The Anonymous Widower

This Is My Second Lockdown

I can’t be the only person, but in the 1970s, I has locked myself away for nearly a year before. I did it to write the first version of the Project Management software; Artemis.

There are some differences between my situation then and my situation now.

  • My wife was alive then and we saw each other for perhaps two days a week.
  • I could drive and I occasionally went down the Clopton Crown for the odd pint and meal!
  • I hadn’t been diagnosed as a coeliac, as that happened in 1997.
  • There was no Internet or social media.
  • There was no Radio 5 Live.
  • I am a better cook now, than I was then.
  • I am within walking distance of a Marks and Spencer Simply Food store.

I think the rules for surviving are as follows.

  • Eat and drink enough.
  • Have entertaining radio or television on.
  • Break the day up with a bit of exercise.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Arrange good weather.

Let’s hope this lockdown turns out as well as the last.

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Health, Computing, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Don’t Use Virgin Media!

Look at this picture!

Enough said!

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Computing | , | 2 Comments

Enter The Polymath!

This article in today’s Times is entitled Pandemic Can Be Controlled, Says Scientist Michael Levitt.

Michael Levitt is no ordinary scientist.

  • Born in South Africa
  • Educated at Kings College and Cambridge
  • Professor at Stanford
  • A Nobel Laureate

He is also married to an expert in Chinese art, so visits China regularly.

This is the introductory paragraph to the Times article.

The world will beat coronavirus faster than most experts expect, provided that social distancing is observed, a Nobel laureate scientist who correctly forecast the pandemic’s trajectory in China has predicted.

This is the last section of the article, which has a headline of Levitt’s China Forecast.

  • February 21 Professor forecasts 80,000 cases and 3,250 deaths
  • March 23 Official figures from China say there have been 81,093 cases and 3,270 deaths. There have been 39 additional cases today and nine additional deaths

Whatever you do today, read the article.

It does look that his advice has been read by Boris! Or Boris’s advisors have come to the same conclusion.



March 24, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Health | | Leave a comment

Carry On Blogging

At seventy-two and after recovering from a serious stroke ten years ago, I could be considered to be in a relatively high-risk category from COVID-19.

I also live alone and am a coeliac.


  • I have reasonable supplies of ready-meals, tea, milk, beer and packaged foods to last for a week.
  • I test my INR and on Friday it was 2.5.
  • I weigh about 61 Kg.
  • I exercise regularly and can easily walk a couple of miles briskly.
  • I have plenty of INR testing strips, with probably enough to last until August.
  • I have about two months of drugs, but there is supposed to be a system lunched this week to get drugs to people like me.
  • I have an on-line subscription to The Times, so I can read their news in detail and get access to all their puzzles.
  • I can walk round the corner to a shop, where I can get milk and other daily supplies.
  • I can easily walk to my GP’s surgery and the local Marks and Spencer Simply Food.
  • I have a son, who can put shopping on the door-step, ring the bell and run!
  • I have enough cash to pay for goods that neighbours or others might deliver.

I also have the great advantage, that my front door almost opens onto the street, so I can receive deliveries without meeting the courier, by just leaning out the window and telling them to put them on the step.

I very much feel, that I can set myself up to just carry on blogging.

Others can help here by doing the following.

  • Suggest topics, where they would like my comments.
  • Sending me stories, that I might like to read on topics like battery-power, branch line reopening, design, energy storage, hydrogen-power, innovation, extreme science, humour and life in general.
  • Sending me positive stories about COVID-19.

It’s probably best, if you don’t send me stories from the BBC and The Times as I read them extensively.

I shall always reply, if I can. Hopefully, I will try and treat subjects in a light-hearted manner to ease the burden of these serious times.

We must all carry on!



March 22, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Health, World | , , , | 7 Comments

Could I Survive Four Months Self-Isolation?

As I am over seventy, it is quite likely that if newspaper reports like this one in The Times, which is entitled Coronavirus: Millions Of Over-70s Will Be Told To Stay At Home For Four Months, prove to be true, I shall be spending at least four months, alone with my television, my books and the Internet.

