening analysis and shatters any illusions that America has a healthy political or judicial system. Is it any wonder that someone like Trump can get elected! I’ve had my eyes opened. It’s a stunning read and highly recommended.

A full review can be found in this Guardian article.

This short article “19 Actual Statistics About America’s Prison System” by Laura Dimon succinctly shows how shocking it is.

Well that was interesting

So I get to Dorking station to find there’s a points failure and no trains in or out for an unknown period. A phone app tells me there’s a bus to Leatherhead which gets me part of the way home. On the bus a couple of lads with bright-coloured hair look worse for wear as I ease past the one with the sleepy head half across the corridor. Five minutes into the journey the lad falls out of his seat managing to fall flat on his back and looking dead to the world, whilst the other lad appears to be asleep across the seat. The bus driver pulls into the next bus stop and tries to wake the two lads, one who is still out of it on the floor. He has clearly met these two before and manages to get some alertness out of them and eventually to get them off the bus – coincidentally this is their stop. The driver repeatedly warns them to be careful crossing the dual carriageway, but they are so out of it they appear unaware of the warning. The bus drove off, leaving the two lads to their fate.