This website is a continuation of Digital evidence that Bruce has a life (my CSS/HTML photoblog) and Just another bipedal sack of DNA and neuroses, because that’s what humans are (my original blog). Posts from Just another… have now been copied to this blog, so that I can eventually get out of LiveJournal altogether.
2020 started off fairly rubbish for Bruce and his family. Thanks to Elly for keeping him sane-ish! Then we all got hassled by lockdown. Bruce and Elly are both very grateful that they have indoor jobs with no heavy listing. Or, indeed, jobs at all.
Elly’s workload at her company (Glen Shuraig Consulting) goes, er, from strength to strength. It’s a lot easier than being a civil servant would be right now. Elly asks that we take a moment to remember all the fantastic work being done by civil servants. It’s much less recognised than the fantastic work being done by staff in the NHS and the care system, but it’s still really important, and people have been working under huge pressure all year.
Meanwhile, Bruce continues to enjoy being a part-time academic at Edinburgh Napier University; minutes secretary and IT-wonk at three Edinburgh Community Councils (Leith Central, Leith Harbour & Newhaven, New Town & Broughton – he doesn’t live in any of those areas) and at LeithChooses participatory budgeting scheme, and even doing some commercial web-design. He continues to rant into the internet via this website.
Travel has been rather limited. (Bruce has only been on campus three times since March; Elly give up her desk in a shared office in town.) Neither of us have driven to Barnard Castle, so Elly’s eyesight must be OK. (Bruce doesn’t drive.) We had planned to go to a hobbit-house in the Netherlands in April 2020, but clearly that got squelched. We hope to go in April 2021 instead – we badly miss Euro-asphalt and Doppelespressos in local-cafés. Also, Bruce plans to apply for a post-doc position in Krems, Austria when all the ‘rona-horror is over. So he has been trying to improve his German with the aid of a teacher from Austria. He is jealous that she and her ‘Schatzi’ (look it up!) have just moved to Bali!
Both Bruce and Elly have been spinning (indoor cycling), dancing on the pedals at LifesCycle’s live classes via FaceBook. Elly is better at attending – and spinning – than Bruce.
She’s better at most things, Bruce says.
Elly says Bruce is just suffering from imposter syndrome.
Bruce says that’s just a fancy way of saying he doesn’t have enough self-confidence.
Elly says we should stop this debate now for the benefit of everyone’s sanity.)
Ah well, that’s almost it for 2020. Here’s hoping 2021 is better. (If it’s going to be worse, please just count us out.)
Love from Bruce and Elly
I just found this in my files from when I was recovering from serious illness in late 2016. My tastes haven’t changed much since then. NB I don’t currently plan to go away soon – too much living to do still.
Songs for Bruce’s funeral and/or wake
Links in song-titles are to YouTube videos, just so you know what the songs are. At the actual event, use the original vinyl or CD, not the Youtube versions.
and other ramblings?
|Pigs on the wing (part 1)||Pink Floyd||Animals||Classic intro
Pigs on the wing parts 1 and 2 must begin and end the proceedings.
|Advertisement (another intentional irrelevant suicide)||Roy Harper||Whatever happened to Jugula?||Sound effects!|
|Decades||Joy Division||Closer||This song has always taken me places.|
|Drugs for everybody||Roy Harper||The dream society||Generosity|
|Hope||Roy Harper||Whatever happened to Jugula?||Because there has to be some.|
|The final cut||Pink Floyd||The final cut||One of the ultimate expressions of my paranoia
Don’t use both The final cut and Not now John – both would be too gloomy.
|Miss Europa Disco Dancer||Manic Street Preachers||Know your enemy||An alternative to the Dambusters’ March.
Use the Youtube version ONLY IF you show the video.
|Not now John||Pink Floyd||The final cut||The other ultimate expression of my paranoia
(If using Not now John, it MUST be the album version, i.e. with swearing.)
|Boogeyman||Motörhead||Rock and roll||Gotta have some Motörhead, and this has a brilliant intro by Lemmy|
|The lord’s prayer||Roy Harper||Lifemask||20 minutes of Roy’s finest, from a time when he nearly died|
|Ease||PiL||Album||It just rocks!|
|You can have it all||Kaiser Chiefs||Employment||Because I won’t need anything anymore|
|The masses against the classes||Manic Street Preachers||Forever delayed||Class struggle!|
|Change||Lightning Seeds||Jollification||Happy, skip-along pop|
|Faster||Manic Street Preachers||The holy bible||An antidote to happy, skip-along pop. Possibly the finest Manics song.
Do NOT use the Chemical Brothers’ remix from Forever Delayed.
|It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)||REM||Document||Something more populist and upbeat|
|Echoes||Pink Floyd||Meddle||Because it’s just brilliant.
