Martin's Blog

Croquet and crocodiles

Posted by Martin Orr on Sunday, 28 May 2006 at 19:52

Exams are coming closer now - mine are from Thursday to the following Tuesday. Last Sunday I went to Oxford to play croquet against the Oxford Maths society. Croquet is an intensely tactical game and we were thoroughly trounced - there were several Oxford people who seemed quite experienced - although I did manage to be the first person to get my ball through a hoop. Oxford is a strange place: it is far too big a city to put a university in, and they appear to have no equivalent to May Week, which is the period in mid-June when there are lots of post-exam parties.

According to the BBC, someone is to open a crocodile farm in Cambridgeshire. This reminds me of when I saw crocodiles in Australia. Apart from being a bit dangerous, I think they are very farmable animals although I don't know if they are happy with the climate in England. The article says that he will be allowing visitors on Saturdays, but it doesn't say if this has opened yet or how to contact the farm; I would certainly go and visit.

-- Martin

no comments Tags agriculture, archimedeans, cambridge, oxford

More musings

Posted by Martin Orr on Thursday, 18 May 2006 at 09:26

Two weeks today until exams; the past papers seem to be reasonably doable - at least when you are used to olympiad problems that take hours each. We are still getting some lectures as well, of which the most interesting and hardest are on topology; I have been spending quite a bit of time thinking about this and learning it by discovery. (Very briefly, topology is the study of continuous maps: you start off with some space or surface, then map each point from that space to a point in some other space; the map is continuous if points that started off close together end up close together.)

There have been three TCMS concerts in the past couple of weeks, including a special one in the Wren Library instead of our normal venue of the chapel. That meant lots of moving of chairs from the chapel store to the library. It's a nice building but a slightly odd concert venue; actually both the Wren Library and the chapel are very long and thin, which seems to me a strange shape for a chapel.

-- Martin

no comments Tags exams, tcms, trinity, tripos


Posted by Martin Orr on Friday, 05 May 2006 at 17:21

I have become warden of the College Chapel for Thursday evensongs. This means ensuring there are readers (a rota is produced by the Chapel Secretary, but I have to sort it out if someone can't do it), lighting the candles, giving out orders of service, closing the doors at the start of the service and opening them at the end, and counting the people in the congregation - this has to be recorded in a register of services (is this some sort of peculiar Anglican custom, or does it happen in the Presbyterian church as well?) Last night it added up to 64 people (counting 28 in the choir) which is far more than I thought there would be!

Yesterday we had elections to Cambridge City Council. These work in a somewhat bizarre fashion, with one third of the council elected each year and a break every fourth year. The reason this is so silly is that people get to vote the same way every time, so each ward has three councillors from the same party; whereas if all three were elected at once, a candidate from a second party could be elected if more than a third of people voted for them. Secondly, I did not have to prove my identity to vote; even the polling card which I received in the post said I did not have to bring it. Elections in Northern Ireland are clearly much better organised.

-- Martin

no comments Tags chapel, elections, trinity