Wednesday 30 September 2015

My Month in Numbers 2015: September

Hello hello.

So, it's then end of another month. And it very nearly wasn't.

Well, of course, today was always going to be the end of another month, but I just only remembered the other day that I hadn't yet written this post.

[You see? All you people who tell me you'd join in but you always forget to count something during your month? Let my laxness be a comfort to you. I rarely count anything throughout the month ... I just find the numbers somewhere in the stories I want to tell.]

If you're new here - maybe you found me through my #300in30Days blog commenting project - yoo hoo! Hi, hello, how's it hanging? [Don't answer that.] If you'd like more info on the whole My Month in Numbers thingy check here - you're welcome to join in now, then, any time. Never.

So let's get started ... I'll lead by example ...

3.15am = the time I got out of bed to view the lunar eclipse on 28.09.15
Personally I couldn't find the moon. Don't judge me.

But, to be fair, I had woken up, without the aid of an alarm clock, relying solely on my desire to see the eclipse to wake me up in time. So, really ... I'd done my part.

James got up and tracked it down by leaning out of the workroom window from where he took this:
We didn't do anything as drastic as actually go outside to view it ... although I kind of wish we had. Never mind there's another one view-able from England in 2019. Not long to wait.

 I'll set my inner alarm clock now.

And, speaking of ingenious inner workings ... ahem ...

I met a 4 rotor Enigma machine this month:
James and I went to see a 2+hour talk called 'Codebreakers: The Story of Enigma' delivered by Dr Mark Baldwin at our local theatre - there's more info on the event, which tours the country, here.

Now then ... before you leap to Cumberbatch-conclusions, I haven't even seen the Imitation Game even though, as it turns out, the machine he brought with him did actually feature in the film! So now, when I do get around to watching it, I'll just forget about ogling Benedict Cumberbatch or Matthew Goode and simply apply myself to looking out for this machine ... I'm quite sure ...
We went because James is interested in war-related' stuff' and I like puzzles plus, we live somewhere that isn't exactly deluged by interesting events and so ... when you see one ... you go! 

When we arrived in the car park I did predict that I'd be the only ovulating female there. [Not that I ovulated while I was there. It wasn't that exciting.]

But, in a sea of men, the majority silver-haired, with a lesser number of ladies-of-a-certain-age in attendance, I did spot 2 other pre-menopausal females there. Which was disappointing. I wanted to feel special.

That aside, it was an interesting night out, if a little bamboozling at times. The next day, a weary James blamed his tiredness on 'all that learning we did last night'. So yes, it was quite full on, but, Dr.Baldwin had promised that we'd leave there that night knowing how an Enigma machine worked! And while his conclusions about our ability to to comprehend it may have been overly generous ... we definitely came away understanding more than we did on arrival.

And while we're talking about things that are hard to work out ...

I set myself a blog-commenting challenge to leave 300 in 30 days:
This was something I decided to do on a whim one day in the middle of the month, while I was mulling over ideas for how I could maintain and broaden my blogging network. And, as things tend to go with me, the idea's already spiralled into a full blown 'project'.
  • I'm tracking each blog I comment on using a spreadsheet.
  • I'm pinning every blog and recommendation to a Pinterest board.
  • I'm tracking how many new vs existing blogs I comment on.
  • I'm keeping a log of all the ideas thrown up by all my blog-visiting.
  • I'm learning what I like to find in a blog post [which will feed back into my own].
  • I'm learning what lots of quiet bloggers think of my blog [because they're speaking up to let me know!].
So, as you might imagine I'm gathering *lots* of statistics .. but I'll save them for after the experiment when I'm sure I'll have several reflective, and hopefully useful, posts to share.

And ... speaking of experiments ...

