The Lottery, Cheese and Entropy….

We all love a go on the lottery, we know we probably won’t win big, but there is that small chance that we might win a few grand. If you can afford it and have the inclination to play it, what’s the harm?   The trick is not to become addicted to it and spend hundreds of pounds a month chasing the dream. I have one line of numbers and I play by direct debit. They email me if I win and pay prizes into my bank account.

If something disastrous happened to our family finances then this would be the first luxury to go. I deliberately haven’t memorised my numbers which I picked at random a few years ago,  I know what half of them are but if I stopped playing and saw the winning lottery numbers, I couldn’t be certain they were mine and therefore not regret it for the rest of my life (clever eh?).

I do occasionally have an additional line or two, based on either a hunch or a madcap idea I had that week, as everyone who knows me will tell you that I do not own a Ferrari and live in a mansion…. I am happy to share them. They will I realise make me look at best a little weird and at worst totally barking with no grip on reality.

Here we go……. in no particular order…

1. Three key numbers. Pick 3 numbers and do 5 lines with these 3 numbers present in all 5 lines. IF (big IF there) these 3 come up then the chance of a big win is significantly increased. I did get 4 numbers once using this method once….. but the increased ticket price has made this idea prohibitively expensive taking it from a fiver to a tenner.

2. Playing every number. Write all the numbers down and pull them one by one out of hat. You will have at the end 8 lines with totally different numbers and 1 line with 2 unique and 4 repeated numbers. When the numbers are drawn in the lottery you WILL have all the numbers, obviously the trick is getting them all on the same line……..

Again this has been made too expensive to do on your own but for a syndicate this could be a good idea…. done this one every now and again with a few mates but no luck……

Now we get to the slightly odd ideas….

3. Cheese and red wine. That’s right you did read it correctly. Cheese and red wine. Occasionally a story comes along in the papers where a winner claims to have dreamt the winning numbers. I tried to pre-empt this by eating a particularly strong cheese  (we are talking at least a blue Stilton or Gorgonzola) and downing a bottle red wine after watching that nights lottery draw… never dreamt any numbers or won anything but the wine and cheese were both good so the problem with me trying this again is……?

4. Entropy and the multiple universe theory. This one is a weird idea but is soundly based a concept in Physics and Maths so errrr….. bear with me….

The multiple universe theory says that every possible outcome is covered and acted up on, therefore every happening or choice we make generates another time string (told you that you would think I was barking) and entropy is the concept that every event is random but by bringing in a second random event, the original event ceases to be random, that’s my take on it anyway after reading dozens of baffling pages on ‘Tinternet’ if a Science teacher is reading this then he may think this is complete b*****ks, if you are and do… then you can explain it properly to me and then for an encore explain why water (being made from a fuel – hydrogen and an accelerant – oxygen) doesn’t burn.

Anyway back to entropy if you cut up a lottery play-board and mix it with rice and then throw it into a box…. you’d think that it might create a random event that mirrored the one in your universe… well it doesn’t. I can guarantee it.

But the multiple universe theory says that hundreds of different versions of me have won every single lottery draw. Just not the version of me writing this…..

I won’t include the links to Wikipedia articles on Entropy or Multiple universe theories as both articles went about fifteen feet above my head…

5. Advance knowledge of events (or precognition). There is a theory that because we know about an event that happens tomorrow after it happens tomorrow, then we actually know about it today. We just don’t know we know (did you follow that?) therefore we can concentrate on that future event and see it happening today….. Tried it…. NO YOU CAN’T……

And now the most reliable and sensible idea.

6. Keep the same numbers. Pick 6 numbers and play them every draw. The odds of getting 3 numbers from  6 is about 30 to 1 (it is I promise, I’ve worked it out) so every 30 draws or so (15 weeks or 3 – 4 months) you should win £25 quid… and I would say I probably do….but one day the 3 numbers might combine with a 4th  or 5th.

There you go, 6 ideas to win the lottery and I didn’t even mention the last couple of paragraphs of my Time Travel blog post… If you want weird  with a capital W then that’s it.

So to sum this blog-post up, I’m slightly strange, drink wine and eat cheese in the name of science and the most reliable way of winning the lottery is the most boring…. (number 6)

Photo credit. Me. I took it a while ago at a wedding with a phone so forgive the quality.

