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!
So here I am trying to spin on a cranky old exercise bike! Click the image to see the movie.
A follow-on from ‘Family misfortunes encore’ and ‘My bug-out kit’ …
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.
In my pouch/bumbag
In my pannier or rucksack
- tobacco, cigarette papers and at least one lighter
- iPhone with attached short USB to lighting cable
- regular medications
- fast-acting insulin
- long-lasting insulin
- glucose tablets
- irregular medicines
- nicotine patches
- Napier ID and business cards
- laptop and power-cable
- paper notebook
- electronica pouch
- laser-pointer 
- USB 2/3 to ethernet adaptor
- miniDisplayPort to VGA, HDMI, DVI adaptor
- USB-C to USB-2/3, VGA, HDMI adaptor 
- two USB-C to USB 2/3 adaptors
- USB 2/3 power plug
- HDMI cable
- car cigarette-lighter to USB2/3 power adaptor
- two pairs of Bluetooth headphones
- high-capacity USB battery
- bluetooth mouse
- 2-meter USB to lightning cable
- UK to EU, Australia, US power adaptor 
Before you ask, I have spare clothes at the parental abode.
 because I’m an academic, not necessarily to aid bug-out
 because a visiting lecturer once needed such an adaptor to connect his laptop to a Napier projector
 mostly because it also has 4 USB 2/3 power-ports
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.
undo first layer
the bike bits
beware – small parts
with lock and cary-bag
first ride! (movie)
second ride (movie)
Some of my reader might know that my mother has been in hospital. She was taken into Worcester Royal hospital on Friday 24 January due to severe abdominal pain, and had some procedures on Friday 31 January. These had to be delayed while various routine medications were still active. She was then transferred to the Alexandra hospital in Redditch. The Alex is the home of the specialist unit in Worcestershire that is best placed to handle my mother’s conditions.
I’ve been in Worcester since the afternoon of Monday 27 January. I’ve had to leave a lot of work in the very capable hands of colleagues at Napier, £eithChooses, Leith Central Community Council, Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council, New Town & Broughton Community Council and Community Councils Together on Trams. (I am doing some CC work remotely as I get snippets of time.) Huge thanks to all concerned! Continue reading
Elly has been in Bucharest since very early on Tuesday. I flew out to meet her yesterday (Friday). My flight was due to take off at 19:00 but took off after 19:30, after a sudden gate-change from 4 to 18, because the place was at gate 17. A 3 hour 30 minute flight landed me in Bucharest Otopeni airport around 1am Romanian time. Here’s what happened since… Continue reading
I’ve just applied for some digital democracy work. (Yes, that is a hint!) My covering email (slightly adapted below) says I can do some stuff.
I’m passionate about democracy and IT, especially in hyperlocal democracy (community councils, parish councils, and similar).
Professionally, I’m a part-time social informatics researcher at Edinburgh Napier University, concentrating on use of the internet by, and information literacy in, hyperlocal democracy. See more at https://www.napier.ac.uk/people/bruce-ryan
I’m also web-weaver, minutes secretary and general IT supporter for Leith Central, Leith Harbour & Newhaven and New Town & Broughton Community Councils in Edinburgh.
I’m also a member of the £eithChooses participatory budgeting process steering group, concentrating on written communications.
Prior to returning to academia in 2010, I was production manager at a Scottish educational publisher, running a fair proportion of the IT as well as delivering finished projects on time and in budget.