Binary Powered

I had to take our dog Bingo back to the vet tonight (see last Thursday’s post). One of the wounds has become infected and whiffed a bit. Old bucket head is now on antibiotics (applied wrapped in pate) and eye-drops (mostly a wrestling match) and another £16 to the bill.

I took him in my wife’s car which is better equipped to carry dogs. On my way back, I glanced at the unfamiliar dash and thought that’s bloody binary code! This little screen read 010101. Now I know that we rely on microchips to run our cars, but this seemed over and above. You’re ahead of me – it was the odometer, but a bit of a coincidence nonetheless that I chose that moment to notice it for the first time.

Speaking of driving, the one saving grace of the commute to and from work is being able to listen to audio tapes. Yes, I know I should have a CD player, but tapes are more convenient. Usually, it’s the Archers omnibus edition recorded on Sunday, but I also enjoy talking books.

Playing at the moment is Flashman and the Angel of the Lord. Created by George MacDonald Fraser, Flashy is one of the great literary creations, although GMF can’t claim that particular credit. Flashman sprang into life in Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes, GMF simply provided the rest of his life, and what a life. Friend/enemy of Wellington, Palmerston, Bismark, Cardigan, Queen Victoria and Albert, Custer, Lincoln to name a few.

Then the more obscure players of the Victorian world. John Brown, Spotted Tail, James Brooke, Queen Ranavalona and Lakshmibai and others too numerous to mention.

The thing is that GMF both a great wordsmith and story-teller which don’t always go together. Here is a brief excerpt from the Angel of the Lord after. It is part of the opening as the aged Flashman is leading his great-grandchildren home after telling them about John Brown:

“It was just sheer bad luck that the Bishop and other visiting Pecksniffs should already be taking tea with Elspeth and Miss Prentice when we rolled in through the French windows, the damp and dirty grandlings in full voice and myself measuring my ancient length across the threshold, flask and all. Very well, the grandlings were raucous and disheveled, and I ain’t at my best sprawled supine on the carpet leaking brandy, but to judge from his lordship’s disgusted aspect and Miss Prentice’s frozen pince-nez you’d have though I’d been teaching them to smoke opium and sing One-eyed Riley“.

Great stuff.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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