2020 weeknotes 29 and 30…and 31

I was feeling all smug recently thinking to myself that I could rebrand my weeknotes, as sporadic as they seem, as fortnotes. Geddit? Fortnightly weeknotes? And yet here I am nearly another fortnight behind, and ‘monthnotes’ just reaks of “HEY GUYS WOO SORRY FOR NOT UPDATING IN A WHILE BEEN SO BUSY THERE” so I’ll just keep my spoonerisms to myself and crack on with the updates.

Been getting out and about as much as possible in the last few weeks:

  • went camping for one night in Buckinghamshire, which was a nice little test of our bikepacking / cycle touring setup and the equipment we plan to use in Cornwall soon – as well as involving taking the train. Really glad we did this as we’d seen in the forecast that storms were due and we nearly bailed, but by the time we’d had dinner and the rain showers had passed, the sky was clearing and completely clear by sunset which meant for some great stargazing and a really calm, quiet night – heard owls
  • did a section (two, actually) of the London LOOP for the first time in more than a year – being out of the city was just gorgeous – spring has sprung in the countryside without us and although that is sad, it is just wonderful to be able to step right out into a summer that looks so lush and healthy – walked from Cockfosters to Epping Forest at Chingford/ This also involved using the Tube and the Overground, which was the first time since all of this so it was a good way to break the seal
  • tried to keep up the running – my brief foray into running twice a day for a week or so was good for the endorphins but I have to listen to my body and run 3 or 4 times a week, tops. I did get very good at laundry, though
  • took a multi-modal trip to Kent yesterday (bikes to St Pancras then High Speed train to Ebbsfleet, then nice shared-use paths most of the way) to see M’s grandparents and spent a lovely lazy few hours in their garden – wonderful
  • Friday night took swingball to a local park for a picnic with two friends – we batted and drank and ate while the most ridiculous sunset unfurled itself around us, with red fluffy clouds over Wembley and, in the opposite part of the sky, a sunset rainbow, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before

Work trickles on. We’re all doing fine mostly working from home still, but our usual summer schedule – which tends to be our busiest time – has slipped and a lot of what we expect to do in August now looks like it will be done in September. Which is absolutely fine in the grand scheme of things.

After an anxious few months where we thought the flat that we rent was to be sold, we found out incredibly slowly that we were in fact fine to renew for another year. Weeks of not quite knowing what was happening really tore my nerves (and fingernails) to shreds but it’s nice to have a bit of certainty about something.

I treated myself to a Kindle Paperwhite when they were on offer recently. My 2012ish model with flappy buttons just won’t seem to die – which is brilliant, obviously – but as well as reading on it, I also send articles, read PDFs and try and use Kindle-friendly RSS readers (thanks Reabble!) which are all things that newer Kindles just do a lot more smoothly. The faster refresh rate and higher resolution makes zipping around PDFs much nicer. I also read in bed a lot and liked the idea of having a backlit screen.

Apart from random articles and blog posts I send to myself, I was egged on by the recent BBC adaptation of The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton to finally finish reading the darn book which I hadn’t managed to before. I had to start over as it had been four years or so since my last attempt. I’m about a quarter of the way through and, of course, I love the vivid, descriptive prose, and all the mention of NZ’s goldrush and life in early NZ settlements and references to those early settler newspapers is just bliss. But damn the early chapters are long. I’ll get there though. I will.

I scanned a bunch of old photographs recently and it was just as much fun seeing old pictures of friends and family from 20-30 years ago as it was the settings – particularly pictures which featured a large portion of the image showing, say, what my lounge looked like when I was about ten years old. The books on the shelves, the weird… chintz?… that my parents seemed to hoard. The reminder that fashions and furnisihings are often a decade or two late – my lounge looks like it’s from the 1970s but it’s like 1992. And the tech! The giant telly. VHS tapes everywhere. And the best bit: a decent shot of the main computer I remember growing up with. A little Packard Bell 486.

I have written a little just-for-me memoir of the computers I have used in my lifetime and that’s the one I perhaps remember most fondly, but conversely know so little about. So it’s very useful to see a photo of it in situ on the desk surrounded by floppy disks and the remote control for the CD player and other stuff. All these contextual clues.

Have been getting my bike ready for our trip to Cornwall next week. Taking the bikes on the train down to Penzance and will be bikepacking/cycletouring/camping around. Moving on every few days. Carrying all our equipment.

I’ve replaced the kickstand on my bike, which has given it a great new lease of life because, stupidly, I’d let it become one of those components that slowly got worse over time, the bike listing at a worrying angle and being unable to stand with any sort of luggage. Now, a ten quid part and some easy twists of the multi-tool later, she’s as a good as new.

I’ve also ordered a front pannier rack and some new bags – my first Ortliebs! – which I now need to try and install. If that works, my bike will have a bunch more storage space and hopefully feel more stable than when she’s got all the luggage (and me) weighing down the rear end.

Am looking forward to snapping some more film with my Minolta Hi-Matic 7s on that trip, and will be taking my Canon dSLR as well, particularly as I’ve now installed the Magic Lantern firmware that breathes a bit of life into the old 1100D’s bones – primarily for me this is focus peaking, which displays via live view where exactly in your image is in focus. This will be great for any manual lenses I use with the Canon, like the lush Ensinor 24mm f2.8 I picked up a few months back and am really enjoying.

I’m not sold on this current website theme/design. The general overview is nice but some of the fonts feel a bit thin and light, and the differentiation between URLs is not as bold as I’d prefer.