And now for my specialist subject…me!

Like many families, the restrictions of life at the moment, brought any opportunities for meeting to a sudden and unexpected halt. Although we are spread across the North and South East of the UK, we previously we would periodically be able to meet up…either for specific occasions such as birthdays, Christenings and so on…or just because we felt like it.

So in keeping with likewise many others, we periodically meet up on zoom and have a family quiz!

We are a family of mixed interests, education , professions and we have consequently had some interesting if not bizarre quiz rounds.

The range has been really eclectic…we had had rounds on The police (One of our family is a police officer), the bones of the human body (from our physiotherapist), Disney Themes, identifying names of chocolate bars from cross sectional pictures, World Airports Three Letter codes, Scotland and to the horror of most of us who have only scant memories of school chemistry, a whole round devoted to the periodic table!

One of the bonuses of the events that you are hosting (because it’s your birthday etc.) is that your household sets the questions. So when we were the hosts on occasion of my birthday, my wife kindly created the rounds and questions with one round dedicated to facts about me, yes ‘yours truly’ !

Somewhat embarrassingly I really didn’t excel and got many questions wrong including my shoe size!

I had always pondered what specialist subject I would offer if ever I became a contestant on BBC Tv’s Mastermind Quiz programme. I now know for definite I will not choose the subject as me.

I actually did better on questions about the periodic table!

Brian – a very intelligent squirrel

We have a resident squirrel or two in our garden. One of them in particular is remarkably intelligent.

I can’t really give too much provenance to his early education although I am told he played on 2012 University Challenge Cambridge University team some years ago (but possibly as mascot) and more recently has been a successful contestant in some TV quizzes. His skills are however not confined to the subjects of biochemistry, early English literature and nano physics, but also to how to open a bird feeder that has a spring clip and then to be able to remove nuts out of reach of his legs by swinging said feeder vigorously.

We have actually become very fond of Brian, and although the natural next step might be to just leave the peanuts in a more accessible place, there are downsides to this. Firstly the mental challenges are probably good for him – current restrictions will be limiting his social interaction and there are of course no pub quizzes for him to enter at the moment and a local gymnastics competition that I know he has been considering training for and participating in has just been deferred for some months. The other reason of course is that Brian has a wide circle of friends and providing dinner party facilities for such a group would probably require stocks of peanuts that we just don’t have readily to hand at the moment.

Squirrels are relatively new to our garden….our resident garden guardian Geoffrey also felt it his duty to ‘see them off the premises’ but alas Geoffrey is not with us anymore, but probably looking down from doggy heaven with slight bemusement at the new residents.

Our kindly vet who looked after Geoffrey in his later years would often comment, ‘if Geoffrey could talk, I am sure he would be a very polite dog’ , I think based on the dogs stoicism and acceptance of prods, examinations and the odd injection. Praise indeed , and proof that we always have had only the best in our garden.

China in my mind

The 1980’s band T’pau had a very successful hit with China in my hand, despite most of the millions who bought it (yes they didn’t download back then, they bought some vinyl with a groove cut into it…) not really having a clue what is was about. In case you want to know, it was actually about how if you held a china cup in your hand it was translucent. and you could actually see some kind of ghostly image behind it. Strange title, but anyway, it made Carole Decker and her band some money and fame. This is actually all quite irrelevant, but please store the fact away in case it ever comes up in a music round of a pub quiz….or more likely at the moment a Zoom Quiz.

I actually have China on my mind, not on my hand. Why? Well , I occasionally look to see where my blog is being read using a clever little App that I have, and I have noticed of late that I have an increasing readership in China. But lets not get carried away here..I only have a couple of hundred subscribers through various media and historically these have been people in the UK and a few other European counties and the USA , Canada and Australia where I have both family and work connections…and these are English speaking countries and in many cases, expatriots from the UK. I have freely written about UK life and probably more specifically Yorkshire life, happy in the knowledge that it resonates with the reader either from personal experience, TV or some other connection.

But for some reason, the Chinese search engine Baidu seems to have found me and delivered my posts to people in China. I have only been to China once, and just scratched the surface of the vast country…but learnt enough from that short visit to know that my world is very different to theirs.

So to all of you reading this in China …thankyou, and I trust I have not baffled you completely and yes, what I right is really true.

The internet is truly a wonderful thing (when used wisely and carefully) and I often ponder what my late departed parents, only one generation back from me would think of the truly amazing means of sharing and communication open to us all.