SCUBA SCUBA

I tried SCUBA diving a couple of years ago with my son when I was on holiday in Australia. I had traveled up the Eastern side, starting at Melbourne, and eventually arrived in Northern Queensland at a small resort call Port Douglas. It was from there that I took on organised trip out to the Great Barrier Reef and went on two escorted dives where the instructor holds your hand, manages all the equipment and ensures that you get the most from your visit new world of the coral reef.

I found it truly amazing and was immediately hooked. The vast majority of our world is under water but we humans seldom stray from our natural above-water environment.

The following year my holiday was two weeks in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean where I became a qualified PADI open-water SCUBA diver. If you ever want to try SCUBA diving, then I can recommend the Maldives. They are perfect tropical atolls with palm trees and white coral sand, and the waters around have some of the world's best coral reefs.

In 2002 I enjoyed 1 week's diving off the North East coast of Zanzibar.

Kayak Kayaking

I have two kayaks hanging from my garage ceiling. In summer I put the roof rack on the car, attach the kayaks and head for the river Chelmer a few miles away. In the early morning one can glide silently along the river without frightening the wildlife and without meeting anyone else.

Last summer the family had an activity holiday in France the highlight of which was a two day canoe journey along the Ardeche river and through the Ardeche gorge. I can recommend this to anyone who enjoys excitement and stupendous scenery. (I also learnt to windsurf on this holiday, something which surprised me even more than my children!)

Bicycle Cycling

Cycling has been my foremost physical activity since I was a lad. (There are relatively few physical sports that one can do while sitting down.) My type of cycling has always been road touring with drop handlebars.

In 2001 I fell off at full speed and I fully appreciated the value of a cycle helmet. My bicycle, however, suffered a badly bent frame. I bought a second-hand "Dawes Galaxy" frame and rebuilt the bike. I am glad to report that quiet lanes on Sunday mornings are still enjoyable.

Boot Walking

This Spring I and my fellow members of the Heavyweight Camping Association walked the Peddars' Way across East Anglia to the North Sea and along the North Norfolk coast path round to Cromer. We set ourselves the under-stressed target of 15 miles per day, which allowed plenty of time to set camp in the afternoon and enjoy the hospitality of a nearby pub!

Previously I have enjoyed walking holidays doing the Pennine Way, in the Peak District, and in the Austrian Tyrol. I think it is the feeling of freedom and open spaces that I enjoy.

More recently I spent a week walking up (and down) Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It was awesome!

Orchids Orchids

In the past couple of years I have bought some orchids and had the pleasure of watching them flower in the first few months of the year. When the rest of the world is cold and drear, the long-lasting orchid flowers bring happiness to any room that they are in.

As a beginner, I have a selection of Cympidium and Phaelenopsis species that are suitable for my level of knowledge, skill and effort. They live on the window sill of the utility room, facing North East, where they enjoy the warmth and humidity given by the central heating boiler, the washing machine and the tumble drier.

I surprised by my success as a total novice. My advice to those wanting to start is do not pamper your orchids. Put them in a suitable environment and, apart from occasional watering and feeding, leave them to themselves.

Roses Roses

I have belonged to the Royal National Rose Society for many years. Like my father before me, I find England's national flower a source in interest and beauty. They come in so very many forms and they have such an array of qualities that every specimen is individual.

Even the most casual gardener will be rewarded by the joy of seeing new blooms in June.

APL APL

APL (A Programming Language) was something that I happened to discover by chance. It is a formal, simple, consistent and concise imperative language that handles arrays as easily as single items. It is intended for use by humans and can also be understood by computers, but APL is independent of any hardware related concepts such as double-precision integers or registers, etc. Instead it is directed towards the mental process of programming. Computers usually execute APL programs by interpreting the APL code using an interpreter or compiler that is written at a lower-level of abstraction in a computer language such as C.

Book Current Reading

Scientific American
monthly periodical
Comparative Vertebrate Body
Romer and Parsons
Dead Souls
Nikolai Gogol
The Wealth of Nations
Adam Smith