If possible, use the version from Live in Pompeii.
|Pigs on the wing (part 2)||Pink Floyd||Animals||Classic outro – we’ll look after each other|
Today is the last full day for a while when I can sit on the old bog-seat in the garden, smoking my wotsits off. It may also be the last day for a while that I ride Nikita the folding bike. So here are some celebratory photos.
Hence some questions, mostly for my Napier and community council colleagues:
- Should I bring Nikita back to Scotland with me?
- Should I keep on wearing kilts in Scotland?
- If so, with or without tent-slippers?
Today was mum’s funeral. She was cremated at Wyre Forest Crematorium, after a service wonderfully led by Reverend Dr David Southall. Click either graphic to see the order of service at full-size (PDF).
The photo on the front is from my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding. The photo on the back is from when we arranged for mum to drive a coach for one of her birthdays. She had let slip that she had always wanted to try this when taking her pupils on school trips.
Thanks to lockdown, there were only 10 mourners: Ian and Pamela (my brother and sister-in-law), Susan (my sister), Elly (my wife) and I, two very close neighbours, two other family friends and Stephanie Senter of Worcester Scout Active Support. We all look forward to a post-lockdown celebration of mum’s life, to which we can invite her friends from all around the world. Continue reading
Today I finally got time to go out on Nikita the folding bike. (Well, a bit further than to the local shop to buy tobacco, which I did yesterday.)
The first ride was to the post office in the next village, to post a large letter to one of my mother’s pension providers and to try to pay some cheques into my Smile (online only) bank account. I couldn’t do the latter because I don’t have any paying-in slips. However, it did give me time on my own to have acrylics about recent events.
Here are the cyclemeter maps: click the screenshots to see the data:
This evening, LifesCycle had one of their regular online (Facebook live) spins. Elly used the exercise bike here at the ‘circus’, while I took Nikita out into the lanes just outside Worcester’s northwest corner. I only managed 7·68 miles, partly due to setting off slightly late and getting home before the class finished, and partly due to stopping to adjust the saddle. Oh my bahookie! But it was lovely cycling in the sunshine, seeing the trees, fields, old-style farmhouse and freaking people out by wearing my camouflage kilt, Lifescycle cycling jersey, a buff and grunting by on a small folding bike. Hah!
In the second week of March, my mother was transferred from the Alexandra hospital in Redditch to Worcester City Hospital on 13 March. This was apparently a ‘rehab’ hospital: her medical issues were under sufficient control for her to be moved on from a general medical ward. By this time I was back in Edinburgh, to keep my cold away from mum and to try to get back to normality, whatever that is.
As some of you know, I may need to go to the parental abode with very little notice. So here’s what I have with me almost all the time.
Before you ask, I have spare clothes at the parental abode.
This post is to say why I’ve been more or less off-line for a while, to thank people for their support and most importantly to thank my family for a fabulous birthday present.
As some of my reader might know, I’ve been in Worcester since late January, because my mother is in hospital and so she and my sister need support. It’s not been fun, but it has been made much easier by my ever-wonderful wife, eleanor.scot (aka @corrieshore). Huge thanks are also due to my colleagues at Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre for Social Informatics, LeithChooses, Leith Central CC, Leith Harbour & Newhaven CC and New Town & Broughton CC for their patience and support – thank you all!
I’ve been quite dependent on public transport to visit my mum. Journeys take a minimum of 90 minutes: bus to Worcester city centre, then an hour by bus directly to the hospital – or over an hour by train (with two changes) to Redditch, then another bus to the hospital. Coming back is complicated – and made more expensive – by direct buses not running after 4pm and buses from Worcester city centre to the house not running after 6:30pm. (They don’t run at all on Sundays!) And of course it’s all been made much less fun by the flooding.
I need to thank eleanor.scot and my brother for many lifts, especially when the hospital called me and him in at 1am one morning. Hairy in several ways!
But there is a point to this post!
eleanor.scot understood that I need an easy way to travel in Worcester that doesn’t involve bringing Lev Davidovitch Bikestein here. His home is Edinburgh, although he does love European jaunts and he has been known to take me from Birmingham New St station to Worcester. Add to that it’s just a PITA to book bike-spaces on trains. So ever-wonderful eleanor.scot has bought me a folding bike for my birthday! Accessories are from my mother, sister and brother.
‘Nikita’ is a Raleigh Evo-2 with 20″ wheels and 7 derailleur gears. (He gets his name because Mr Kruschev folded under pressure from Mr Kennedy.) Here are photos of unboxing to final assembled beast, and a video of our first ride.