The Anonymous Widower

How I Met My Wife

My wife and I were together for forty years before she died in 2007.  I say together, as we were effectively living together for a year before we married in 1968.

How we met was unusual, but before I say how, it is worth adding a little bit of interesting history to this note.  At the time, along with many of the other students at Liverpool University, I filled in the forms from Operation Match, which was one of the first computer dating agencies.

Two Harvard students — Jeff Tarr and Vaughan Morrill — came up with the idea for Operation Match, a computer dating service, in the mid-1960’s. But they had some help from a Cornell dropout named Douglas Ginsburg.

Did it work?  No!  I got some names, but I don’t think I ever even met any of them.

In my second year at the University, I shared one of the world’s worst flats with three other students in Princes Avenue in Liverpool 8.  Upstairs lived Mike Davidson, who was the Entertainments Secretary of the Students Union.  He was trying to get more students to go to Guild Ball and had the idea of running his own Operation Match.

When I heard of this, I asked if I could have first pick!

And that is how I met my wife.

Interestingly, Douglas Ginsburg seems to have dropped in and is now a senior judge in the United States.

July 7, 2009 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

Tower Block Safety

Years ago, we lived in one of the tower blocks in the Barbican.  At the time, they were some of the highest residential blocks in Europe and you can still see Cromwell, Lauderdale and Shakespeare Towers looming behind the City of London like three cricket stumps.

I am always nervous of fire, and we wouldn’t have moved in with our young family, if we weren’t satisfied that the blocks were safe. 

  1. All of the balconies on the blocks connected up, so in an emergency, you could go all the way round the block to get away from the fire.
  2. Each balcony had two escape staircases, that connected to the lobbies below your floor.
  3. There was of course a protected stairwell to get down in an emergency.

It am not aware that there has not been a serious fire in any of these blocks, so other precautions must have worked as well.

So it would appear that well-designed tower blocks can work.  And talking to my children now, they all enjoyed the time spent living above the city.


We have just had the tragedy in Camberwell.  Was that block built to the same standards as the Barbican?

July 7, 2009 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Tuna with Beans and Tomatoes

This is a pretty quick and very good recipe that came from the BBC web site.  I’ve done it a few times and always do it with line caught tuna from somewhere like the Maldives, as this is sustainable.

You’ll need these ingredients.  Quantities are for four people.

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 12 tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 350g baby green beans, trimmed
  • 4 tuna steaks
  • 10 basil leaves, roughly torn

This is the method to use.

  1. Preheat the oven to 390F/Gas 6. I use the bottom of the top oven on the AGA.
  2. Lightly mix the oil, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl then place ingredients in a large oven-proof dish.
  3. Roast uncovered in a hot oven for about 35 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft.
  4. Steam the beans until tender.
  5. Grill the tuna steaks until brown on both sides or just cooked through.
  6. Stir the basil into the tomato mixture and then serve the tuna with the tomatoes and beans.

It’s very easy to do and is totally gluten-free.

It seems to follow the pattern of being meat or fish with a sweet sauce.

July 7, 2009 Posted by | Food | , , | 4 Comments

Remembering Michael Jackson

This is an e-mail of which I have received several copies.

Dear friend,

We will allways remember and love Michael, hoping he hears our prayers.

Your my everything in my world, your the only thing ever that matters to me in my world, your the most important thing ever. I love you, you were never god but you tryed to be god like in your heart, you also helped beyond thousands and thousands of children, and we thank that, I am trying to carry on your love for helping children. And I hope one day I can be as loving as you to children and helping them, than anyone could ever no.

For remembering Michael, here are some se cret songs and pictures about him.

God bless you all!


Note the spelling mistakes and also the fact that mine came with this attached from those mice people at McAffe.

****************** McAfee VirusScan************************
******* Alert generated at: 07 July 2009 07:26:32 *********

McAfee VirusScan has detected a potential threat in this e-mail
sent by

The following actions were attempted on each suspect part:

The attachment “Michael songs and” is infected with one or more viruses: W32/Xirtem@MM.
This attachment has been quarantined.

We strongly recommend that you report this suspect activity.

So the spammers are using the death of a rather tragic figure to send out their evil wares.

July 7, 2009 Posted by | Computing | , | Leave a comment

Drivers in the Rain

I came down the M6 in heavy rain from Manchester. 

It wouldn’t have been my preferred route, but on leaving the Trafford Centre, I lost the signs sending me eastwards on the M60 and hence over Snake Pass, which is an ideal road for a Lotus Elan.  It used to be on my route to Liverpool University from where I lived with my parents in Felixstowe.  Today that seems strange, but remember in 1965, there was no M6 from the M1 to Stafford and no M62, so you had to go round the major traffic jam that was the Midlands.

Yesterday, the traffic was heavy on the M6 and I drove most of the way sensibly in the middle lane on the legal limit for most of the way. 

What got me was the number of 4x4s that were driving at perhaps ninety in the outside lane. The Lotus was handling the conditions well, but a 4×4 handles several times worse and I would not have felt safe at that sort of speed in such a vehicle.  Perhaps they feel safe with all metal around them.

But no wonder why there are so many accidents.  In fact, it was more by luck than judgement that I didn’t meet any, as several motorways were closed. 

But you need some luck sometimes and I got home safely just before seven.

July 7, 2009 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Golf Clubs

I bought my son, who works in Manchester, a golf club for his birthday.  Some I noticed cost about £500 and I couldn’t see any difference between those and the ones at a hundred pounds or so.

But what do I know about golf?

At least with real tennis everybody uses the same basic rackets.

July 7, 2009 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment