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Week Notes

Week 7: 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. The host hasn’t changed their prices, it’s the result of the terrible performance of Sterling against the Euro.

From around the Web:

  • An acquaintance 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:

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Week Notes

Week 6: Toilet Guru 🚽

  • I have spent an unconscionable amount of time reading toilet-guru.com. I love websites like this.
  • I’ve redesigned this website with the aim of going ‘back to basics’ so it’s mainly plain HTML and only a small amount of CSS. I have limited design skills, but to my eyes it it looks clean.
  • We finished watching the second series of Killing Eve. It was very good, but perhaps not as good as the first series. I’ll watch the third if they make one.
  • I’m out of words for this week, but I prefer to end on an even number – in much the same way as I can’t stop filling my car with fuel until the total is a round number. It’s nearly August. Can you believe it?
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Week Notes

Week 5: Hot winds

  • Earlier this week my youngest daughter complained to me that she had ‘fizzy feet’, by which meant she had ‘pins and needles’. One of the interesting things about being a child is that you sometimes have to create new words for things if you haven’t yet learned the correct one – and sometimes they are better than the real one.
  • Having finished Micro Adventures by Alistair Humphries I now desperately want to go camping. I used to go camping all the time; usually with a tent and some home comforts but NEVER on a campsite, so wild-camping isn’t new to me – but Alistair feels strongly that a tent is just a more rubbish version of being indoors, so I’m on the lookout for a bivvy bag to see if he is right.
  • When travelling through York I passed a Chinese takeaway called ‘Hot Winds’. This is either a really terrible name or a really brilliant one. I can’t decide.
  • I have a love hate relationship with podcasts. I can go months without listening to one and then I’ll find something I really like and binge listen. This week I listened to ‘Who the Hell is Hamish?’ from The Australian newspaper. It was grand.
  • One of the good things about these ‘week notes’ is that no one really cares if you’re a couple of days late.
  • However your week has gone, it’s been better than this guys:
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Week Notes

Week 4: Take a hike ⛰️

  • Fifty thousand people have signed up to a ‘joke’ Facebook event with the aim of mass-storming Area 51. I’m worried that a proportion of these people are not joking.
  • I’m still shocked at how much I have been spending on food. I weighed myself on Monday to cement the general feeling I have of disappointment with myself.
  • We’re in that phase of the year where we have not yet acclimatised to the weather, so we spend a good portion of our time complaining that it’s too hot, too dry and that spring was too short. We spent the preceding six months complaining that it was too cold, too wet and that winter was too long. If we’re not talking about Brexit, we’re talking about the weather.
  • I really like the North American word ‘hike’. I don’t think we have an equivalent in British English. We use ‘walk’ to define any length of journey by foot. It could equally mean a quick walk to the shops, or a walk from Lands End to John o’ Groats. A hike sounds like a proper walk. Hills climbed. Energy expended. Maps read. Like the one so beautifully described this week by Neil Steinberg. A walk is just a.. walk.
  • I have little else to say this week – except please don’t go on any unnecessary journeys to top-secret military bases.
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Week Notes

Week 3: Roast Beef

  • My daughter stood on the scales and asked if the displayed figure was the weight of her whole body or just her feet, which is a reasonable question really.
  • I can hear my backup disks writing data when I wake up in a morning. You can’t do that with SSDs.
  • There was a lot of lot of garden maintenance this week.
  • I discovered that my bank can show me the total I have spent at a retailer – thus this role of shame from the past eleven months:
    • £359.55 at Greggs
    • £70.73 at Cooplands Bakers
    • £707.99 at Amazon (to which my daughter exclaimed ‘think of all the stuff you could have bought with that!’ and all I could think of was the stuff on my Amazon Wishlist)
    • £166.60 at McDonalds
  • We had family round for lunch at the weekend. I cooked roast beef for six people and it wasn’t a complete disaster.
  • I’m in an XMPP chat room where one of the young participants is doing an ad-hoc trip around Europe. Someone asked where he was at and the response was ‘Cycling to Denmark’. We all accepted this as a perfectly normal thing. The internet is sometimes a wonderful place.
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Week Notes

