Alkmaar ambulations

Hello world! We are in Alkmaar’s main square, by a canal. So stereotypical, I suppose, but I am loving still being able to have such holidays. Elly is faster than me, and my left foot still tingles if I sit down too long doing nothing to distract my mind. (Hence blogging helps me ease tingles as well as being able to say hello to my audience.)

So where are we saying hello from? Well the canal is called Voordam, and we are in the main square next to an about-to-close cheese museum. So that’s a thing to do tomorrow, as is returning to this square tomorrow morning because there will be a cheese market. Personally, I am looking forward to miles of tarmac at my admittedly slow pace. However, I am currently not wearing Lycra, just sitting and enjoying.

Not many miles today: here’s the Cyclemeter map: https://cyclemeter.com/dd47ea6f33590baa/Cycle-20190829-1012-08925

There has been no rain, unlike yesterday. We got wet yesterday on the way to North Shields, then froze waiting to be let on the ferry. That was after the traditional 10 miles from Newcastle: https://cyclemeter.com/dd47ea6f33590baa/Cycle-20190828-1318-84841, and of course earlier the fun cycle along Princess St: https://cyclemeter.com/dd47ea6f33590baa/Cycle-20190828-1020-86136

So total cycling so far is 32.5 miles. That’s enough for now! Photos are below the cut. Continue reading

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16 April: Random Bozo has had enough!

The last thing I need after spending an extra night and lots of extra money is more hassle. So that’s what I got: my hold bag has not arrived in Edinburgh. Graphic ‘bah!’
The office at the baggage hall doesn’t handle FlyBumble baggage issues, I’m told after waiting 20 minutes, so I should go to the Swissport desk, which is outside the baggage hall. I won’t be able to get back in if I leave the hall. Swissport have 3 staff on duty but only one is handling FlyBumble issues. She is occupied dealing with a couple whose medication has gone awol. Eventually they leave very dissatisfied

I understand why when I’m told my bag is on a later flight, due to ‘failure to present’. Something in the staff-member’s tone implies this is my fault, so I ask what I did wrong. Apparently nothing, just that my bag didn’t arrive at my flight in time to be loaded on it. I’m not surprised: my flight to Manchester was late arriving after a delayed take-off at Schiphol.

I’m told that while my bag might be delivered to my home this evening, this isn’t guaranteed. It might be delivered tomorrow morning. I am sweaty, sleep-deprived, in pain and not in a good mood. You have been warned!

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

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

Why is Bruce grinding his teeth? update

Clearly there is a lot I’m not going to say in this public forum.

  • On-going foot-pain after travelling on many buses and trains in the past few days.
  • Today’s appointment with CAB advisor was postponed because she was off sick. She says she is likely to ‘drag herself in’ tomorrow. So I’m hopefully meeting with her to prepare my sister’s PIP appeal tomorrow lunchtime, then going to hospital to visit my mother.
    • Just now I feel very unprepared for the appeal.
  • She is still in a hospital over an hour away from her home by bus or train.
    • Treatment for her conditions has started, now that tests taken on Friday or Saturday of last week have filtered through to the relevant specialists.
    • However, understandably there’s no indication yet of when she might be allowed home or moved to a hospital in her home town. That brings up some fears.
    • However, she is lucid and chatty, and very much herself
    • Also the staff at her current hospital are clearly very caring, and have time to put this into practice.

Nighty-night!