The Last May Lessons…


I learnt today that I know a descendant of Victor Hugo.


Courgettes have male and female flowers.


The little african grebe is now extinct. It used to live in Madagascar but was killed off by fish and fishing nets.
Although there is a plan to change the law, at the moment there is a law in Germany that prevents intercity buses apart from a few routes.


Lucozade now comes in cherry flavour. A useless fact for me as I am not a great cherry fan.


Pacman was 30 years old this year, but I missed his birthday which is apparantly May 22nd. Also in 1999 someone completed all 256 levels eating every pellet, ghost and fruit, a perfect game (madness in my opinion).


Today I learnt what Kopi Luwak tastes like.


Chongqing has a population similar to Canada and Poland (and rising). I also only today found out that there is a Thai yellow curry (I knew about the green and the red versions. It turns out you can have the whole set of traffic lights all made with Thai curries).


If it wasnt for The Beatles, Ken Dodd’s “Tears” would be the top selling song of the 60s. (Only beaten by “She Loves You”, and “I Want to hold your Hand”).

More lessons April 5th – 11th

Monday –  Tony Hancock comitted suicide by overdose in Australia and his ashes were flown back in first class.

Tuesday – Learnt a method for cleaning frying pans with food stuck on them

Wednesday – According to Plato man and woman were seperated by angry gods, this is the reason that we are always searching for our other half… (btw according to Dawkins we ought to forget all this and just be proud that all our ancestors procreated).

Thursday – Unilever who own marmite have their registered office in Leatherhead, where I used to go swimming when I was younger. Also newspaper is good for cleaning windows, as is vinegar.

Friday – Outside Flook House in Toy Town the toilets are now closed. Apparantly people have taken to protesting about this by using the grounds just outside flook house.

Saturday – A hand = 4 inches

Sunday – Wetherspoon pubs will soon be open at 7 am in the morning, for breakfast – maybe soon for more than breakfast enabling the old drunks to start their day even earlier.

March 22nd – March 28th

Monday – Hitler may well have had an IQ of about 141 (he probably had two balls too and certainly didnt keep one of them in the Albert Hall)

Tuesday – Casio GDC (Graphic Display Calculators) can now give their answers in exact form just to wind up physics departments. Also the scientific calculators will now do prime factor decomposition which will make gcse maths even easier to pass and will therefore result in the collapse of civilisation as the Daily Mail and old people gang up to moan about the fact that the youth of today dont go through all the pain they did… they fought a damn war you know.

Wednesday – Depictions of the last supper in 52 paintings over the last 1000 years have shown an increase in the size of portions suggesting that we are eating more. Also today learnt the Wurzels are prepared to make political comment, on the day that cider got taxed more heavily by someone called Darling (a bit of a girls name), they said “We have to tighten the string on our trousers, but we must admit that having to cut down on this local favourite leaves us feeling that we are being unfairly penalised.”

Thursday –  Paintball paint is made from the same stuff found in cough syrup (presumably not the medical ingredients just the liquid stuff it’s dissolved in)

Friday – A 3:1 ratio of self rasing flour and a pinch of salt is enough to create soda bread

Saturday -Learnt the meaning of the bubble in poker (usually merrily win without bothering with too much of the jargon)

Sunday – South Park’s 200th episode will be first shown on April 14th  and probably two days later in the UK

15th March – 21st March

Monday – Excitingly along with the vitamin D I am getting from the sunshine I also get 167% of my daily vitamin C requirement from one bottle of orange juice in the college canteen. Another spring thing I learnt is that spring moves 3 times faster in the US than in the UK (1 mile per hour in a northerly direction in the US).

Tuesday – I think I must have forgotten this but there is a tan rule that can be used for triangles (not as useful as the cosine and sine rule though).

Wednesday – When dating churches, holding digits against the window can help you date them. One thumb Norman (1000-1175), Index Finger Early English 1175 – 1275, three fingers (not little) Decorated (1275-1375) and the whole hand Perpendicular 1375-1575. Incidently in this case dating churches is not referring to taking them out for a nice candlelit meal.

Thursday – Jeans are stronger if the double stitching is in the inside leg. Also the pocket bags should be sewn into the inner hem if they are good quality. I also learnt what a pattern block was, my fashion awareness is growing stronger daily…

Friday (41st Birthday!) – Bakers Dolphin coaches have been in business before the invention of the coach, 130 years.

Saturday – Cafe Nero milano hot chocolate is now served in glasses.

Sunday – The cricket superstition that a nelson (111) is bad luck is possibly because the number has the appearance of wickets with the bails removed.

March 8th – March 14th

Monday – A golden raspberry award costs £3 to make, congratulations to Sandra Bullock for getting hers (oh and the oscar I suppose too). The most expensive ticket for the Wigan v Liverpool game was £28. Also it is commonwealth week. I only realised today that Singapore is a member of the commonwealth.

Tuesday – We live in something known as the Goldilocks Zone, (or more boringly known as the habitable Zone). it is where a planet is neither too hot nor cold for life, but just right. Canada is the worlds second biggest nation.

Wednesday – There are 460 Bingo Halls in the UK

Thursday –  Anti-wrinkle cream is an outrageous con. It works by adding acid to the skin, irritating it and swelling it to get rid of the wrinkles. Apparantly you might as well be rubbing vinegar in.

