F1

I am not a big fan of any sport, but over the years, I have watched some formula 1 motor racing. To be quite honest, it’s a great way of being sent to sleep on a Sunday afternoon.

I remember the good days of Senna, Prost, Mansell, Piquet, Hunt, Hill and others.

When Michael Schumacher was driving, he was so good he won pretty much everything. Commentators and others said it was all a bit boring, predictable. Now Lewis Hamilton wins everything (well almost, he has had some penalties), but no-one says it’s boring, predictable, even though it is. I wonder why?

Sometimes things do happen to make it interesting, but usually it goes:

  • qualifying: Hamilton first, Bottas second then the rest
  • the race: Hamilton goes into a quick lead, changes his tyres, still leads, wins
  • it’s a procession of the rest

I’m not trying to say that Hamilton does not deserve to win, or is not good. Just that generally, it can be dull stuff. Even the Sky commentators say that.

Exams

It struck me the other day that it must be exactly 50 years since I did my O Levels, age 16.

It’s so long ago I am not sure I remember what I did. Let me think: French, German, English Language and Literature, Geography, History, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. That makes nine, which sounds correct. I passed them all. I tell you that not to boast, and I certainly only scraped History which has always seemed a pointless thing to me, but to highlight that, in those days, we all did ‘traditional’ subjects. No Japanese, DT, Philosophy, Domestic Science. I think the grades were numbers. I am pretty sure my only ‘1’ was Maths, but there would be many threes. Middling. I probably have my certificate somewhere.

I was always reasonable at Maths. We didn’t have calculators, nor slide rules, but we did have books of log tables and trigonometric functions. I imagine that of all those subjects, it would be the only one I could tackle sensibly now.

Coursework was just not a thing. I have a vague recollection that multiple choice exams were just coming in.

We did something called the General Paper. And a University Entrance Test in English. And for my A Levels, Maths, Physics and Chemistry.

Booze

In the area where I live in north London there used to be several chain off licences/wine shops.

Nicolas is a French chain that always had a good selection of wines and spirits. It closed, and was taken over by Oddbins, even though there was another Oddbins shop, a huge converted garage, just a few hundred yards away.

Actually, the large shop was really great. The selection was enormous, the staff were helpful and there was even a place to sit and sample wines. They always got my business, and it’s a sign of a good shop if, every time you go in, you find something interesting.

Well, the small shop closed. Last time I visited the larger shop, the shelves were empty. I went past recently, and they were removing what stock was left.

So now, if you want wine, you go to a small specialist shop, which is fine, or a supermarket. I think Majestic is still on the go, but is many miles away.