Thursday 31 March 2016


Some artwork from Naomi...

Most of these are what she's doing at school just now: learning about the sounds in words and putting them together. Often she's leading a lesson for Miriam.

Y-words: yoghurt, yoyo, yellow, yak

L-words: lion, licking, lollipop

Y-words: yoghurt, yoyo

The final three are a book she made:

Wednesday 30 March 2016


Some more of our girls' impressive artwork...

Today it's Miriam's turn (Naomi tomorrow)

This is Jay! The eyes are hole in the card - Miriam saw them and thought they would make good eyes, then took it from there.

A few we got from nursery...

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Vegetation what you need!

Another spring, another go at planting vegetables. Hopefully this summer will be more like 2014 and less like 2015 so we get a better crop than last year!

The important first stage: purchase some seeds!
Also make use of free garden centre coffee and play area.

A little repotting of some heather we inherited from up north was also in order. Both Naomi and Miriam are impressively good at this now!

After last year's slug-based rout of our growhouse vegetables, I have tried applying copper tape around the base of it this year: apparently this keeps them out. We'll see!

Real straw for the strawberries!

The sticks are an anti-cat measure. Working thus far.

Monday 28 March 2016


Some time ago we made brandy snaps and the whole exercise was somewhat unsuccessful. This put us off trying again for a wee while (well, over 4 years apparently), but last date night Jay and I thought we'd give it a go again. We were following one of Mary Berry's recipes and this time it all worked much better: we put this down to getting the things out of the oven and onto their stick much more quickly this time. Delicious!

How to...
The fairly unappealing mixture prior to baking

This melts and spreads out in a few minutes

Peel this off...

...and wrap around something round (and not tapered the wrong way if you want to be able to remove them!)

Once cool, remove sticks

Add cream

Also very good with fruit compote. Yum!

Friday 25 March 2016


Another wee trip for work - just a couple of days this time for a meeting of the DAASE project to demonstrate to our funders that they are getting lots of good work for their money (their response was that they are happy - so all is well).

This meant a return to Cumberland Lodge, Windsor - I've been there once before in connection with the airports project. It's a lovely place to go, and very peaceful: quite suitable for a load of academics musing on things of great importance (and various other things of probably much less importance). I was mainly there to talk about some work I've done with Air France KLM on one of their bits of simulation software. It all seemed to be received well enough, and it was a good chance to catch up with some other people on the project as well. Now for some nice pictures of a spectacular pictures of Windsor Great Park...

View from my bedroom window

My room was just near the scafolding - the meeting was downstairs. Most convenient.

The main Cumberland Lodge building

The bright bit in the distance is Windsor Castle

George III apparently - or at least a coppery likeness of him

I thought this patch looked rather like it could be in Aberdeenshire somewhere

Saturday 5 March 2016


A couple of weeks ago I "volunteered" to help with a visit by some high school pupils at the university. Our task was to sell computing as a possible career to those who weren't necessarily interested in it - so obviously it was an excuse to roll out some toys to play with. My job was helping to look after a 3D printer, something I've not every had a shot on before. This was a bit smaller than the concrete printing one at Loughborough but still quite interesting to see.

Some interesting shapes we printed. The thing at the front is meant to be a Penrose triangle, the clip is for food bags, and the bike was an Airfix-style kit.

The printer in action

We had the aim of giving a Stirling branded clip to every one of our visitors. Unfortunately they were quite tricky things to print and several ended up with missing parts like the one near the top.

What happens when things go wrong.

Various other cool widgets.
I've also recently taken delivery of a very shiny new machine to assist with the project I'm working on. This has 24 CPU cores, and a Titan X GPU (over 3000 GPU cores) - in short, very fast. Lovely.

Finally, not so much a toy, but here are some cakes I made recently for the leaving do of one of the chaps in my office. Tasty indeed.