So this month I reached a semi-significant age-milestone. I’m not sure how I feel about this, except that the next fully significant milestone hints at potential retirement. How did I get to be this old? Actually, scrap the ‘retirement’ idea. I enjoy my Napier, community council and LeithChooses work, so I want to carry on with all of it. (But maybe I can reduce it a bit so I have more time for the much better half and me.)
Anyway, celebrations consisted of the first cycle this year with the much better half and not one but two ‘birthday-burgers’.
Here’s a screenshot of the inevitable cyclemeter map. (The actual map states when my birthday was, so I’m not linking to it.)
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.
smoking the world away
the bog-seat and Nikita the folding bike
Hence some questions, mostly for my Napier and community council colleagues:
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.
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.
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
My reward for all of this is nut roast with roasted potatoes, onions, sprouts and carrots. You have been warned!
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.)
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
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.)
proofreading and commenting on a tender written by my ever-wonderful better half.