Am-Dram…. Darling Luvvy…..

I love Amateur Dramatics (Am-Dram), for the same price as a cinema ticket you can watch real theatre, performed by people who are doing it for the love of it not for financial gain…. rather than celluloid (or digital) copies of over paid/under talented ‘stars’ (not all famous actors are like that of course….. R.I.P the late great Robin Williams….. I’d love to see the hours and hours of unused material from Good Morning Vietnam that ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor…. Anyway back to Am-Dram).

The costumes are made by relatives, the sets painted by art students, the props lent/donated by local businesses and the end result is magical…..

I’ve seen Calamity Jane, Singin’ in the rain, Scrooge and a magnificent production of Willy Russell’s original duologue play ‘Educating Rita’ the atmosphere was electric in the auditorium… the hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end for the whole play… Would I have got that at the multiplex cinema watching ‘Mega-Death Robots 6 …… This time they’re kicking arse’ or something with a similar banal title and plot. No I don’t think so either….

The standing ovation ‘The Professor’ and ‘Rita’ got was well deserved and the bows by the two actors were taken with pride, appreciation and true passion.

Another good thing about Am-Dram is the bar…. For the price of a bucket of popcorn and a Cola at the cinema, you can have a cracking pint and a glass of wine complete with a natter at the interval.

Another reason I love Am-Dram is (trying to keep myself from entering ‘Smug Mode’) I had a couple of short plays staged by a local ‘Not for Profit’ Theatre company. They were 10-15 minutes each and presented in two different collections of plays by local writers. I received no payment…. but the joy of seeing my work unfold in front of me kept me on a high for weeks. Both were performed in two venues…. Does that make it a tour? (sorry delusions of grandeur slipped in there)

Were they any good? The Director and actors thought so but you can judge for Yourself as I’ve provided the script to one here….  Ruthless Ruth

I might have blown any chances of Hollywood coming knocking on my door by slagging off actors and cinemas ….. Ah well never mind….. I wouldn’t have written for them anyway as a matter of principle…… (only kidding Mr Spielberg and Mr Tarantino…. Please use the contact form……)



The Strange tale of the Pink Lady……..

Following on from the slightly weird theme I started with my Time Travel blog I thought I would share a spooky tale  and we are talking spooky with a capital SPOOK……. Cue ‘The Twilight Zone’ music…. do du do du do du do du…… it’s not the same when I write it down so we’ll use Scooby Doo instead…. Scooby dooby doo do, where are you? we’ve got some work to do now…..

I’ll blatantly steal the beginning of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Dickens (I can…… its out of copyright) My Grandma was dead to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.

She died not quite twelve months before I was born.

When I was about three or four and able to string almost coherent sentences together, my mum had a vivid dream that my Grandma had come in to my mum and dads bedroom wearing her favourite pink coat. My Mum in her dream asked…. ‘What are you doing here Mam?’ to which my Grandma replied…. I’ve come to see him, I’ve never seen him…..’ with that she left the room and headed off down the landing towards my room.

My mum was woken up minutes later by me crying….. the conversation went something like this….

Mum: What’s the matter?

Me: There was a lady sitting on my bed.

Mum: What was she wearing?

I bet you can guess my answer…….

Told you it was spooky and true….. But it gets even stranger…


A few days later my mum and dad were out in the front garden when a friend of my Grandma’s walked past ‘Oh hello’, she said to my mum. ‘I dreamt about your mam the other night, she said she had come to see if I was all right….’

It gets better…. a few weeks later the friend died..

I’ve spoke to my mum recently about it, and asked her what her opinion was about the nights events and….. she hasn’t got a clue.

Can you beat that for a true ghost story out there? share it in the comments if you can….


Note: The picture isn’t mine, I did see and photograph the official cartoon network Mystery Machine once but can’t find a copy of it so….

Picture credit –  Ryan Forsythe (flickr)



Time Travel….

I love a good article on Time Travel, the problem is though normally after the first paragraph I’m way out my depth, when the writer starts talking about Quarks, Protons, etc, and quoting Einstein’s theory of relativity.

