In my previous blog post I described a caravan trip to Anglesey, Wales with my husband (Howard). Anglesey was very famous for its copper mining and we went to Copper Kingdom at Amlwch to look at the museum there, to see how copper is extracted and to see the remains of the quarries. On holiday we have what we call an ‘Anna Day’ and a ‘Howard Day’ alternately so that (hopefully) we get a balance of what we’d both want to do. Howard is an engineer and he was keen to go to Copper Kingdom. It would not have been my first choice but I learnt a great deal (probably more than Howard who knew much about copper already) and we also had a nice lunch overlooking the sea. Working with copper had been horrible for those involved and the poisonous gases had destroyed the landscape for miles around. Fortunately it is now back to being beautiful again.

I learnt that copper has atomic number 29 on the periodic table and, as I have never used an atomic number before in a blog post, I thought this would be an ideal number for this post: atomic numbers do indeed exist in the real world.

Now comes the part of the post where I use the number in the first section to take me somewhere around the world in the second in as random a fashion as I can muster. This time I’m using Emirates airline for the first time and I looked up Emirates flight EK 29 which flies between Dubai and Heathrow. Thus I will look at Dubai as a potential travel destination.


What do I know about Dubai? Very little. I have passed through the airport twice, once on the way to Hong Kong and once on the way to Bangkok, and did not stop on either occasion. In fact it didn’t occur to me to stop. Now I’m wondering if I missed anything.

Dubai sounds surprisingly good for cycling according to this article. As a woman I’d need to be very careful about my clothes – I should avoid wearing clothes showing shoulders, above the knee or anything too tight. Thus, if I wanted to cycle I would need to buy special clothing that is also cool in the heat as Dubai is hot. There is some useful advice here.

One thing I’d absolutely love to do in Dubai would be to have a tour of a mosque, such as this one. The nearest I’ve ever got to this was in Cordoba, Andalucía which is a Christian church inside a mosque. I’ve wanted to visit Istanbul to see the mosques there but recently it hasn’t been safe enough. So this would be top of my list.

Cruises and boat rides would be right up there and a safari into the desert would be fun too. I am not going on a camel ride – I can’t even ride a horse without turning into a jelly and a camel is much taller than a horse. Howard is a keen horse rider and would no doubt leap onto a camel at the first opportunity! This site shows the wide range of activities available in Dubai.

The food in Dubai looks amazing! I am currently on a gluten-free diet and just took a peep out of interest to see if I could eat anything. But I’d love to try really good hummus, date syrup, rice rolls, sushi and good Indian food. And the karak chai sounds delicious.

If I were to pass through Dubai airport again then, if I could, I would definitely stop off for a few nights – a 10/10. I wouldn’t go there specifically but I do think I missed out by not stopping on the two occasions I could have done. Writing this blog is useful to me as it gives me more of an idea of places around the world that I haven’t considered before. I hope it sparks your interest too.

Prime numbers with interesting properties

Firstly, 29 is a prime number divisible only by 1 and itself. We have met prime numbers before and so this is nothing new.

Also, 29 is the smallest positive number that cannot be made from the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 using each exactly once and using only addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I like this property and set about demonstrating that it’s true.

I found that one of the easiest ways to bring 1, 2, 3 and 4 together with +, -, x and / was to write out the multiples of each number and then see if I could break them up into components. For example, the number 28 can be made up in three ways:

1 x 28 = 28

2 x 14 = 28

4 x 7 = 28

From the last of these you can see that:

4 x (1 + 2 + 3) = 4 x 7 = 28

When I try this with 29 I don’t get anywhere:

1 x 29 = 29

I would need to use 2, 3 and 4 to make 29 as 1 is taken. The best I can do is:

2 x 3 x 4 = 24 (too small and I don’t see how I can get any larger)

A few more examples:

For 27:

3 x 9 = 27

3 x ((2 x 4) + 1) = 3 x (8 + 1) = 27

For 26:

2 x 13 = 26

2 x ((3 x 4) + 1) = 2 x (12 + 1) = 2 x 13 = 26

As the numbers become smaller division plays a greater role:

For 2:

(2 x 4) / (1 + 3) = 8 / 4 = 2

For 1:

(1 + 4) / (2 + 3) = 5 / 5 = 1

I find it relaxing to get lost in numbers like this!

Last thoughts

Our visit to a copper mining museum has taken me on a virtual trip to Dubai. If I passed through the airport again I would love to stop off and visit. And I’ve enjoyed exploring 29 and its interesting property in number theory.