Week 2

  • I have moved the 43 bags of mud to my front garden, bringing them closer to their eventual but yet to be decided destination.
  • I threw caution to the wind and installed the iOS 13 beta on my iPhone and iPad. It’s a bit rough around the edges. Dark mode is nice but I don’t know why people wet their pants about it.
  • My RSS feed has been spewing out all sorts of content that shouldn’t be in it. Sorry about that. I have never professed to know what I’m doing.
  • Blog discovery is broken, but this Google-fu works okay for finding search terms within blogs: inurl:/blog/ [search term]
  • The domain name that this blog sits under has changed to reflect the title. Everything should work as normal.
  • We had lunch with friends of ours today. They’ve just bought a house which has a large and elaborate pond in the back garden. They intended to fill it in but it has since been occupied by a pair of horny frogs and a multitude of their children. We gazed upon this microcosm of life for quite some time. Amongst the tadpoles I spotted one that was in some weird stage of development – possessing a long, functioning tail as well as fully grown legs. The poor thing looked like it didn’t know what to do with this surprising amount of limbs. It couldn’t swim properly because its tail would get in the way or inadvertently change the intended trajectory – but it just carried on, doing the best that it could, muddling through to some sort of destination but possibly not the one that it intended. Sometimes I feel like that frog.
  • ☀️🕶⛱

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Week Notes

Week 1: Blue Rinse

  • On Monday morning my work laptop spent forty three minutes installing ‘essential updates’. I took this as an indication of how the rest of the week would progress.
  • I also have 43 large bags of mud in my back garden.
  • Amazon have announced an updated Kindle Oasis. I had an Oasis but sold it to get a Kobo Forma. I’m happy with the Forma but having considered the pros and cons for about ten seconds I’ve decided that I’ll buy the new Oasis. I’m a slave to consumerism.
  • Boris Johnson is going to be Prime Minister. I’ve come to terms with it.
  • I’ve been reading Wolf Hall for three weeks. Three. Weeks.
  • On Friday I saw an old lady with a blue rinse. For some reason this made me happy.

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Week Notes

Walking

I used to live in a small town where nothing was much more than an hour away on foot. If I didn’t walk, I cycled. I was in pretty good physical condition. That was until I moved to a small city, bought a motorbike and eventually a car. The car is an expensive luxury, but incredibly convenient. The downside is that it became my default way of getting around, and before long my jeans didn’t fit and climbing the stairs at work was more tiring than it should be.

Changes at work over the past couple of years have seen me driving a lot more than normal – around eighteen thousand miles a year and sometimes for four or five hours day. I basically became completely sedentary without realising. I did realise that I completely hate driving. Thankfully since the end of last year I no longer need to drive so much, so I started to think of ways that I could reduce my car usage further. I bought a folding bike, thinking that I could replace some petrol powered miles with foot powered ones. This was not entirely successful.

This week I tried to walk my commute. Google said its only two and a half miles, which seemed doable, so I marched past my car this morning and headed in the direction of town. My commute is not particularly interesting by car. It is equally uninteresting on foot. It takes me past a long row of terraced houses, a huge car park, a railway crossing, alongside the Victorian cemetery and then on to Spring Bank; a melting pot of takeaways, off-licences, newsagents and houses of multiple occupation. I discovered that there are a surprising number of drunk people around at 8am on a weekday morning. I was a bit scared that I was going to be robbed. It rained a little.

My carefully formulated plan was to walk to work and get the bus back. The singular flaw in my carefully formulated plan was leaving my debit card at home and being unable to obtain my bus fare. So I walked home too.

The journey was around forty minutes each way. It can take me longer than that driving at peak time, and I saved the money that I would have spent on fuel and parking. Theoretically, it’s a no brainer – there’s no practical reason to use the car on days where I’m working from the office. But the car still feels more convenient and it’s that psychological hump that needs beating down.

Anyway, I’m very tired and I need to iron my clothes for work tomorrow. I think I’ll go in the car. Best not overdo things.