Friday – Lewis Carroll invented the word chortle (from Jabberwocky)

Saturday – Learnt that my brother fell into a ditch on his way home from a night out last December and had great difficulty getting out. In fact was lucky to but it is funny now that we know he survived the experience.

Sunday – 2 ingredients that are not listed in Morrisons Dandelion and Burdock are dandelion and burdock (however it does contain carrot)

The first lessons of March

Monday – Cheating husbands are less intelligent than those that do not cheat. Ashley Cole, John Terry should take note you dirty dogs

Tuesday – Bambi was Austrian

Wednesday – Invertase is the enzyme used to make soft centres in sweets. Apparantly comes from yeast, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae as noone knows it by.

Thursday – A63 paper is hard to come by (as is A62). This is due in part to A63 paper being smaller than a single carbon atom

Friday – Edgar Dijkstra came up with the Bankers Algorithm

Saturday – In finger spelling the left hand is the vowels. Also Jurassic park was full of non Jurassic dinosaurs.

Sunday – Hush Puppy boxers should be washed at 30 C, the shortest gestation period of a mammal is 12-13 days (Virginian Opposum and Yapok). As if I had not learnt enough, I also found out that flour can be useful when making a cottage pie.

Last 7 Educational Moments of February (22nd to 28th)

Monday – Berol fibre tipped pens can survive for 14 days without their cap on, unlike some of my students.

Tuesday – Found out how to sort out a rogue US keyboard impersonator on a PC (one of those things I possibly should have known already)

Wednesday – The patron saint of mathematicains job shares his work with being the patron Saint of hunters, opticians, metalworkers and used to be involved in rabies curing. Saint Dismas the patron saint of criminals only seems to have the one job…

Thursday – I learnt an immature trick with a Casio scientific calculator (a sort of modern version of the 5318008 = boobies one).  (.)A(.) then move the cursor back to the A and you have your very own

Friday – When decomissioning a nuclear missile you deal with the warhead first

Saturday – Marmite have developed an extra strong version due out in early march

Sunday – Stick insects have become naturalised in Devon and Cornwall

Lessons for Valentines day week…

Apart from being a time to reflect on appalling treatment by ex-gfs and how they don’t deserve you etc etc (not really, I didn’t deserve them)  I have learnt the following excellent things this week…

Monday – Ser is Polish for cheese, one of the many things I learn during my monday maths teaching

Tuesday – I found a way of making a happy/sad queen banknote. Also one thing I learnt is that the idea “there is always one exception to a rule” is self defeating, as there must be  an exception to this rule rendering it useless (which it is anyway). Also the exception to everyone being unique has to be 2 or more people…

Wednesday – unfortunately forgot what was going to go in here first as I decided to do an anti-valentines day rant! Did learn however there is no v in the polish alphabet (although there is a strange letter lingering around l in their alphabet that seems to do the same job. Incidently also learnt experimentally what I knew academically that ranting is counter-productive)

Thursday – I found that a ten pin bowling shape USB device aimed at the frustrated single male sells for $300 but that an alternative can be made from a nintendo game glove, and some wet sponge

Friday – Dorset has no Motorways, something I sort of knew before but had never really thought about

Saturday –  You can actually get ginger hair dye. Apparantly the ginger one in sex and the city isnt a natural ginger. Also Kim whats it (the non shoe faced blond) is in Bath being theatrical at the moment

Sunday – You can get pyjamas with hoods


February, New Month, New Week more things to learn

Monday – I actually found out what macrame is. heard the name, knew it was some sort of craft thing that I would never do but wasn’t sure if it was done with card, tissue paper or paint. Turns out you need cord but I am probably the only one who didn’t know this. (I don’t know if it is possible to make macrame clothes actually…)

Tuesday – The fastest hatrick in the FA Cup was 3 minutes in 1968 by Billy Best of Southend. Also the 22nd and 24th President of the USA was the same man.

Wednesday – It is possible to make macrame clothing – and some people do not know that pigs have male and female

Thursday – If I got two promotions I would not have to make my own tea

Friday – Sainsbury’s in Taunton has a resident robin

Saturday – Holding a pencil between your teeth can make you happy

Sunday – there are 28 varieties of rabbitfish, and they are probably all uglier than rabbits

Life lessons 25th – 31st Jan

Monday – Mustard and cabbage are related, Mustard could have come from a tree for all I knew until today. Yet somehow I think I should have known mustard didnt come from trees. (I learnt what colour Teal was today too, but I have a hunch that I had come accross it before and had just forgotten so this would not have counted).

Tuesday – Bristol City’s biggest home defeat was 8-0 in 1926, but they made a brave attempt at beating that record against Cardiff today but fell 2 goals short

Wednesday – Scoville heat units (SHUs) measure chilli heat, hottest being about 1 million SHUs (Bhut Jolokia chilli)

Thursday – Maria Anne Smith was the person who the Granny Smith was named after – and the Bunty Annual of 1970 thought that every girl would love to know this

Friday – People in the nuclear power industry prefer to use the term “stored” rather than “dumped” when referring to waste that is put in a pond

Saturday – Found an interesting and elegant proof of Ptolemy’s theorem

Sunday – the Isle of Wight railway uses old London Underground trains, and has the oldest trains on any public transport railway in the UK.  Also learnt that West Ham United were the last team to come back from being 2-0 down against Manure., Would have been a bit funny if the Arse could have managed it today.