Getting older!

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.)

screenshot of cycle-route around Edinburgh

Bruce and Elly’s 2020 – the EZ-read version

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

Spinning through Worcestershire

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:

cycle to Hallow post office

Out

cycle from Hallow post office

back

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!

cycle route through Worcestershire

spin-cycle!

My bug-out kit

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
  • passport
  • iPhone with attached short USB to lighting cable
  • wallet
  • regular medications
    • fast-acting insulin
    • long-lasting insulin
    • glucose tablets
    • amitriptyline
    • aspirin
    • atorvastatin
    • sertraline
  • irregular medicines
    • nicotine patches
    • e-cigarette
    • ibuprofen
  • pens
  • spork
  • tooth-brush
  • Napier ID and business cards
  • waterproofs
  • laptop and power-cable
  • paper notebook
  • electronica pouch
    • laser-pointer [1]
    • USB 2/3 to ethernet adaptor
    • miniDisplayPort to VGA, HDMI, DVI adaptor
    • USB-C to USB-2/3, VGA, HDMI adaptor [2]
    • 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 [3]

Before you ask, I have spare clothes at the parental abode.

[1] because I’m an academic, not necessarily to aid bug-out

[2] because a visiting lecturer once needed such an adaptor to connect his laptop to a Napier projector

[3] mostly because it also has 4 USB 2/3 power-ports

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

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