comments 19

In which I am imperilled, and subsequently rescued

I had a sudden revelation yesterday as I was sitting at my desk.  Following the vein of true mathematical inspiration, the answer to a puzzle came to me when I least expected it: the reason that my bagels were so small and therefore cooked so much more quickly than I had thought they would was that I had halved the quantity of ingredients, but forgotten to halve the number I made.

I shared my vision with my co-worker, Dave.

‘I’m rubbish at scaling up or down,’ he said.  ‘Last time I made marmalade I forgot, what was it?  Oh, yes.  It was the water.  I forgot to halve the water.’

I said I could see that might be a problem.

Bear in mind that we are all mathematicians in our office, aka the Den of Data.

In the afternoon, as Lovely Daughter #2 went to ballet, I had time to finish episodes 5 and 6 of Game of Thrones, while sitting in the car outside. These are the episodes in which Tyrion Lannister is imprisoned in the sky cells by Catelyn Stark’s mad sister and shows the resourcefulness and cool that makes him one of my favourite characters. Also Arya Stark continues her quest to transform herself from child to warrior, and Daenerys Targaryen, as promised by readers here, continues her rapid development into a true queen, showing bravery and determination to win the hearts of her adopted people.

My two favourite characters are Arya and Tyrion. Both have overcome the disadvantages, as judged by the society they live in, of being a woman and being a dwarf. They do this with an uncompromising determination that makes me think that if anyone is immune from death in GOT (HA HA!! As if!) then it’s these two. They define the heart of GOT to me.

Anyway, while I was watching the annoying Targaryen making the most ill advised party gatecrash in history, the sounds of fighting and screams covered up the fact that I hadn’t quite switched the engine off, and all my fans were still going. As it was, when I decided I wanted to run the engine a bit to warm up, the car made a cheerful gurgle and then was no more. If I were in Westeros, I would be direwolf food.

I felt very foolish, as this is not the first time I have run the battery down like this, although the last time it happened, I’d only been driving for a year or so and had no idea what had gone wrong. Anyway, a man in a van turned up within half an hour with a magical charging pack thing and went away again five minutes later. I’d been rescued, rescue being a rare thing in Westeros. Survive, or die.

I celebrated the fact that I was not living a ten year winter in Westeros by buying some tasty pizza from the Pizza Amore van, newly returned after its own motor woes. And then on the way home, I explained to LD #2 why it was a good idea to take your key out of the ignition when parked up.

Such are our essential survival skills in the modern day.



  1. Ha ha, such are our survival skills indeed Denise! My car battery died last week and we had to replace it. Also, I feel so much better knowing that you, being a brilliant mathematician, didn’t halve the amount of bagels you made as this gives the rest of us hope, lol 😉
    As for GOT, oh I can’t wait for you to get to the end…I want to discuss it but I can’t say a thing… 😉

    • Also being a computer scientist and when I got home, trying to repair LD#2 computer and wasting hours force feeding it Windows 7 drivers when it runs on Windows Vista… another Doh! Day.


  2. Uh -Oh – we’ve all done running the battery out, Denise. Probably during a long wait for one child or another to finish whatever activity they are doing. Mum’s taxi service – gets a lot of use!

    • I used to have a car whose battery ran out all the time, despite numerous checks by the garage.  What with that and the “waiting outside clubs” syndrome, I think I have got more than my money’s worth out of Green Flag over the years. 


  3. Glad you are making progress on the Game of Thrones watching.

    And I was very entertained by your comment on the Targaryen party-crashing faux pas. Ooops.

    • Yeah, nobody likes a party crasher.  It was an inevitability – the character had developed as far as he could go – and basically his total insanity wasn’t going to go down well in his new environment.  They tolerated him for quite a long time!  

      It also seems that not looking away from death is something a “rite of passage” theme.


  4. Jennifer

    Thank goodness there was someone with charging cables! I’ve actually left the light on inside the car (it didn’t beep) and wondered why it wouldn’t start ……….. I hate mechanical things!

    • I have charging cables… at home!  I actually have a plug in pack because my last car was so unreliable – both battery and alternator were replaced at great cost and it *still* used to run out of charge overnight on a cold day.  Faulty mechanical things are even worse…


  5. This happens to us all the time. Well, less so these days. The kids used to like playing in the car and they would leave lights on and I wouldn’t realise until the following day when I was usually in a hurry to get someone and the car wouldn’t start. I never had this problem on my bike 🙂

    • I loved the independence of a bike. Pity the weather and timings make it so difficult in the countryside 😦 

      I feel better and not so daft now!  


  6. You are really funny. I remember those insufferable hours spent driving to ballet and then waiting. Then driving back. Waiting most of the time with the other mothers. The fact you were in your car doing something fun. Well, that made me feel good. Sorry you had troubles, but happy you were rescued. A wild and desolate place you must have been.

    But thanks for the memories of ballet.

    • There is a great level of dedication required by parents everywhere!  I remember doing that when the girls were much younger at gym.  Everyone kind of waited around together and some of the competition gymnasts were there 4 or 5 nights a week for 4 hours at a time.

      I find it a really interesting insight now when I see any sort of sport or dance on the TV, just remembering seeing the tip of that iceberg of all the training that’s required.

      Hope you are well!  Yes, I had mild panic at being in the wilds when I realised what had happened!


  7. I had one of those days yesterday, Denise. I went and bought myself a bouquet of yellow tulips.

    Do you have a lot on your mind? That’s when I have these kinds of doh days.

    You managed, however, to write a very clever post. Brava!

    • You wise and perceptive woman! Last week I had an early morning governor meeting and also took my daughter to the orthodontist, so making up the extra hours at work involved getting up extra early for 3 days in a row. I’ve been quite tired. But had a lazy day recovering today.

  8. Well, pizza is a good thing, despite the other dilemmas of the day. 🙂 “…halved the quantity of ingredients, but forgotten to halve the number I made.” You make me smile, Denise, the mathematician. 🙂 Is Gamer of Thrones excellent, as I hear? I am on a Sherlock binge at the moment.

    • I must get round to Sherlock. I have got very drawn into Game of Thrones now and it is not my sort of thing! The characters are so strong and there are some that you really really root for.

      It was funny that both of us maths geeks had this problem of not being able to scale up or down!

      • Denise, What is your profession? Oh, gosh, I always get into trouble when doubling or having, though I have strong math skills. A real conundrum. Have a lovely Sat. when your wonderful daughter. 🙂

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