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of time travel from a young age when I tried to build a time machine out of Lego and Meccano aged six after being scared witless watching the original ‘Time Machine’ with Rod Taylor… I’m telling you those blue Morlocks were scary.

And then who doesn’t love Marty and Doc travelling in time using a nuclear powered Delorean? The strange thing is though Time Travel exists. Fact, and I don’t mean that we are all moving through time at one second per second.

Einstein said speed was the key to time travel. In the 1970’s (and many times since) several experiments were carried out using atomic clocks aboard aeroplanes. The ones on aboard the planes gained time therefore had travelled through time faster than natures norm… I will point out we are not talking minutes or even seconds. We are talking Nano-seconds or in layman’s terms a gnats arse…. But what it does mean is that when you fly any distance you will arrive at the same point in time quicker than someone else who stayed on the ground. As I said real time travel.

Read about the first experiment (and subsequent repetitions) HERE

Then there’s the university professor called Ronald Mallett, who reckons time travel into the past could be a reality within the 21st century. He is currently working on a prototype machine, will he succeed? I really hope he does.

He started working on time travel when in his early twenties. His father had died of a heart attack when Ronald Mallett was a young child and he wanted to go back and warn him, He now accepts that this will never happen but he hopes to create time travel for particles within his lifetime.

Ronald Mallett

Have you read that link? I didn’t understand much of either…..

You may now be thinking that full on time travel can’t be possible, otherwise we would have seen travellers from the future wandering around. I think I know the reason…

Any machine that can create time travel will be enormous, I assume about the size of the Large Hadron Collider, (L.H.C) that is under most of Switzerland, Therefore not be able to travel through time itself  just provide a method to facilitate it. So you will only be able to go back to moment the machine was finished and switched on, because you will need it to reassemble the traveller at the ‘destination’ time.  If this type of machine is ever built, will Bookies and gambling become a thing of the past?

If you are fascinated by the thought of time travel as portrayed in films and on television, like Joan Collins getting run over in the 1930’s and Jim Kirk breaking down in tears because he stopped Bones saving her, then I assume you have heard of Bold Street in Liverpool.

If you haven’t then that’s the one link you REALLY do need to read, no science involved it’s just spooky.

If you live in Liverpool and visit Bold Street a lot, you need to make sure you carry last weeks Euromilions numbers in an envelope with an address known to you or your family from the 1960’s through to the 1990’s in case a time-slip like in the above link occurs, so you can post them to yourself (or parents) with a note to keep them safe until the date written on the envelope. You will then have them last week before the draw took place… If this crazy scheme works for anyone reading this… then don’t forget it was my idea and I want a serious share of any winnings…..

Photo credit – Alan Cleaver

Mind Worms…

Don’t you just hate them? I don’t mean the ones like Ricardo Montalban put in Chekov’s ear in ‘The Wrath of Khan’ I mean a short snippet of a song or film that goes round and round in your head…

At the moment I seem to be whistling ‘Honey’ by Bobby Goldsboro…. I don’t own the track, I’ve never owned the track….. I don’t even like the bloody song, but I must have heard it a few weeks ago on Radio Two…. Damn you Ken Bruce….. and its stuck in my head.

Previously I was whistling ‘Whole Again’ by Atomic Kitten. I don’t own that track either but I do quite like it (oops did I just type that confession out loud). With that song I did consider getting a slow acoustic backing track made and using it to enter the X Factor again with it (yes.. again… I did enter once but that’s another story and a very short one…no you didn’t see me on the tele-box), as the judges always love it when contestants do that, but don’t you just hate it when the judges say when presented with something like the above say… ‘You really made that song your own’ or ‘You really smashed it’…. choose in your head one of the following voices Smug, Geordie or Irish…..

Anyway enough of the tangent.. back to mind worms.. I also used to whistle Tom Good’s (Richard Briers character in ‘The Good Life’) little ditty normally when out my depth slightly doing some form of D.I.Y…. My wife twigged this though and started to say “you don’t know what your doing do you?” my reply….. ‘Nope not got a clue’ many a wonky wardrobe has been built or slanted shelf put up to that particular tune…

I have film quote worms as well….. If anyone says the word ‘Doctor’ I have to say….. ‘I’m a Doctor Jim, Not a brick layer……’ (sorry more Star Trek there….) and I can’t pass a melon in a supermarket without thinking of Edward Fox pretending one was Charles De Gaulle’s head in ‘Day of the Jackal.’

