Lately, I’ve been thinking about my relationship with numbers. Reliable, predictable, unchanging and familiar, numbers have been my lifelong friends ever since my first primary school teacher sent me to work through my maths books alone in the quiet room so that the other children wouldn’t disturb me. Whatever may be crazy in this world, numbers always make sense and always will make sense. I could argue my opinions on alternative therapies or which actor made the best Doctor Who until the breath leaves my body and someone will always disagree with me, but seven multiplied by eight will always be fifty-six. Regardless of language, culture, religion or politics, it is a fact which cannot be disputed. There is no room for opinion or manipulation. An alien from the other side of the universe would still agree that 7 x 8 = 56. I find that beautiful.
I have begun to wonder whether the way I visualise numbers is unusual. I have a good memory for numbers and am able to remember not just telephone numbers and my own various ID numbers, account numbers and the like, but also a whole host of numbers used in my work to the extent that colleagues ask me rather than look the numbers up for themselves! Sometimes, when I need to recall a number, it doesn’t come straight away. I close my eyes and wait for a moment, but it isn’t necessarily that the numbers are missing. I can often see the numbers, just without any kind of sequence. Closing my eyes for a moment allows the numbers to shuffle and sort themselves into their correct positions so that I can just read the whole number from the mental image. I would be interested to know how my brain actually stores the data for it to retrieve the numbers that way.
I would also be interested to know how commonplace my relationship with numbers is, but it’s somewhat difficult to explain. For a long time my mental arithmetic skills were like an old bicycle at the back of the garage: unused and rusty., but since I have regained those skills, I don’t even need to work out change any more. I just know the correct change because I can see it in my head like the last piece of a jigsaw: a visual piece with size and form that fits onto the value of the transaction to complete the whole sum that was offered.
I imagine that some people relate to words in a similar way, while others probably relate to subjects, systems or concepts that I can’t even guess. I wonder therefore what can be inferred about me from such an affiliation with the constants that form the building blocks of mathematics and the universe. It sounds kind of cool expressed like that. Well, cool in a geeky sense
It seems unbelievable that Archie has been with us a whole year now! That tiny, soft, fluffy chocolate-dipped marshmallow came home with us on 15th February 2012 and quickly endeared himself and became a much-loved part of the family. He also grew to several times his original size and learned how to be a loveable thug.
Archie when he first came to us, with Milo towering over him.
Archie can be a little swine to Milo sometimes, chasing him and trying to intimidate him, stealing his food and generally being thuggish, but those episodes are mercifully rare and most of the time they get along together beautifully!
Friends chilling out together.
Milo and Archie eat together and form piggy trains around the room together, usually with Milo leading but Archie takes turns too. Yesterday I even caught the two of them causing havoc under my bed together! Naughty piggies!
Archie has his own unique personality. He is a little slob and lounges in comfort at every opportunity. He doesn’t back off for me to put their food bowl down as Milo does, instead he stands waiting for his food, reaching up in eagerness when he sees the bowl coming. It doesn’t even bother him if he’s standing in the way of where I want to put it – he’d let me put the bowl down on his head before he’d move any distance from it!
Who ate the red pepper? Wasn’t me!
Archie also knows when I’m about to go to bed and comes running out from under the sofa at the very last moment shouting “Squeak squeak! Here I am, don’t shut me out! “. Now I know that when I go to close their pen gate for the night, I just pause for a moment to wait for Archie, and along he comes. He is very cute, as can be seen from the pictures I have added to the Archie photo gallery. I have added new pictures to Milo’s gallery too and updated the Piggies page to include both my boys.
So, one year on, Milo and I are both very glad that Archie came to live with us and we love him very much. Happy anniversary Archie xxx
Anyone who has visited this site before may already have noticed there have been some changes. It started last Sunday, a week ago. The background colour had been irritating me for some time so I finally had a play around to find a better one and decided on the darker colour I have now.
The next day, I decided to have a go at some styling with CSS. I already knew the very basic stuff, specifically that the cascading style sheet is used to define the look for the style classes which are then called in the code to assign the classes to their corresponding elements (or something like that). So, armed with that little gem of knowledge, I set out to create some rounded corners for my website. Isn’t the internet a wonderful resource? Five days later, I have my rounded corners plus some shadowing, some beautiful gradients and what I think are some very cool wraparound post titles! I love it!