These are a few thoughts.

How Does My House Get Cleaned?

When I moved into this house, I decided that I didn’t want to have anything to do with cleaning the house, so I hired a contract cleaning company, who come every Monday.

I also reduced my cleaning utensils to those that I would to clean up a spill.

  • A dustpan and brush
  • Kitchen roll
  • Washing-up liquid.
  • A portable Dyson vacuum cleaner.
  • A few sponges.

At least I don’t spill much.

How Do I Get My Clothes Washed?

My clothes washing arrangements may seem strange to some.

  • The cleaning company also looks after my bed-linen and changes it on Mondays.
  • Most of my clothes like underwear, shirts and jumpers are washed by a lady, who collects them from my door and brings them back a few days later.
  • I take trousers, jackets and suits to the dry cleaners.

Since my washing machine packed up about three months ago, I haven’t replaced it and I use a pair of new socks every three or four days. It’s cheaper than buying a new machine.

I can see problems arising, as my lady, who does the washing, is not in the first flush of youth or good health and may be told to self-isolate.

But I can afford to get more clothes delivered.

How Am I Placed For Home Deliveries?

Despite my front door virtually opening onto the street, I have problems with home deliveries.

  • Inevitably, they come when I’m out! But that won’t happen, if I’m confined to barracks!
  • But the major problem is that I share a post-code with the mews that runs down the back of my house and drivers relying on sat-navs inevitably end up in the mews. It happened last week and only because I’d given the company my home phone number, which the driver rang, did I get the parcel.

I should say, that most things that I need I collect from shops, because of the delivery problem, which inevitably means I have to collect it from a Post Office or depot a short or sometimes long distance away.

I Like A Daily Paper

I buy The Times most days and I also have an on-line subscription.

Being brought up in a print works, I like the feel of papers and as I do most of the puzzles in The Times every day, I don’t have to print them out. Not that I can print them out at the moment, as no-one can work out how to drive my printer from this terrible Microsoft Surface Pro Studio computer.

If anybody knows how to drive a HP LaserJet P1102w from one of these awful computers please get in touch. And if you are anywhere near London N1, there will be a beer waiting if the fridge or a boiling kettle, if you turn up.

I buy the paper from the shop round the corner, but I can’t find anybody to deliver one!

It sounds like there’s a business there to deliver papers to those, who the government insist are isolated in their own homes.

What About My Food?

At the present time, I shop most days and generally keep the following in the fridge.

  • Two bottles of milk; one in use and one full.
  • Some fish pate or M & S salmon parcels.
  • Several small pots of M & S Luxury Honey & Ginger yoghurt.
  • Three pots of cut fruit from M & S, which I usually eat at a rate of one a day. Sometimes with the yoghurt.
  • Benecol spread instead of butter.
  • Two or three ready meals.
  • Two packs of M & S gluten-free pasta, which has a two months life. I cook it with peas in a yoghurt sauce, with each pack giving two meals.
  • Three bottles of Adnams 0.5% beer from M & S. I’ve also got plenty of this in store.
  • Some eggs and cheese.

In various store cupboards, storage jars and bowls I also have the following.

  • Several bananas.
  • Lots of dried apricots
  • M & S gluten-free bread.
  • M & S gluten-free ginger snaps.
  • Plenty of tea bags.
  • Tins of sardines
  • Tins of baked beans,
  • M & S gluten-free granola, which I eat with yoghurt and apricots
  • M & S gluten-free porridge pots, which I eat with honey or strawberry jam.

I should say, that most days, I eat breakfast out either in Carluccio’s or Leon.

You will notice that I shop extensively in Marks and Spencer. But I have one only about five hundred metres away in Dalston and in Central London, you pass one of their food stores very regularly.

I can also go to their two larger stores at Finsbury Pavement or The Angel, if I am able to risk the bus.