There are a few benefits of mind worms though if someone is moaning about something in a shop or queue and I over hear them….. I can burst into a verse of ‘LET IT GO……. LET IT GOOOOOO…….’ from Frozen and feign innocence, saying my son had watched it the night before.

Mind Worms are never classics though are they? it’s always the annoying songs that get stuck in my head. I never whistle anything uber cool like The Clash or The Smiths.

If you can’t remember how the song ‘Honey’ goes I’ve put the Karaoke version below… Click on it at your peril it will get into your mind and you will have to buy the track and we will end up with Bobby Goldsboro at number one in a few weeks…. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…..

Please Sir…..

I came home a few days ago and got changed, I went to the wardrobe and pulled out the nearest polo shirt, then rummaged in the drawer and pulled out some shiny nylon shorts (why exactly do I own these?) . I completed the ensemble with a zipped sweatshirt. I came downstairs to be greeted by my wife with, “You look like a middle aged P.E. teacher…..All you need is a whistle round your neck…..” This for some reason made my 7 year old son launch in to hysterical laughter.  He then ran to his bedroom to look for his football whistle so I could borrow it, fortunately he came back empty handed. I then began to think of all the classic school changing room/Gym/football field clichés, you might recognise some…

‘What you do mean you forgot your kit Elson…. You can do P.E in your vest and pants then……”

“Get down from there….. DID I TELL YOU TO CLIMB THE WALL BARS……”

“100 metre sprint….. go…… last one to finish puts the cones away……”

“Of course you were picked last…. look at you Elson…..”

“A letter from your mum to excuse you from games? I don’t care if you’ve got a letter from The Queen….. get changed….. NOW!”

And now some non P.E. ones which I assume you heard something similar

“No running in the corridors Elson ……  see me later…..”

“Homework late Again?”

Finally the classic school report comment, my parents must have read this a hundred times over my school career…..

“Simon could do much better in class and fulfil his potential if he stopped talking……”

I hope you can relate to the above…. If you can’t, then it must just be me……


Photo Credit – Laura Elson….. and yes it is of me……






Man Hunt……

The helicopter circled above the treetops. The heat imaging cameras searched the bushes and undergrowth hundreds of feet below. People from the local houses came out into the streets and stared towards the sinister profile silhouetted in the sky against the late evening twilight…..

What is it searching for, they collectively thought…. An absconded prisoner from the nearby open prison, or perhaps a confused patient from the local hospital……..

Nope. It was looking for me.

I’d been out earlier that evening to the local park and woods to get some (hopefully) stunning sunset photos. I was carrying my two trusty Olympus cameras, one loaded with black and white, the other colour. I also carried my Benbo tripod (other tripods are available as the B.B.C would say), the make of tripod is significant in the fact that instead of normal square section silver legs, the legs are round. Matt black and round.

I can imagine the phone call that sparked the hunt…

Caller: There’s a man with a shotgun over the ‘Rec’  taking pot shots from the bushes….

Operator: Are you sure Sir? positive it wasn’t a walking stick..

Caller: No…..No….. definitely a gun. You need to send a S.W.A.T team.

Operator: We don’t have S.W.A.T teams in the U.K I’ll see what I can do to get it investigated. Click brrrrrrr.


The next day the local the local paper carried a report similar to following –

Yesterday evening, the Police helicopter was scrambled following reports of a man carrying a shotgun in the local park. The man is described as a White male, mid 20’s, blonde hair and wearing a red sweat shirt and blue jeans…. Anyone with information please call xxxxxxx

Guess how old I was at the time and what I was wearing the night before.

I rang the number.

Me: Errrr…. Last night the bloke with the gun.

Officer (This was in the days when a policeman answered the phone when you rang the local police station): Yes….

Me: It was me…

Officer: Is that a confession Sir?

Me: It’s a confession of me carrying a tripod instead of a shotgun, but yes it was me.

Officer: We need your address please as we may need to see the tripod.

I gave my address.. No one ever came to check it out though… Government cutbacks I assume…..