Jamie's Notes

Currently browsing the year of 2019 ⤵

2019/13: Sixty three

We’re at the fag end of summer now. The wind carries a hint of chill, and the nights are noticeably shorter. I’ve had a quiet week.

Little E and I tried to catch up on our geocaching challenge this week and bumped this years haul up to sixty three. Still a way to go, but we might just bag the century after all.

Fields near Riplingham.

My favourite shirt, which has been under my careful ownership for at least a decade, threw in the towel this week and headed off for retirement. Whilst in mourning, I enjoyed reading Ben reflect on the shirt that he has owned for 26 years. Being from from Yorkshire, I would rather pluck my eyeballs out with teaspoons than spend £75 on a single item of clothing. But then again, if I had, maybe I would still have my favourite shirt.

I can’t believe I’ve managed to do this for thirteen weeks straight.

From the net:

Some things I enjoyed reading this week:

2019/12: Hogsmeade Station

My job is a little strange sometimes. This week I was asked to write a policy on what you should do upon finding a dead body. I didn’t have a clue where to start, but I figured I had a rough idea of what you shouldn’t do and it kind of worked itself out from there.

We managed to get out camping again. It was a bit chilly. Overnight temperatures are down to six degrees, so that’s probably the end of camping season for this year. We camped on a small site in the Yorkshire Moors, just above Pickering. The moors are beautiful at this time of year – bleak and wild, but full of color and life. We visited Goathland, whose train station was the setting for Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film; and Whitby, famed for being visited by Dracula. Plenty of culture around these parts.

I’ve got it in my head that a caravan would be a wise investment. Less messing around than a tent, and a few more home comforts included. E says that we are far too young to own a caravan. She’s probably right, and I doubt our feeble car could pull one anyway.

Finished reading:

The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah

Never has Alaska sounded so beautiful yet so formidable. I put off reading this for ages – a mistake because it was wonderful. Also, this was marked three hundred books since I started counting in 2012. Imagine what I could have done with all that time.

From the net:

Some things I enjoyed on the internet this week:

2019/11: No halloumi?

  • Sometimes I sit down to write these week notes and find I have nothing to say.
  • Brexit is everywhere, and nowhere. Its a a perpetual dark cloud that blots out the sun and periodically pelts tennis ball sized bits of bad news on the population below. It’s a whole lot of nothing and then everything at once. Maybe there will be no crisis. It might be like the buildup to Y2K: anxious excitement, fear, and then nothing. Perhaps, come October 31st my biggest worry will be that there is no halloumi in Tesco. I don’t know. I don’t think the people who are supposed to know do either.
  • The UK government website now carries a warning reminding us that we are leaving the EU on the 31st October, the beginning of a blitzkrieg campaign to prepare the nation for our biggest folly. I suppose it is possible that some people don’t know about it, so fair play to the civil service. As a responsible citizen I have completed the suggested questionnaire and have been assured that there is nothing I need to do. Just wait.
  • It worries me that a section of the population has permanently lost faith in the economic, diplomatic and political structures that stop everything unraveling into chaos – and that there is a breed of politician that is willing to exploit this for their own ends. This strikes me as being ultimately more problematic than the headline issues. Screw those people.
  • Sorry. This is what happens when I read too much news.
  • Little E made chocolate brownies. They were delicious.
  • Turns out I did have something to say.

From the net:

New blogs discovered:


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2019/10: Double exposure

It was our first wedding anniversary this week. Well done E for making it through another year.

On the bank holiday weekend we drove out to West Yorkshire and found ourselves at Heptonstall, high above Hebden Bridge. It had been recommended to E a couple of summers ago by someone working in a nearby tourist information centre who described it as being ‘like Haworth, but before the tourists ruined it’.

The view from Heptonstall

The view from Heptonstall This is a perfectly good description. Built on the steep hill that rises from Hebden Bridge the village is made up of perhaps a hundred or so sandstone cottages and terraced houses, connected by narrow cobbled streets. A victorian church sits proudly in central place and in its grounds the ruined shell of it’s twelfth century sibling. The graveyard is home to Sylvia Plath.

The ruins of the old church.

A steep cobbled road divides the village and provides a smattering of shops for the few tourists that seem to make it up from Hebden Bridge. Think Robin Hoods Bay but sixty miles from the sea and nearly a thousand feet above sea level. Well worth a visit if you are nearby.

This week I have removed an old deck, built another deck in its place and then cleaned and stained a completely different deck. I am hoping there are no more decking related tasks in my near future.

