Family misfortunes encore une fois! (redacted version)

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.

Continue reading

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.

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

10 April: Napier to Texel

A first!

I gave my first ever presentation to students today: briefing them about how I would mark some of their work. I think it was successful, and the students asked some incisive questions.

Then the travels began: 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!