3 books = the titles picked out of a hat at the 1st meeting of the Lucky Dip Book Club

I'm planning to tell you more about this book club sometime soon - in a post of its own - so I won't say too much here. The salient points, some of which made their impact on this month's numbers, are:
  • This was the 1st meeting.
  • The gallery, where it's hosted, was closed for the night and there was no one there when I peered in through the windows! I knew I didn't have the wrong time, so I just sat in my car and watched to see if anyone else turned up! Eventually someone did and the organiser came to the back door to let them in, I got out of my car and asked if I was in the right place. I was. 
  • It's brand new and not, yet, well publicised, and so there were only 5 people there. 
  • Of those 5 people 4 of the attendees worked at the gallery. Then there was 1 of me. [Sitting around the table it felt a little like I was facing a panel at a job interview!]
  • 3 book titles were picked out of the hat and we now have 1 month to read/take inspiration from the book/s and make something creative in response. [Anyone who remembers when Kirsty Neale and I hosted The Copy & Paste Project will know why I liked the sound of this club!]
As you'll imagine, this little escapade made it into my entry for the day in my 'Learn Something New Everyday' journal [a life-documenting project hosted by]. It's the 5th year I've taken part and, while I almost didn't take it up again, I decided I'd miss those 30 insights I've jotted down each September in previous years.

 More on what I've learned about the book club [along with details on how you can join in too] soon  ... but for now let's continue the book theme elsewhere ...

4 = the number of unrelated books eBay believed complemented a recent purchase ...
The novel I bought - The Crossing by one of my favourite authors Andrew Miller is a story in two halves, focusing on the life of a couple up until a key turning point in their life ... then the remainder of the book is drift across an ocean and a mystery on the other side.  

It's a meditation on feelings, disconnection, freedom, life, loss, abandonment, discovery and sailing.

And nowhere in it ... nowhere at all ... and nothing about it ... nothing ... would lead me to think that a title that would 'go well' with it ...

... would be The Complete Guide to Sausage Making:
There was obviously a subtext in there somewhere that I simply didn't notice! If you've read it, or when you do, let me know about any hidden sausage parts I missed will you?

And, finally ... how about we round the month off with tea and cake? No better way ...

1882 = the cafe in Northallerton where I had lunch with my sister and parents. 
That's us, there, in the reflection in the tea pot 'Hi!!!':
It's nice when everyone's schedule means they're free for a trip out all together. Like when we were 7 and 9. 

We ate fish cakes. My sister was strangely offended that they were ball shaped and not cake-y and therefore not fish-cakes.  

The '3 meats' that set us off down a Shakespearean rabbit hole ... 
We passed a pub menu advertising a '3 meat carvery' and my sister pointed out how off-puttingly vague that was ... like which 3? Did you have to guess? Could you guess? Were they distinguishable?

Then suddenly the witches from Macbeth sprung to my mind ... "when shall we three meet/meats again?"...

... and, after we'd finished giggling we spent the rest of the afternoon thinking up dishes to add to the menu of the Shakespearean themed cafe we were going to set up!!

Anyone for the Hamlette [ham omelette?], Curryolanus and rice? To be or not two bean wrap? The Taming of the Stew? The Prince Hal[loumi] salad? Troilus Egg and Cressida sandwiches?


OK, OK ... enough of the puns ... I promised you cake ... here's some from another well established company ...

Betty's, est. 1919
It's a prerequisite when I'm anywhere that has a Betty's tearoom that I must go in and buy something from the bakery to take-away. This time I bought James a 'Fat Rascal' [a type of scone that is always entertaining to ask for over the counter] and what I got for myself came in this beautiful little box wrapped in a bow ...
Never has a lone, humble [but delicious] egg custard felt so special!
But not as special as the waitress feltwho brought us tea and coffee in yet another cafe we visited in Northallerton ...

As the waitress was leaning over our table delivering our drinks Mam, entirely innocently, expressed her admiration for the handmade containers in which the milk and hot water were presented by turning to her and saying: "Ooh, aren't they lovely jugs?"

And again. There was giggling.

Lots of it.


So that was my month ... meeting new people and an old machine; no sausage meat but an inspiring Macbeth carvery; lots of books and even more blog-commenting and one rather special egg custard and red moon!

What about yours? Every month you're always more than welcome to:
  • read, enjoy and go about your day! 
  • read, enjoy and drop me a line or two in the comments about your month, or mine.
  • read, enjoy and join in on your own blog [again you can find the info on My Month in Numbers here.]
  • OR ....
  • read, enjoy and drop me a line or two about your month, or mine on my Facebook page [where I know commenting is much easier] or via Twitter

See you later September ... you've done a valiant job of keeping it bay so far but ... I've had to wear gloves twice now on my morning walk ... so I think we're both going to have to stop kidding ourselves and give in to Autumn gracefully.

Hello October, you can come out of hiding now ... the gloves are on ... I'm ready for you ...

Julie x


  1. Admit it, it was the thought of Benny using that machine that got your ovaries twitching ;-)
    We are partial to a few 'jugs' jokes in the office. The Head's PA has to provide teas and coffees for meetings and obviously the more people attending, the more milk is needed. Harriet's often heard saying that she needs to get her big jugs out!
    I like the idea of a Shakespearean styled restaurant, you could serve 'Merchant of Venison' 'Ham-thony and Cleo-pate-ra'.
    I'm a failed Month in Numbers participant (hangs head in shame) maybe I'll return next month!

    1. My sister is soooo envious of your 'Merchant of Venison'! So much so that she let it pass that I "told the world I was offended by the ball-shaped fishcakes"...

      Your remark about Benny's power over my organs has made me laugh, again, and this time I'm in public. There's no way I could explain to any passer by what I'm sniggering at!!

      I appreciate all my fellow Numberers ... even the lapsed ones. x

  2. ~~~waving madly~~~~ Hello sweetie! I haven´t written any numbers this year. And I haven´t commented much at all either. I´m writing a lot in Spanish and even though all my Facebooking is running high, the blogging world isn´t as wide over here.
    Loved your commenting challenge! Might join you for November (yes, I know we still have October but that one is full with proejcts already ;) )

    1. Any time at all Paula! You've got plenty keeping you busy in blog world, I appreciate you dropping by to say hi!

  3. I do so love these number posts of yours ... they are always packed full of yumminess and humour and eccentricity (in the nicest possible way!). My numbers post will go live tomorrow (because I haven't actually finished it yet ...).

    1. I wouldn't take 'eccentricity' in any other way! It's perfect. I've been reading some of Charles Dickens's non-fiction and at one point he says people "used to say I was an odd child, and I suppose I was. I am an odd man perhaps." I'm in love with this quote!!!

      I'll drop by your post as soon as I can. :-)

  4. I want to join the Lucky Dip Book Club! It makes me think of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency when you say it out loud..

    I think I'd quite like to see an Enigma machine. Just yesterday I watched a thing about Ada Lovelace and Babington and the very first computing machines. Have you seen it? I found it on iplayer. She was Byron's daughter. Maybe you knew this already..

    1. I haven't watched that yet - but yes, I saw it was on. Maybe I need time to recover from 'all that learning' before I dip into it again ... ;-)

      p.s: you can join the club - I'll blog about how soon!!

  5. Babington? I mean Babbage. Duh..

  6. My month also featured a visit to Betty's but I got a florentine.

    1. I've not had one of those ... they do look nice though. And you clearly also know the rule that you *have* to buy something while you're in there! I can't imagine walking out without treating myself!

  7. Now the moment you mentioned the enigma machine I knew BC would crop up somewhere :) And if you DONT now open that Shakespeare restaurant I shall be disappointed. What else have you been buying on ebay that they thought you would like a sausage making book? (that made me laugh even more than some of your other comments). Much as I love astronomic events there was no way I was getting up in the middle of the night to watch the eclipse of the moon, and I didn't have to because you have kindly blogged about it.