I cancelled my Amazon Prime account. When you know your Amazon delivery drivers by her first name it’s time to take a step back and reassess your shopping habits.

From the net:

  • The Guardian as a long piece on how social media companies keep us hooked on their platforms. I feel like we’ve heard this stuff a million times now. Does it actually make any difference? I don’t think people are listening, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless: The machine always wins: what drives our addiction to social media [Guardian]
  • Jonathan Turner introduces ‘nushell’ which is, as the name would suggest, a new shell. It looks pretty interesting. If I wasn’t in the middle of learning Fish I’d jump right in: Introducing nushell
  • Ever heard of a Ha-ha wall? You have now: Wikipedia – Haha Wall
  • Russell Ivanovic shows us what life is like with solar panels and Tesla Powerwall units: Rusty Shelf – Self Powered. I think there will be a time within our lifetimes when homes no longer need to be connected to the electricity grid. Maybe we’ll all have miniature Tokamaks in the basement, but in the meantime solar, wind and batteries seem to get us most of the way there.

2019/09: Treacle Pudding

Our home is normally a calm and tranquil space. We held an early birthday party for our youngest this week and the house was invaded briefly by a small horde of excited children who tore through the house, terrified the dog, ate all the food and took peace and quiet hostage. But Little E had fun, and that’s what it’s all about.

Another week off work beckons, and this time I’ll be doing something useful with it. The small deck that leads out on to our back garden was at the end of its life when we moved in four years ago – and now most of the wood has the consistency of a well done treacle pudding. This week I’ll rip it all out and rebuild it. I enjoy working with timber. It’s reasonably cheap, you don’t need crazy expensive tools, and if you do it wrong (which I will) it’s easy to tear out and start again.

I keep reading about the been many things lost to the onward march of technology. The thing I miss the most is picking the dirt from the rollers in my rollerball mouse.

From the net:

Good news:

2019/08: Hathersage

We cut our camping trip to two nights. Good lord, those camp beds were uncomfortable. Our camp site was lovely though, and the Peak District deserves more exploration. We camped on a small site on the outskirts of Hathersage. The nearest shop was over a mile away, which in an ideal world is the absolute minimum distance I would prefer civilisation to be. I enjoyed driving up and down Winnats Pass, though my feeble car struggled to match my enthusiasm:

On the way home we took detour to Hardwick Hall. We’ve been before but it deserved a second look. The house was built by Elizabeth Cavendish, a formidable woman who is well worth reading about.

Back to work tomorrow, so I’ve spent my last moments of freedom imagining all of the things that could have gone wrong while I’ve been away.

Finished reading:

Sphere, by Michael Crichton

Probably not the book for you if you are claustrophobic, or have any concerns about the probable existence of a malevolent alien intelligence.

From around the web:

2019/07: X-Ray

A week off from work is on the horizon, then I’m only back for four days and then off for a week again. I love the summer holidays. For three days next week we’ll be living under cover of canvas in a field deep in the Peak District.

We had to visit our local A&E department this week as our youngest decided to exit her bunk bed by way of jumping and landing on her elbow instead of her feet. It’s a unique approach, but not entirely successful. There were many tears.

Ever the optimist, I suggested it was a just a sprain and dosed her up on paracetamol. E suggested more caution so we headed off to A&E. She was right, of course. An x-ray showed that she’s fractured and dislocated her right elbow.

It was after 9pm when we arrived at the A&E department, which despite the hour was filled with afflicted children and dyspeptic parents. We were told that there was only one doctor on shift and to expect a wait but we were triaged, x-rayed, treated and on our way back home within the space of two hours. We forget about the NHS until we need it, but when we do we are reminded at how utterly brilliant it is.

The price of my hosting is creeping up, rising from £4.27 in May to £5.47 this month – mainly as a result of the terrible performance of Sterling against the Euro.

From around the Web:

  • An aqaintance that works in one of the old council offices near me complained that their office had reached 34°c during the last short heatwave. As climate change takes hold we’re going to have to start constructing our buildings differently. This habitat prototype is inspired by a proposal for for habitats on Mars and is built using a new material that is more durable than concrete & recyclable. It’s better looking than a stack of bricks and slate too.
  • The great moon hoax of 1835
  • Chris Crocker-White at Balena.io recreated a National Rail electronic timetable with a small OLED display and a Raspberry Pi: Build a Raspberry Pi powered live train station sign for your desk

Finished reading: