THE VILLAGE INN at Buriton in Hampshire was a random choice for an overnight stay. The Mrs B had bought me a day's falconry at Compton nearby, and we had to stay overnight to be there on time the following day.
IN SEPTEMBER 1981, when my daughter was just a few months old, I had a job interview in the downstairs bar of the Great Northern Hotel on Kings Cross Station.
THERE’S a lot of talk about algorithms these days - mainly in connection with internet search engines and software platforms like Facebook. But an algorithm is nothing more than a series of steps set up to solve a problem or to reach a particular outcome.
I WAS GIVEN another three notebooks for Christmas: a classic fiery orange Moleskine with elasticated binder and internal pocket; a beautiful little hand-designed and branded black notebook from a friend who runs a graphic design company in Berlin; and - from my daughter, Lucy - an American Rite in the Rain All-Weather Memo Book, originally designed for woodsmen in Tacoma, WA, and perfect for damp birding trips in the UK. That one is the colour of beech leaves in mid-summer.
WHEN I WAS just 17, Simon & Garfunkel released the album Bookends, which included the plaintive song of ageing Old Friends.
The first verse sets the scene. ‘Old friends sat on a park bench like bookends. A newspaper blown through the grass falls on the round toes of the high shoes of the old friends.’
IN THE END, it was Max who made it happen. I had spent four decades dreaming of a return to the Shetland Islands and had consistently failed to find a travelling companion until I mentioned it to Max one day over lunch. Within weeks, it was sorted - and then some.