In my book Happy Memories I mentioned a number of remarkable coincidences that I had experienced throughout my life. On 22nd November, 2020 I discovered another that had been hidden away for more than thirty years. I noticed that the name of R.C. Shirreffs, who is mentioned on the second fold of my Ben Nevis panorama, is remarkably similar to that of R.C. Sherriff, who is mentioned on page 23 of my West Dorset guide.

Reading matter
The most interesting book I have read in recent years is This Book Will Blow Your Mind, which was published by the New Scientist magazine in 2018. It describes some of the latest scientific discoveries. My all-time favourite book is Wainwright’s Westmorland Heritage. It includes 1200 illustrations, most of which are masterpieces, and the text is a joy to read. Both of these books can be purchased through the internet.

The four-colour problem
On 13th December 2020 I found in my computer this letter, which I wrote in 2003 but was unable to find when I was researching Happy Memories. It was addressed to Simon Singh, Another Five Numbers, Radio 4, BBC, London W1A 1AA. Incredibly, it was returned by the post office and marked ‘addressee unknown’.

‘You said on the radio recently that some people have difficulty in understanding why four colours are required to make a map so that no county adjoins another county of the same colour. The explanation is quite simple. If a county coloured red has an even number of neighbours, such as four, these may be coloured blue, yellow, blue, yellow, but if it has an odd number of neighbours, such as three, these would be coloured blue, yellow, blue, and two blues would come together, so one of the neighbours has to be green. A fifth colour is never needed because all counties have either an even number or an odd number of neighbours.’

In December 2020 22 pages were added at the end of the section ‘Scrapbooks’ in my website, including the following:

Page 1 – An article about the Wallbury Foot Rally in the Scouter magazine. This was the first time that anything of mine was published in a national periodical.

Page 2 – A copy of the Aberdeen University Scottish Nationalist Association newsletter, of which I was the editor.

Page 3 – A photograph of Pitcaple Castle from the front cover of a booklet. A description of this castle will be found if you go to Chapter 8 of Happy Memories and search for ‘Pitcaple’.

Page 4 – Some specially chosen photographs taken with my instamatic camera in 1980.

Page 5 – Some more photographs taken with my instamatic camera, mostly in east Devon.

Page 8 – A map I produced for Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains.

Pages 9 to 11 – Maps I produced for a book by Mike Harding.

Page 13 – Two pages from the magazine Footsteps.

Page 14 – A photograph I took of the Rose and Crown in Colchester when I was working on East Anglian Town Trails.

Page 15 – A review of Happy Memories from the magazine Cumbria.

Pages 20 and 21 – Photographs I have taken recently near my home using an iPhone. The places shown at the top of page twenty and at the foot of page twenty-one are featured in the walk described in my eleventh blog.

Page 22 – A map I produced for Wainwright in the Limestone Dales.