In 2019, we had date clashes for both Apple and MInce Pi runs, and
in 2020, well, they simply haven't happened.
But when Matthew asked on Facebook if the Mince Pi would be
happening, and I remarked that it would be well suited to a DIY
virtual, ah... it kind of escalated...
So it turns out that Amanda, Merilyn, Matthew and another Pi-philic
friend of his, Deena, are going to run the Pi loop, with me along as
chief photographic officer, purveyor of mince pies, and general
beast of burden on my bike. Then Matthew does a recce and finds that
the classic route is blocked at the top of the Sandcastle (aka, St
Catherine's Hill) by works to stabilise the sides of the railway
cutting below. We modify the plan rather more substantially when
Deena shows a route of her own that meshes nicely with the Pi for an
extended edition. It will, we gather, include some hills to make up
for the one we have to forego.
Naturally, by the time we've all committed ourselves to this
endeavour, the weather has turned horrible, but we're British,
dammit! Well, I'm half Irish and a bit Burmese, but I can be British,
dammit! too if I want to be, so there!
So close your eyes and let your imagination transport you to the car
park at Shalford Park...
Now don't go getting all jealous just 'cos your fancy foreign
holiday has been cancelled but we can still travel a bit
south of Guildford!
Amanda, Merilyn and I don't actually know Deena, but somehow we have
no difficulty recognising her even though she arrives before
If you use your imagination, I'm sure you can see the crowds, the
banners, the throngs of eager spectators (ok, maybe not that last
It's dull and damp, but not actually raining. This will turn out to
be the good weather for today.
The last Mince Pi Amanda ran was 2018, the year the nearby sluice
gates were opened and this wasn't a path but a lake. It's not dry
today by any stretch of the imagination, but a few muddy puddles are
nothing by comparison.
Off along the Wey Navigation they go.
Although the sandcastle is blocked at the top, an ascent is still
required. Perhaps surprisingly, the leaves aren't particularly
slippery and the wet sand is relatively solid underfoot. The climb
is therefore probably about as easy as it gets. Which isn't
particularly easy, of course.
Merilyn pulls herself up with the aid of the railings.
Matthew stops to pose!
And this is where we all have to stop.
There's a man stealing my bicycle!
Now although St Catherine's Chapel was inaccessible by the normal Pi
route, we'll head up the hill on the other side, which would
normally be the descent, and see what we can see.
Yep, there it is.
Oh look, guess what none of them saw!
Just after turnaround at the Guildford end of the loop.
And I hereby declare that football pitch line marks the finish!
Right, so that's the Pi loop done, now to follow Deena into the
On a nice day, this would be very pretty, I'm sure.
Despite being blasted by the elements, we all make it to St
We can't quite remember now why Matthew has decided he needs to wear
his mask at this point.
It's about time you all had a flash of my Pi!
Oh dear. I appear to have soiled myself in front of Merilyn again!
Come on everybody, look cheerful now!
It's very exposed here, and the wind and rain are quite nasty. This
is not a long photo stop.
But there's one more distraction before continuing. These railings
are decorated with loads of soft toys, and one section is dedicated
to the 12 Days of Christmas.
We certainly weren't expecting a partridge in a pear tree today!
A final lap around the car park and 3.14 miles have become 13.14.
Pi plus ten equals a half? That's not what I remember from school,
but hey, these people are runners: logic need not apply.
Full circle, colder and wetter, but now with mince pies. What more
could anyone ask?
Now before we say goodbye, I realise I have not yet regaled you with
the thrilling mathematical tales you have come to expect from my Pi
blogs. Following on from my previous explanation of the difference
between countable and uncountable infinity, it seems appropriate
somehow to tell you of the Hilbert Hotel, and add a timely coda to
the traditional version.
The Hilbert Hotel is not just big, it has an infinite number
of rooms. And business is good: they're all occupied.
Then wouldn't you know it, a charabanc turns up with an infinite
number of new guests all looking for a night's
Well, normally being full up would be a problem, but not at the
The manager simply announces on the tannoy: "Terribly sorry to
disturb you, but would all guests please move to the room with the
number exactly twice the one you're in now."
So the guest in room 1 moves to room 2, which is fine because the
guest in room 2 has gone to room 4, where the guest has left for
room 8, and so forth.
But every guest has now moved to an even-numbered room, meaning the
odd-numbered ones are empty. There are, of course, an infinite
number of odd rooms, so now the manager has all the rooms they need
to satisfy the expectant guests. Result!
And the modern twist? One day, new government rules require social
distancing to be enacted, so no two adjacent rooms may be occupied.
Well the manager does exactly as before, but with no new guests
today, all the odd-numbered rooms are now empty and the pandemic is
kept under control.
There you go, isn't infinity a useful thing!
Love to all,