This About Me web page grew out of a cryptic list of interests squashed into my signature file when I first got e-mail access back in 1991. Now its main function seems to be as a memory trigger when old friends and colleagues land on this site. The list is still here, though it's really a bit out of date, and I've added some more recognition points.
I've now retired from FFEI, in Hemel Hempstead, and before them I worked for Fujifilm and Crosfield Electronics, doing much the same thing on the same site. From 1981 to 1984 I worked in Milton Keynes at a small electronics design company, Jeaborough, started by a friend from University. From 1975 to 1981, I was at Decca Radar in Hersham, doing electronics for various defence systems. I got a degree in Physics from the University of Bristol in 1975, and was at Kingston Grammar School, Bell Farm in Hersham and Milverton infants in Leamington Spa. I married Caff in 1986 and we live in Milton Keynes. I've been involved with Walton Cricket Club and Walton-on-Thames Rotaract Club in past days, and CAMRA, canal restoration and British Naturism more recently. I was living in Walton-on-Thames from 1961 until 1981, except for the three years at Bristol where I was at Churchill Hall and in digs in Redland. CV Genealogy
So if you think you know me, or even if you don't, e-mail or ring. Contact details are here.
|A long time ago
(They say it's me)
|School||University||About two decades ago|
|Caff and Nigel|
Yep! Should be a law against stones and hundredweights. Come to think of it, there is a law against them, it's inches, pounds and pints that have got to go. With any luck, 1997 should see imperial units restricted to draught beer, fresh milk and road speeds and distances.
Calculating almost anything in a consistent set of units is so much easier, and SI is the only self-consistent set. History? Tradition? Convenience? Bah!
Reading about them mostly. Last time I travelled extensively by train was in Tokyo. The Japanese know how to use trains. Though, within the same city there were three different gauges: narrow for very local trains, medium for most normal trains (1067mm), and widest (1435mm) for the Shinkansen trains. I've at last tried Eurostar, and was impressed.
Or nudism. A long-standing belief that we are far too prudish about bodies and bodily functions and far too tolerant of violence.
I'll buy any gadget. (Yes, I have four GPS receivers!) From uk.misc, Ian Batten: It's a gadget. This is justification enough. In the vein of "I am eclectic, you are eccentric, he is barking mad," I present: "I buy essentials, you buy gadgets, he wastes his money." The latest toy is a Fujifilm digital camera.
Not much good at cryptanalysis though. I did manage to find the bug in the Enigma machine simulator published in one of the standard textbooks on cryptography. The code's author admitted that he had changed it before publication and forgot to re-test it!
A long-haired cream-and-tabby "female" called Becky (b 1996, but joined us in 2003 when her owner died in a road accident), a fluffy black "tom" called Sooty (b 2004) and a black-and-white "female" called Sweep (b 2008). We used to have a black-and-white female called Chequers (1987 to 2004) and a cuddly long-haired ginger tom called Klondike (1991 to 2007).
Bought a pair of "females" once. Soon had dozens. It's almost impossible to control them; if you separate the sexes as soon as they're weaned, most of the females are already pregnant. Also it's easy to make mistakes sexing them at that age. The cats liked them, though.
On boats, or walking. Over the last twenty years or so we've explored most of major canals in England and Wales, the Union and the Caledonian in Scotland and a sample of the French and Belgian waterways. We still have a lot of rivers to explore, though we have made a start with the Nene and the Trent. See my note on the theory of locks and my list of trips.
Morris Minor (woodworm), Spitfire Mk II (fun), Minivan (disintegrating), Minivan (new), MG Metro (good), MG Maestro (crap), BX diesel (frugal), AXGT (lethal), Panda (cheap), Rover 214 (boring), Cinquecento (small), Punto (yellow), MX-5 (vroom), Smart (cute), Seicento (functional), Panda (colourful), Panda (again), Fiesta (conventional), Zoe (electric).
David Bowie that is, not the knife. I've even been to a concert (Bristol, Colston Hall, 1973). Went off after "Young Americans".
At least one of each general pocketable class, 1975..1997, plus a few mechanicals. Yes I know most people find them extremely boring, so I've put the list somewhere else. Also there's a note about calculators in general and a working model of the old Sinclair Cambridge Programmable.
Last time the clocks changed, I had to adjust about 50 in our house. Backwards clocks, "vague" clocks (analogue and digital), balls on ramps clock, chiming clocks, speaking clocks, MSF clocks (ok, you don't have to adjust those), moon-phase clock, timers, ... Oh, and DCF (German radio time standard) and GPS.
Especially the bigger, hairier sort. Although the biggest and hairiest may be best appreciated through glass.
That's "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again", BBC radio comedy of the Sixties with Tim Brook-Taylor, Graeme Garden, John Cleese, David Hatch, Jo Kendall. Oh, and Bill Oddie. Who remembers "Professor Prune and the Electric Time Trousers"? Or Spot? Hear it all again now on the excellent BBC7 digital radio channel.
Never played. But I did run the bar for the local club for a few years, and scored for many years before that (for 2s 9d a time).
Especially real ale. But I'll drink anything except cold, weak lager. Or Bud. See CAMRA
You can study a map for hours, and still find new things. My simple canal-system map-based game.
The sort that crawl. Fascinating little beasties.
I now have a circular one (thanks Malcolm!). I'm always looking for interesting specimens.
Other slide-rule sites:
The hp calculator museum has a slide-rule section.
Best so far: Harecastle, very narrow, dark, damp, and the roof sags in the middle. Longest Netherton at 2768m, but that's high and wide, and you can even see one end from the other!
Railway tunnels may be longer, but nothing like so interesting as a canal tunnel. The Channel Tunnel is an impressive engineering feat, but boring to travel through, by car shuttle or Eurostar. My Eurotunnel shares represent about 3mm of it at the moment; I expect they'll be worthless before long.
My degree subject (Bristol 1975). A lot's happened since then.
Flute and Harp Concerto, yes. Horn Concertos, yes. Symphonies, yes. Opera, no.