Letters to the editor
Your comments on the May issue
Having travelled a lot around the south of the country in the last week, I am disturbed to see a new phenomenon in garage retailing. Several of the larger BP stations now have an off-licence to go with their minimarkets, organised by the Victoria Wine Company.
At one time it was illegal to sell alcohol from petrol stations, for obvious reasons. When that law was relaxed I do not know but surely it is the most dangerous temptation to sell liquor to customers who, the majority of the time, are motorists. In case anybody thinks I am being a killjoy, I most certainly am not - I bought a couple of bottles of wine!
I would be grateful for other people's views on this subject, which surely does not make sense.
I have just been taking my friends dog for a walk; it helps me come to terms with my condition. I find it very therapeutic when I'm out with the dog so it's many thanks to my friend who is unable to take the dog himself. I would like to put a personal thank you to my friend for helping me. If there is ever anything I can do to help him in return I will be glad to do so.
John (full name and address supplied)
I did enjoy your column this month (May) - particularly your mention of the Fieldfare and Redpolls. I've not seen either, but I shall be setting off now with my bird book (the pages are already marked) in the hope of seeing them.
Please, however, spare a thought for Jean and Sam and allow them their Sunday "lie-in"! Jean thought there was a dreadful conspiracy going on!
Reading your editorial reminded me how lucky we are to have the variety of bird life in our gardens in this area. We too have had redpolls that flocked with goldcrests, probably the most exquisite little birds that there are.
We have friends in Hampshire who keep a running total of the numbers and species of birds in their garden. This got me doing the same and at present I have a list of 42 different birds against their 39. Mind you, this does include the Durrance's chickens and geese but excludes the cuckoo, as I can't honestly say that there has been one in my garden. However, I have included the grasshopper warblers who nest in my bamboo even though I haven't seen them either but we do hear them all the time in mid-summer.
This really is getting out of hand and becoming ridiculous I know, but matters cannot be left they are.
My initial letter in the February issue was a little rhyme intended as a bit of good humoured badinage pointing out that a crossword clue/answer was wrong, but rather than accept it as intended Crateagus has made a fuss and appears to have taken umbrage, continuing to maintain that he was right.
He is now getting rather personal and considers it obvious that I know a reasonable amount about very little". How does he know that? And he is being sarcastic by inviting a thesis on quantum mechanics or biopsychology to occupy his insomnia. He goes on to accuse me of being verbose in my attempt to rectify his misunderstanding. I plead guilty to that, but in mitigation I would point out that it is sometimes necessary to explain at length when dealing with somebody who is slow on the uptake.
It was not, as Crateagus suggests, that his clue/answer was not correct to the nth degree, It was 100% wrong, an accelerometer does NOT measure the increase in speed. To say that it does is analogous to claiming that a speedometer measures the distance traveled rather than the rate at which it is traveled.
I have consulted Chambers Dictionary, which he continues to cite in order to justify his position, but it does not say that an accelerometer measures the increase in speed as he was claiming. In fact I have no disagreement with Chambers definition of accelerometer, (I note now that he says that his clue/answer was a verisimilitude" of Chambers. If he consults his Chambers again I think: he will rind 'that verisimilitude means something that seems to be true but is not necessarily so, such as a doubtful statement, Perhaps that is what he meant, although I can't see how you can have an "exact verisimilitude.")
The entry alongside 'Accelerometer' in Chambers is 'instrument for measuring acceleration'. Their entry alongside 'Acceleration' shows four alternative meanings; "increase in speed; rate of change of velocity; a cumulative advance ahead of the normal or theoretical; the power or means of accelerating".
Crateagus made the mistake of assuming that the 'acceleration' in the definition of 'accelerometer' was the first meaning whereas it is, of course, the second i.e. An accelerometer is an instrument for measuring the rate of change of velocity.
I hope he will now put an end to this correspondence and just admit his mistake.