    1. The thing about the restaurant would be .. .I'm far better cooking up puns than I am food .. .so ... the menu would be ace, the actual food, not so much!

      Happy to be of service in the lunar department!

  8. As always, lots of witty things to bring a smile to one's face! How blooming unfair you weren't the only female of a certain kind! Oh, cakes and tea in Northallerton ... Perhaps one day Himself and I will make it up that far and we can arrange to meet and photograph ourselves as a reflection in a teapot :). You did well on that moon. Though leaning out a window in the dark sounds like it needs a risk assessment.

    1. That's a lovely thought Alexa. and yes ... I did want to take a few better shots on my bigger camera but I had to lean even further with my zoom lens ... and I decided it was better to just see it with my eyes - and stay in one piece!

  9. LOL Julie! Your month in numbers posts always make me laugh! I really enjoyed joining in last year, so perhaps I will again next year? I just love your 300 in 30 challenge, and have started mine today. The only trouble is, I am going to find so many great ideas and inspiration, I am not going to have enough time to do them!

    1. It is surprising what the whole experiment is throwing up for me - inspiration, blogging ideas [including dos and don'ts!] all kinds of things. And now I'm wondering why my blog features are frequently number related!

  10. Love reading your month in numbers post and must admit to being a guilty lurker and not commenting! You have pushed me to leave more comments on other blogs this month 😊

    1. You're welcome to be a lurker Becky - I don't mind at all! I love how people are saying they're leaving more comments ... I don't know if I'll reach the 300 target I set myself but when I know that other people are joining in I don't feel so bad ... I'll count theirs if I need to! ;-)

  11. Again laughing out loud to myself Julie! I love this monthly post as I love numbers and the opportunities this invites from my own posting. One day. I know I keep saying this (sigh)!
    As for Betty's - we were encouraged to go when we visited Harrogate but it was full, and so were we after a large lunch, so it will wait for another trip. And I know what I will order. Custard tart!! These are my favourite cake, too!
    As for the random book suggestion, I sometimes make my own sausages so this book might have got a click from me. It does make you wonder how they pick them though!
    I love the Enigma machine. I will tell you I am not interested in war-related things but always find something fascinating and of interest. Had to laugh about you feeling miffed that there were 2 other pre-menopausal women there! Great post as always.

  12. I knew, really, I shouldn't have re-read this whilst on the bus (as I remember it made me laugh out loud when I first read it (and didn't have time to comment!)). Now everyone's staring even more at the weird English lady, laughing her head off!!!! (I heard someone say 'I never knew gringos laughed' so you've managed some remote prejudice-busting!)

    So sorry you weren't actually the only female of ovulating age, but I bet you wore something that marked you out as special!

    Had to chuckle at James being tired because of 'all that learning'....that's what little I says every day she comes home from school....yes, Mama, I enjoyed myself but it's tiring doing so much learning.....!

    Brave you for attending the book club alone. I'm quite similar but always manage to pep talk myself in to doing things, Eleanor Roosevelts wise words about 'doing the things you can't do' floating around my head.

    Oh my...The Crossing. Can't wait to read it (obviously) was the sausage making book (and subsequent explosion of laughter) that prompted the gringo comment!!!!)

    Cake!!!! Yay!!!! And loved your ingenious Shakesperean puns!

    And, oh, the humble but always good egg custard: how lovely it finally got some of the recognition it deserves! (I now can't stop thinking of the egg custards from the bakery in the village where I grew up: they were *delicious*!)....

    Lovely - hilarious! - post.

    Thank you!!!!!

  13. Oh - P. S. - absolutely forgot to mention that the Enigma talk must have been fascinating. Warning about the Imitation Game film: the way Cumberbatch portrays the last scenes makes what the man went through so real, it's absolutely heart-breaking....(perhaps one you should consider not watching)....


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