Today I am two thirds of the way to a century, rounded up – in other words, in my prime once again. I certainly need a feeling of primality!
Something that happened a week or so ago brought home to me how far out of it I was over the new year, mainly I think as a result of the terrible job of clearing out my office. For the last several years I have produced a calendar with nice photos. This year’s calendar features pictures of the Fife Coastal Path. I sent a copy to my sister in Toowoomba to show her something of my new surroundings. Hearing nothing back, I asked her whether it had arrived. She replied, somewhat coldly I thought, that I had sent last year’s calendar, and that she had already told me this (in an email which seemingly was lost in the new Microsoft email system at Queen Mary). Oops. Fortunately, PhotoBox could produce another and email it to her, not too expensively; so perhaps she will forgive me.
I fear I must ask forgiveness of others to whom I inadvertently did just as stupid things. Now I am back in St Andrews, and things should be better, I hope. A new Linux box under my desk is named Erdős, and has a nice big screen. Teaching starts next week, and I will be lecturing on Advanced Combinatorics to a nice small group of students.
(Incidentally, why is the University of St Andrews making the same mistake as Queen Mary by centralising email? At least they are not (yet) centralising IT support!)
Anyway, my birthday brought some nice surprises. Cards from my children. Neill’s card said, in huge letters, “Happy Birthday, Poo Face!” Inside, he explained that Logan had chosen the card; his picture of the scene in the card shop made me fall off the sofa laughing. That is what happens when you teach children to read!
João Araújo emailed to say that we had had a paper accepted by the Journal of Combinatorial Theory series B. It’s here, if you are interested. The paper with Joshua Browning and Ian Wanless, which I mentioned here, is now is in production (in series A of the same journal), as is my big paper with João in Trans. Amer. Math. Soc.
And maybe best of all, it was a lovely clear afternoon and evening. Walking home along the dark path beside the Kinness Burn (swollen with recent rain), I was treated to a fine spectacle of stars blazing out in a way that you never see in London!