Which person (alive or dead) has had the biggest influence on your life?
That's a very interesting question, and one I struggle to answer. The genuine answers are people such as my parents, my wife and leading religious teachers such as Jesus and Saint Paul. You probably wanted to hear other names. Here are a couple: Peter Heaps, a bible class teacher from my youth. He was an inspiration to me in lots of ways that I can scarcely even begin to mention. Mr N.P. Smith, a teacher at my high school, who first revealed that it is possible to be excited by and have fun with mathematics. He also introduced me and others to the wonders of Wagner's Ring cycle, which i had the privilege to see in its entirety in 1986. At the moment, I am trying to figure out how I can possible get to Adelaide for a week this November. I suppose that another significant person we might mention, perhaps not directly, is the person who caused me to get to know vivh, which brings me to the next question.
was the lemonade very sticky? why did Julia do it? I know, that's two questions.
Yes, that's two questions. These days, the answer to the second one would be "because she could" but in 1984 that phrase wasn't in use, so there must be another reason. I suggest you ask her. As for the first question, yes it was, but that wasn't the most important thing. It was surprise that was the main impact of it all. I didn't often wear a suit in those days, as an unemployed graduate, so maybe that was part of the reason she did it. I had come straight to the party from an interview at the University of London Computer Centre, if I remember correctly. I needed to get the suit cleaned, but I had another interview at NCR at short notice the following week, at which I was asked a question I had never been asked before: "When can you start?" So I don't think the lemonade can have been such a serious problem as I thought it might have been. I stayed at NCR in Birmingham for six and a half years.