  • It should be noted that I have strong connections to M & S at The Angel.
  • My paternal grandmother used to shop there before the First World War.
  • C and myself used to shop there in the early 1970s, when we lived in the Barbican.

There is also a Boots next door, where I get my prescription drugs, which was also used by my grandmother over a hundred years ago.

How Will I Get To The Doctors?

It’s walkable!


I think, that I’ll survive.


March 16, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Food, World | , , , , | 1 Comment

I Apologise For The Quality Of My Latest Posts

Since swapping to a Microsoft Surface Studio Pro 2 and Windows 10, the quality of my posts has got worse.

This is because they seem to be incompatible with WordPress.

It annoys me terribly, as I was brought up in a letterpress print works, where nothing less than perfect pages were tolerated.

I suspect I need to return to Windows 7!

I have improved them by reediting them in Windows 7 on my old laptop.

I certainly couldn’t recommend a Microsoft Surface Pro and Windows 10 to a blogger, who uses WordPress.


March 14, 2020 Posted by | Computing | , , , , | 3 Comments

My Past Is Worrying Me!

It must have been in the early 1970s, when I was acting as a mathematical-modelling consultant.

I was asked to do some modelling by a major drug company of the propagation of a virus through the UK population.

Their aim was to show how serious these pandemics could be and they wanted to get substantial grants from the Government to fund various lines of research.

With their data and the model I built, we were able to show how a dangerous pandemic could evolve.

But I never found out how successful they were in obtaining the money needed to start the research!

It does look like this pandemic could be the one that researchers at the company were predicting nearly fifty years ago.

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , | 2 Comments

Is A Microsoft Surface Pro, Windows 10 and OneDrive A Toxic Combination For This WordPress User?

I have now got a brand-new Microsoft Surface Pro and quite frankly except for the large screen, it is a load of old crap!

I run Office 365 and store my files on OneDrive and I have done for nearly a year, but the combination seems to lock me out of my Excel files on the OneDrive all the time.

  • I can’t seem to Autosave like I used to, as it says that I am blocked.
  • It also keeps showing me non-responsive login buttons to OneDrive.
  • It tells me I am required to sign in to save the file, but won’t let me sign in.

Knickers and twist come to mind!

And then there’s WordPress.

I am trying to change a picture, which I want to upload into a post.

I get the Select File page, but it is totally unresponsive.

Luckily, I could change the picture using a Windows 7 laptop.

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Computing | , , | 3 Comments

I Need Help To Get This Surface Pro Computer Working

I was always a software man and this computer is showing that up.

Any offers of help, paif for or free in the London N1 area gratefully accepted.

March 10, 2020 Posted by | Computing | , | 5 Comments

AI ‘Outperforms’ Doctors Diagnosing Breast Cancer

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Artificial intelligence is more accurate than doctors in diagnosing breast cancer from mammograms, a study in the journal Nature suggests.

An international team, including researchers from Google Health and Imperial College London, designed and trained a computer model on X-ray images from nearly 29,000 women.

I have rarely worked with healthcare data, so I can’t comment on the accuracy of this trial.

However, over fifty years ago, I was able to make a lot of progress in the analysis of mass spectrometry data, by observing operators and asking how they identified various chemicals in the scan from the mass spectrometer.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find some detailed observation of the working methods of radiologists, formed the foundation data for this research.

The research seems to have done it well, judging by the published results.

Should we trust ourselves to methods like this in healthcare?

Undoubtedly! Yes!

Many systems like this are starting to be used in the maintenance of complex entities, as diverse as trains, planes, chemical works and advanced automated distribution depots.

But every fault, is always tested by a trained person.

This is a paragraph from the BBC article.

Prof Ara Darzi, report co-author and director of the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Imperial Centre, told the BBC: “This went far beyond my expectations. It will have a significant impact on improving the quality of reporting, and also free up radiologists to do even more important things.”

I very much feel we will see very much more of this automated testing of the human body! And not just for cancer!

I already know of groups working on automatic diagnosis of arthritis!


January 2, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , | 1 Comment