Bouncing in Bucharest (part 1)

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

What has Bruce been up to this weekend?

I’m not quite sure why I wanted to record this. Perhaps it’s to assuage some of my guilt at not being in the peoples’ vote/anti-brexit march yesterday. Anyway, this has been a relaxing weekend so far.

My reward for all of this is nut roast with roasted potatoes, onions, sprouts and carrots. You have been warned!

Saturday morning

  • Spinning at LifesCycle. We cheated slightly by travelling by bus, due to the rain. I usually prefer to cycle there and back, as warm-up and cool-down from the lovely madness. (Elly and I are on the front-left bikes of that Facebook video.)

Saturday afternoon

  • much-needed coffee and lunch
  • catching up with personal and family finances, sadly neglected for a couple of weeks due to work-pressures
  • washing our manky spinning gear. That’s the only downside!
  • tidying my desk area after weeks of needing to let rubbish build up

Saturday evening

  • avoiding watching Strictly Come Dancing
  • writing a presentation on a project I’m about to finish, so I can demonstrate the outcomes to a high-powered audience. (I think I should not say what the project is just now, but I will blow my own trumpet as hard as I can when the work goes live.)

Sunday morning

  • proofreading and commenting on a tender written by my ever-wonderful better half.
  • much-needed coffee and lunch

Sunday afternoon

Practical Democracy Project session 8

As usual, this post is an edited version of my tweets from the event. My asides are in blockquotes. Most links are to Twitter presences.

Good afternoon Twitter. I’m at the Practical Democracy Project number 8, in Glasgow’s Tron Theatre. It’s organised by Delib, and has hashtag ‪#PracticalDemocracyProject. I hope to live-tweet so long as my laptop’s battery holds out.

Ben Fowkes is opening ‪#PracticalDemocracyProject number 8. The programme is

  1. An introduction to Delib’s work
  2. Niamh Webster (Scottish Government)
  3. Ali Stoddart (Scottish Parliament)
  4. Vilte Vaitkute (Media Co-op) 
  5. panel session.

Lunch is in there somewhere. There will be a round-up of the event emailed to participants. (I’ll share it how I can.)

Continue reading

Slow and painful

Yesterday I was at Delib‘s Practical Democracy project session 8 in Glasgow. I’ll blog about the event later. However, after several months of almost no exercise, I decided to cycle back to Edinburgh.

Usually, there is a tailwind when cycling this way. However, there was a strong headwind. That partly explains why I took over four hours peddling (over 6 hours including stops) to cycle 43 miles, why my phone’s battery went flat after 35 miles, why I took drink and toilet-breaks every 10 miles, and why my leg-muscles turned to cast iron before I got home. However, most of the explanation is I am a fat, unfit git.

Photos are below the cut. Continue reading

13 April: winding up

So I planned to got to these:

  • Speed Dating: discuss our ideas for a better Europe (10:00 to 10:30)
  • Brexit Breakfast Briefing (10:30 to 11:30)
  • Advanced principles in democracy: let’s challenge basic democracy and find a consensus (12:00 to 2:30)
  • User experience = Supporter engagement: websites for political engagement (13:00 to 14:30)
  • Where to from here? Redesigning democracy (16:00 to 18:00)
  • Festival closing party (20:00 to 22:00)

Here’s how I’ve got on so far! Continue reading

12 April: little to report

I woke around 9am again, staggered to breakfast, and then crashed out again.

I next woke around 3pm, did some shopping, had lunch and then came back to my hotel to blog. You’re reading the results. It’s now 10:40. So I have not done any democracy events today. So sue me – this trip is meant to be a holiday! Part of being away from work (both academic and local democracy) is catching up on sleep. Nighty-night!

11 April: First day of DemocracyAlive!

I woke around 8am UK time, with a stinking hangover. Not fair! I’d not drunk any alcohol. I finally found the online programme for today’s DemocracyAlive! events. I don’t mean it wasn’t online before, just that I’d not made time to read it before now. I decided on going to these events:

  • What public services for the future? Digital Transformation and Low-carbon economy
    (12 noon to 1pm)
  • Festival launch (2pm to 3pm)
  • [Koffiepauze (3pm to 4pm)]
  • Democracy as a culture (4pm to 6pm)
  • Talking Europe with Commissioner Vestager (6pm to 7pm)
  • Talking Europe with Michel Barnier (7pm to 8pm)

Here’s how I got on, mostly recalled from tweets, texts and emails I sent at the time.

Continue reading

My karma has run over my dogma!

It appears I shouldn’t swear online at poor driving, no matter how much it might threaten my life. On my way back from my weekly massage yesterday morning, my left boot accidentally clipped into the pedal, and I couldn’t get it out. I cycled slowly along Comely Bank Avenue and Queensferry avenue, looking for somewhere I could stop and lean against a signpost, fence or wall to extract the boot. No joy, and I eventually came to the traffic lights before Randolph Crescent. They were red.

So I had a choice between trying to lean against a car waiting at the lights, breaking the lights or falling onto the pavement. I chose the latter as the least likely to lead to a strawberry jam episode*. A few people stopped to check whether I was OK, and helped me free my left boot and stand up. I soon felt fine, so I walked home, picked up my kit and cycled on to Napier.

However, I noticed some pain in my ankle after lunch. It got worse over the afternoon, so that I was hobbling very slowly and hardly able to concentrate by 4pm. One of my colleagues saw me limping along the corridor, and offered me a lift home at the end of the day. This involved him going out of his way to deliver me safely to Servants’ Quarters – yet another example of how kind my Napier colleagues are!