Tuesday, 4 September 2012


I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to my regular readers for a lack of new postings on this blog. When I came back to the UK at the beginning of June I’d been cycling 50–60 miles a week, and I could walk short distances without discomfort, but I reckoned without the wettest June on record, which meant that I was able to do very little cycling.

I don’t know what is cause and what is effect, but three months later I cannot walk at all without pain, and I’m no longer convinced that cycling is beneficial (60-65 percent of all the work being done is by my uninjured leg). I’ve found this very frustrating, and there has been a wholly unforeseen side-effect of this deterioration in the condition of my left knee, which I originally damaged in a cycling accident at the end of last year: I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since June!

The problem is that although I can fall asleep easily enough, any movement while asleep is likely to generate pain, which wakes me up, so a night in bed consists of a seemingly endless series of interrupted snoozes, and as far as I can tell, I never reach the state of deep sleep that my body needs to rejuvenate itself—I am no longer aware that I’ve been dreaming, for instance.

The result is that during the day my head feels heavy and my mind sluggish, and even though I have plenty of ideas on what to write about, I simply cannot concentrate on the task in hand. I think that I need the attention of an orthopaedic specialist, which means that I will have to wait until I return to Hong Kong in about five weeks, because the way the National Health Service is organized in the UK, long waiting times for treatment are the norm.

It is therefore unlikely that I will be posting anything of significance until mid-October at the earliest, although I could post another hard question or collection of photographic abstractions in the interim if there appears to be any demand. For example, you might like to test yourself against the following puzzle, which was originally posed to me by my son Siegfried and which took me three days to solve.
What connects the following?
 • A metal.
 • A weapon.
 • A Roman goddess.
 • An American state.
 • A native American ‘tribe’ that gave its name to an American city.

Needless to say, the solution turns on being able to identify which metal, weapon, etc. is needed to make all five clues refer to the same thing. No further clues are necessary, and I think that this question is much easier than the one that I posted in June.