I'm back - and while I was away, I had my first attempt at playing Carroll's Game of Logic. I thought it was great - to my surprise. Basically it trains you in logical thought processes by using counters on a board. You start off with 2 premises, and learn how to analyse them. Then, as you get better, you increase the number of premises, till you can untangle even very complicated ideas.

It's symbolic logic, which is a bit out of fashion these days apparently, but for me, for the first time in years, my brain feels just the way my body feels after doing a sudden burst of unaccustomed exercise. It should be easy, and it obviously IS easy, but my brain's such a paunchy old slob that it was puffing and panting like Billy Bunter trying to do the 100 metres. I could just feel it doing me good.

Carroll always took great care with the design of his books and the Game of Logic book has beautiful bright red covers with swirly gold lettering. The counters are very pretty pink and grey and altogether it's a nice object. As for being a game - it's a cooperative rather than a competitive game, and one person can play alone.

It was helpful to have someone to show me how to do it, since you do have to follow the instructions exactly - it's an ideal teaching aid for strengthening children's minds. I'd say they need to be about 12 or 13 to really get into it, but a mathematically minded child could probably manage at a younger age.

Robin Wilson's book (below) has a very good explanation of how it all works - having read it in detail I think even the most un-mathematical person will get something out of it.

So I shall, I hope, find my mind getting fitter as I go on.