Stars and bars

So we are at the hotel 14 Sterren, on Texel. It’s a Saturday afternoon and there is the sound of a wedding in the background. It’s going on at the restaurant in the buildings next to where we are staying. We have had a short but fun ride to get here, and that was yesterday, cycling from Alkmaar to here.

Today’s very short cycles were into the centre of town and back:

Cycling without luggage was welcome. I don’t think we are at the full strength of former years at the moment. That is, we could have done the 36 miles from Alkmaar to our place in Texel in a morning or even the full 58 from IJMuiden to Texel, (i.e. IJMuiden to Alkmaar and Alkmaar to Texel) in a day if we had wanted. But we didn’t want. This is holiday, which means we don’t have to strain our bahookies. Continue reading

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Alkmaar to Texel

vegan breakfast!

central Alkmaar

Central Alkmaar – with weird pano effects

coffee!

random hefflump photo

ferry to Texel

Bruce is windswept and interesting…

… as is Elly

outside of our hotel’s bar on Texel

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

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

Slow and painful

Yesterday I was at Delib‘s Practical Democracy project session 8 in Glasgow. I’ll blog about the event later. However, after several months of almost no exercise, I decided to cycle back to Edinburgh.

Usually, there is a tailwind when cycling this way. However, there was a strong headwind. That partly explains why I took over four hours peddling (over 6 hours including stops) to cycle 43 miles, why my phone’s battery went flat after 35 miles, why I took drink and toilet-breaks every 10 miles, and why my leg-muscles turned to cast iron before I got home. However, most of the explanation is I am a fat, unfit git.

Photos are below the cut. Continue reading

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