The only thing is, my lovely new “Nova style” doesn’t show up on some older browsers or Internet Explorer, probably because I’ve used some CSS3 markup (and because IE should be banned). Rather than take all the fun out of my play by trying to make things work in a browser that nobody should be using anyway, I have added a plug-in that will detect if any visitors to the site are using IE and will show them a pop-up box to let them know they are missing out on my cool work with links to download a proper browser of their choice.
Now I can carry on playing and learning without worrying about IE compatibility issues. What, haven’t I finished yet? Is this not the final product?
Almost certainly not
The sea is the soundtrack to my existence. The gentle lapping, the powerful crashing, the murmurs, the roars and the sighs. I can always hear it, yet I rarely stop what I’m doing and actually listen to it. There’s something wonderfully relaxing about the sounds of the sea, reassuring.
I used to say the same thing about trains. For a while, in England, I lived beside a busy railway line. Every five minutes a train would pass through, breaking the silence of the leafy suburb, and remind me that time was passing. Or that I was still alive. It rather depended on the mood I was in and the time of day or night, but I loved to hear the trains.
Now, I am fortunate that I am constantly accompanied by the singing of the sea, yet because it is constant, I don’t listen for it. The sea doesn’t announce reminders of the passage of time. In fact, there’s something almost timeless about it, even transcendent of time, yet there is never silence. It’s a soundtrack that never began and will never end, and I must make time to listen to it more in future.
This week alone, two of the people I follow online have been upset by hurtful things that others have said to them and have turned to their websites to recount the experience, present their defence and express their hurt. A hurt that has troubled them long enough to formulate and submit a written response, whilst I have little doubt that those responsible for the upset have forgotten the incidents in question before our friends even started typing!
I will never understand what motivates people to say such unkind things, nor their ability to move on and continue their daily lives without any apparent remorse for the pain they caused, so there’s no point me even trying to analyse it. I just hope our friends find the strength to move on quickly themselves without giving their verbal attackers the satisfaction of long term effects.
I do find it interesting, however, that the internet is such a powerful comforter in times of distress. The great digital beast of our time, so often held responsible for everything rotten: organized crime networks and copyright theft, moral corruption, trolls and online bullying…. yet this beast is the first thing some people turn to for comfort and validation.
In the haven of our own websites we are in control. We can express ourselves freely, without interruption, and we have some control over our feedback. Our like-minded online friends provide a valuable, understanding support network and we can easily block any negative comments that could have the opposite effect. Sometimes even just seeing our own response published on the screen can help us to feel better.
Everyone needs a sanctuary. This is mine.
Having breakfasted by the sea surrounded by Christmas tinsel, accompanied by Christmas music playing on the radio and the wonderful winter wonderland of ChalkCat, I decided it was time to bring a Christmassy touch to Nova’s Haven as well. So now we have falling snow and a little Santa counting down the days!
It feels slightly colder today too and it’s making me a little nostalgic for that timeless weekend afternoon spent sitting in the student union bar, watching the snow falling outside as the daylight turned to darkness, snug and warm, cradling my pint of student beer while the same Christmas music played on the jukebox…..
It always seems strange welcoming in December in the sunshine, and this year is no different. We have some cloud cover at the moment casting grey shadows on a sea that’s sparkling silver wherever the sunshine slices through, but it’s a balmy twenty-one degrees with zero percent probability of a white Christmas anywhere other than on the peak of Teide.
Nonetheless, the very un-Dickensian climate does not melt our wishes for a magical Christmassy December! It’s only the first day of the month and already Christmas lights adorn the Canarian streets, bringing them to life after dark with a myriad of colours in seasonal formations.
I put my Christmas tree up last night with more than a little help from my wonderful friend. Now it feels that Christmas is really on its way. It may be lovely to dream of a white Christmas, but it’s lovelier to admire the twinkling icon of Christmas right here in my living room with sunshine reflecting off the silver baubles
In my last post ChalkCat Checks In, I promised that Nova’s Haven would soon be receiving some special attention of her own.
The first step is now complete as Nova’s Haven has now moved to a new server, faster, more reliable and without the continual go-slows and down-time that plagued us on the previous host.
This is the start of a fresh new era for my blog and time to find out just what Nova’s Haven is about and what she can do. Should be fun