A boy and his new bicycle!

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.

Thank you!

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!

Travel woes

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.

The box

undo first layer

contents

contents unboxed

the bike bits

beware – small parts

nearly there

checking gear-changes

decorated

with lock and cary-bag

first ride! (movie)

second ride (movie)

Bruce of all trades

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 CentralLeith 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.

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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

Lelystad to Zaandam; zedding in Zaandam

We had decided to finished the holiday with a few days in Zaandam. We came here in late 2016: here’s our stories from then. So yesterday (Sunday 8 September) was taken up by a relatively long (42 miles) trip. No rain, little wind but much wiggling: https://cyclemeter.com/dd47ea6f33590baa/Cycle-20190908-1049-80348. I’d been keen to see the completely reclaimed countryside of Flevoland, and got it.

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street-names en route

Miles of straight, smooth tarmac made this a pretty smooth run.

crossing from Flevoland to Muiden (mainland)

Crossing from Flevoland to Muiden (mainland)

 

Today has been a deliberately lazy day: breakfast,  shopping, coffee, more shopping, more coffee, dozing, cinema, sleep  Tomorrow we might be energetic!

Our hotel in Zaandam

3rd September: if it’s Tuesday, it’s washing day

Elly realised that marinas may have laundry facilities for customers berthing there. The interesting question was whether random visitors could use these facilities. So we went to Oudeschild to find out, and then on to de Waal to encounter a museum of local farming. Sheep seem to fulfil more roles than just eating and being eaten.

local fire-engine

Brandweer Elly!

 

 

2nd September: to den Burg, then de Koog

Today was a shopping and sightseeing day. Cyclemeter map for now, photos below.

Den Burg sheep-market

Sheep in Den Burg market

The White Angel – sells all manner of Texel wool

how to use a sheep

At the ‘Flora’ shipwreck and beach-combing museum

A nation of cyclists!

Hope to auction fish

Elly gaming

outside exhibits

Jutter boat, previously used by Texel jutter Sil Boon. (A jutter is a beachcomber or scavenger.)

about the next few photos

lifeboat capsule

inside the lifeboat capsule

lifeboat capsule pilot’s station

inside the lifeboat capsule

about the lifeboat capsule’s air supply

ship interior

mammoths!

mammoth tusk

wine, women and song?

rubber gloves

penicillin

whiskey galore

Aye-aye captain!

snail-flour!

de Koog beach

de Koog beach

de Koog beach