Weeknotes 2023-30

I had this week off work, with no particular plans other than various bits of long-overdue gardening, tidying etc (most of which remain undone). I did do a small amount of work in the garden on Monday, namely cutting back the wisteria that was making its annual bid for dominion over the back of the house and the chimney. This entailed the use of three of my five ladders (step, extension and roof), and I survived another year without a Rod Hull/Tony Hayers incident, and I now have light entering my bedroom again. I was, however, bitten on the foot by a grasshopper, which fell into my shoe. It was surprisingly (but briefly) painful. It also seems that the ivy which has established itself in various bits of the garden is now making a play for control of the south wall of the house.

Then on Sunday, feeling slightly guilty for not having ticked off more chores, I thought I’d have a go at dismantling the chicken run that’s been sitting empty for about five years. As it turned out, that was optimistic, but after an hour I had at least cleared enough brambles and other weeds to be able to get close enough to think about the actual dismantling.

There’s a chicken run under there somewhere

On Monday I went to give my 61st “nearly armful” of blood, having timed the appointment to coincide with the beginning of a gap in the racing season. I was pleasantly amused, in this age of stranger danger paranoia, by a woman who was there with a small toddler in tow, and when summoned to the cubicles at the back of the hall for the interrogation and Hb test just said “I’ll leave her here. She’ll be fine – she’s got her colouring to do”.

I got a car insurance reminder for the Roadster, which I still haven’t got rid of, and discovered that OneCall (do not recommend) automatically set up a recurring payment, and don’t allow you to cancel via their website once they’ve sent the reminder. After about 45 minutes queuing for a web chat, I finally got through and persuaded them to cancel the policy.

On Wednesday evening we had our annual club “Two Rivers” race/social, which involves starting at handicapped intervals from Landguard Fort (at the edge of the Stour/Orwell estuary), and choosing our own route to run to Felixstowe Ferry (near the mouth of the Deben), before retiring to the pub. Still tired and a bit short of red blood cells, I was definitely overtaken by more people than I passed, but at least I didn’t come last.

The end of the Two Rivers run

On Thursday afternoon we had a work trip to Avid climbing wall for some bouldering. I used to do a fair bit of climbing in my youth, but got out of the habit after moving to East Anglia, apart from a couple of pre-lockdown visits to the same place. I don’t seem to be much more incompetent than I used to be, but it quickly took its toll on my arms! Then home for a quick shower before heading to the beer festival, in St Clement’s church, which is in the process of being converted into an arts venue. They had a decent range of beers, and the ones I tried were all good, although annoyingly I dropped my glass while transporting it home on my bike.

I finally got round to raising an issue against a dependency that was failing to compile under Elixir 1.15 on OEL7, then realised that the error was actually when compiling a dependency of that dependency, then finally worked out that it was just that the 1.15 compiler fails on that OS (it tries to hash source file contents using an algorithm that isn’t available), and it just happened that I was seeing errors based on the first file it decided to compile when building the dependency tree. After asking on a forum, someone pointed out that this should be fixed in the next release, so if I’d just kept up the “wait for an upgrade and see whether it goes away” approach for a little longer I could have saved myself some effort.

I bought some bifocal running glasses, so next time I go orienteering or on a trail run where I need to read directions I’ll only have myself to blame for getting lost.

Badger cat brought a mouse into the house on Saturday. I tried to get it off him, but he hid behind the settee and it looked dead, so I decided to finish my breakfast before sorting it out. When I went back to see what was left he (the cat, not the mouse) was pawing at a box of bits, and it turned out the mouse was very much alive and had taken refuge in there. I managed to catch it and release it outside, apparently unharmed. I don’t think the cats spotted me, because they were still sniffing around in the lounge.

Rescued mouse

On Saturday I did parkrun as usual (staggering round in a mediocre 22:19 with no racing excuses this week), then quickly back out again for a 10k to the pub for Merv’s 70th birthday (it was a half marathon for his 65th, so I’m looking forward to a 5k in five years’ time).

I finally got round to ordering a new wildlife camera after my old one stopped working a while ago. Then, in a classic case of “things a sensible person would have done in the opposite order”, I tried taking the old one apart to see if I could fix it. The most likely culprit was the cable from the battery box to the main board, and predictably there was no voltage on the circuit board side. More surprisingly, there was no voltage on the battery side either. I popped some new batteries in (which I 100% definitely tried when it first stopped working), and hey presto, it fired up perfectly. Fortunately I was able to cancel the order for the new camera in in time!

I finished the weekend with a somewhat damp run to get my July “clock tower of the month” photo. This was entirely my fault for: (a) deciding to set myself this pointless task, rather than just calling it a day after last year’s hollow trees; (b) leaving it until nearly the end of the month; and (c) having added the complication of requiring the clocks to be showing the time corresponding to thee month number (ie 7, and unsurprisingly I wasn’t up in time to catch 7am). I also ran over the new, not yet officially open, and seemingly over-engineered foot/cycle bridge that replaces the pedestrian level crossing where they’re busy ruining the Fonnereau Way with hundreds of new houses.

Clock Tower of the Month
Massive new bridge

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