Thousands of bicycles in Amsterdam but not one single helmet, not even on motorcyclists! 

Gate closed

​I thought one hour would be long enough to get through security, but due to long queue, I just arrived at departure gate at Birmingham International after it had closed. Luckily they were waiting for me! 

Should have remembered it is holiday season. I usually avoid travelling at this time, and now I know why. 

Diary for Mon 11 July 2016

It’s 10 am and I have just finished 16 hours of revising Episode 82. At my normal pace of work (150 words per hour for finished work) these 3,128 words would have taken almost 21 hours, but these 16 hours were not spent in writing but purely in editing. So in fact this Episode probably took more like 38 hours in total.

Why was it such a long process? Because it’s a detailed description of how Francesco Romani revised his map of which crystals are linked together so that the four policemen could take a set of linked ones down the tunnel. I went through several variations of this swapping and mapping before I found a story-line which gave me what I want.

Now in fact I feel that probably few people will ever read this in detail. If anyone ever opens Volume 3 (which in itself seems a little unlikely!) then this kind of stuff will probably only appeal to geeks and nerds. But for authenticity and consistency I felt I just had to get all these trivial details sorted out correctly.

Now it’s time to move on, although I won’t be getting much done for the next week as I will be attending the International Big History Association Conference in Amsterdam later in the week.

Maybe there IS a good reason for leaving the EU!

It only took 2 1/2 hours for me to just work out that I owe the European Union a grand total of £29.71 for VAT paid to me for book sales to people living within the EU, and entering every detail into the UK’s MOSS VAT system.

18 months ago, before this crazy system was introduced, each country used to charge VAT according to the rate of the vendor country, and my turn-over was so small I didn’t to register for VAT so I did no work at all.

Now we all have to charge according the VAT of each of the 28 purchasing countries, no matter how small our turnover.

Yes, maybe there IS something to be said for leaving the EU after all. It would save me at least 10 hours a year and no inconsiderable stress.

La Grande-Bretagne, il est très triste de le dire, a perdu tout respect.

​Avec la victoire du Brexit, la Grande-Bretagne a non seulement perdu un rôle, mais aussi sa dignité. Compte tenu de tous ces tourments britanniques et démonstrations de chauvinisme, la Grande-Bretagne, il est très triste de le dire, a perdu tout respect. Elle ressemble aujourd’hui à ce que nous pourrions appeler une monarchie bananière. Tout cela est extrêmement triste pour la Grande-Bretagne, pour l’Europe, pour le monde.

Jean-Pierre Lehmann, professeur Emeritus à l’IMD et expert en économie politique internationale.

Tribune de Genève

Breaking the Rhythm

After spending a day trying to take out the extra 2500 words which I added to episode 65 describing how Francesco updates his maps and move them into episode 69, thereby maintaining the rhythm of the four threads of volume 3, I have finally decided to simply insert an extra episode after 65. The integration would have had far-reaching consequences on the synchronisation of the other threads.

Currently the episodes cycle between seeing events in four situations: on the frozen earth; Sam and Trissitia coming up the time tunnel; Catriona and Danny going down the tunnel; and events in Entroilia.

This extra episode will of course break this rhythm, but that is not a serious problem. Indeed it could be regarded as desirable. This predictable cycling of situations could easily become monotonous and an element of variety and surprise is highly desirable in any creative work.

Vlog of Editing Time Crystal

I am doing what I had planned to do for some time, make a video of the writing and editing process. This was recorded at 07:22:20 on 27 June 2016, and followed an hour’s work required to make the Microsoft LifeCam Studio camera work on Windows 10.

European Union was Churchill’s antidote to war

Published on 22 Feb 2015

Winston Churchill promoted “the Union of Europe as a whole” after the Second World War. This talk by journalist Jon Danzig is related to article:

Revising Episode 65

CrystalMapForBlogI am spending many hours describing the details of how Francesco revises the crystal map on the whiteboard in episode 65. I imagine that most readers will skip over these paragraphs, but there might be somebody at some time in the future who follows these tedious details with diligent attention.

The map shown here, by the way, is not necessarily accurate!

These revisions have unfortunately increased the length of episode 65 from about 3 ½ to 5 ½ thousand words. I try to make every episode around 3000 words, since that would take about 20 minutes to read, which seems like a reasonable time for those who read just before going to sleep or go listen to podcasts.

So now I have a problem! I need to split this episode in two. But this thread is already synchronised with the other three threads in the story. So before I can divide it, I need to carefully review how that is going to impact on this synchronisation. This book is not the easiest to write. I suspect it is also going to be somewhat of a challenge read!

Profoundly touching interview with Dr David Nott


I strongly recommend you to listen to this podcast in which a surgeon who works in war zones talks about his life. Very moving and inspirational.