Weeknotes 2023-49

The week got off to a good start when I woke up on Monday to find that I hadn’t plugged my phone in properly and it had gone flat and turned itself off. The real problem though was that once I put it on charge and switched it back on it refused to accept my pin. I eventually had to do a factory reset and reload everything from backup (which was fortunately pretty painless, if annoying). This time I didn’t enable “auto-confirm unlock” (where it unlocks when you enter the final digit, rather than having to press enter) – I’m don’t know for sure that was the root of the bug, but I have my suspicions.

Monday night I finally made it to another GoodGym session (most of them have been on Tuesdays lately), and got to wear my 100 shirt at last. Three of us ran up to the Blue Cross centre and helped them repot a bunch of plants in their reception area. I ignored the advice to bring a head torch, but somehow still ended up running in front and warning the better-prepared people of obstacles in the dark section of path.

Tuesday was our work Christmas meal. We did lazer [sic] tag again, and I was rubbish again, then went to The Forge to eat, and finished up in the Nelson. Fortunately, unlike four years to the day previously, we didn’t witness a fight in the latter. More people than usual made it to closing time, but a few of the younger team members seemed strangely unaware of how the last orders and time bells and drinking-up time work!

Having missed the normal club training night on Tuesday because of the meal, the monthly track session was handily scheduled for Wednesday. It was forecast to be cold, so I switched the spikes on my cross country shoes for short ones to avoid any risk of slipping over, which also provided an excuse to cycle there and back instead of running. Unfortunately the back bend was completely covered in frost, so we ended up running on the infield instead.

I felt like I’d run out of excuses for missing TTT (Thursday Tempo Ten), and turned up with two other hardly souls to run the ten miles in pretty miserable weather. Gripper had twisted his ankle and Neil the vicar had a cold, so for once I was able to keep up, at least for the outward leg. We drifted apart on the way back, with me ending up in the middle, and just under 75 minutes. As usual, I felt wiped out afterwards, and was hoping a rest day on Friday would be enough time to recover for parkrun and the ten pub run on Saturday.

Then I remembered it was also the club social “12 pubs of Christmas” run on Friday night, so no rest day after all. This involved using a slightly flaky app that gave us quiz questions once we reached each pub, and a puzzle to solve to reveal the next one. Our team were last to leave, adopted a three on, one off (nine halves) strategy, and were also the last back. Fortunately time wasn’t a factor in the scoring, and it turned out we’d won.


The weather for parkrun was possibly even worse than it had been on Thursday night, with attendance down by about 50% from the week before. After cycling home in the pouring rain I just about had time to get dry and warm before heading back out for the annual Christmas ten pub run (12.8 miles, three pints, seven halves and a sausage roll).

Pub four (I think)

Weeknotes 2023-48

I got a £100 vehicle tax refund for the Roadster, after finally getting round to SORNing it. I’d put it off because I couldn’t find the V5, and begrudged paying £25 for a new one, but was spurred into action by the threat of a £100 fine for not insuring it, under the daft new (OK, 12 years old) rule where you still have to insure a car that you’re not using. At least now I can tell myself I’ve saved £75, though obviously in reality if I’d done it straight away the rebate would have been more and I still wouldn’t have had a fine.

Also, despite this being 2023, it came in the form of a cheque, which means I have to go into town at some point to pay it in.

We had a tiny bit of snow overnight on Thursday, and woke up to a wintry-looking world on Friday. I was nevertheless intending to cycle into work, having not been to the office for a few weeks thanks to a combination of time off and having a cold. Then I heard that the Orwell Bridge had been closed (nothing to do with the weather), which meant that anyone coming from north of town wouldn’t be coming in. I suspected I might be virtually the only person to turn up, which was plenty enough excuse to stay home (and get more work done).

The view I woke up to on Friday

Nothing had thawed out by Saturday, which made for a chilly but firmer underfoot parkrun, but it had warmed up a few degrees by Sunday for the delayed opening round of cross country. The forecast had been implying torrential rain, but it actually wasn’t too bad. Plenty of puddles and sand to run through/round though, but I managed a creditable (for me) 83rd place out of 400-odd.


Weeknotes 2023-47

I’ve had a cold all week, which has been an excuse for laziness. Not that I’m not normally lazy – I just don’t usually have an excuse.

A few of us at work were asked to record short video snippets with some facts about our projects, to be edited into a package for an all hands call. It turned out that the ten seconds or so I did in the office was too long, so I had to rerecord it at home the following day as a single sentence. Naturally this was an excuse to dig out not only the lights I bought when we all went onto Zoom in 2020, but also the green screen that came with them, so I could superimpose myself on a background of the app I was talking about. This all turned out to be a waste of time as they ended up using a short clip from the original version, and thanks to the vagaries of management chains whole thing was presented as “look at the cool stuff the team in Bangalore do”, so that was well worthwhile.

On Saturday I went to see The Meffs. Not seen them before, but they’re in vaguely the same extended universe as other bands I like, and they were playing at The Smokehouse, which is only ten minutes’ cycle away. They were entertaining, as were Noah and the Loners in support (the latter were also terrifyingly young), and I’m glad I remembered my earplugs. I approve of the kind of gig where the headline band are in the crowd for the support act, and vice versa.

The Meffs, joined on stage by Noah and the Loners

I watched the new Doctor Who, despite the unwelcome return of the irritating “bovvered” woman. It seemed largely designed to troll the kind of person who whines about everything being “woke”, and also featured nods to both ET and Gremlins, conspicuous Disney money, and what sounded like an extended game of Space Team.

Progress on my GOOS/Elixir project is slow, but existent. I made some small strides towards interacting with the Scenic app, inasmuch as I can now assert that the displayed status text is as expected, and eventually found an XMPP library that works with the latest versions of Erlang and Elixir, although I did have to fork it to fix a few incompatibilities.


Weeknotes 2023-46

I had a week off work, which I ought to do more often. One day maybe I’ll even go on holiday somewhere.

I made a tentative start to my attempt to work through GOOS in Elixir. I picked Scenic as a GUI framework, then spent quite a while trying to figure out how to exercise it from acceptance tests. After being unable to find an approach which didn’t entail poking around in the internals of process state, I asked about it on the Elixir Forum. The project maintainer replied admitting that it was an area where the framework needs more attention, and indicating that they’d be open to any API suggestions, so it looks like I’ve already found my first yak.

I finally got round to fitting the new (second hand) sunroof that I picked up a few weeks ago. It was quite a faff, with the headlining needing to be removed (but not fitting through the tailgate, so having to be left resting on the seats). Getting the new frame lifted up to the roof and bolted in without a second pair of hands was also a bit tricky, but it’s all done now. I haven’t tested whether it actually opens yet, figuring it’s safer to get through winter first with it solidly shut!

A lightly-attended Run for Beer on Wednesday, with Alec’s work commitments also meaning we ended up with two separate groups converging on the pub from different directions. At least it wasn’t raining this month!

Run for Beer

A few of us from work went to the local bouldering wall on Thursday evening. I didn’t take my chalk that’s older than most of the people there this time though.


On Friday (my birthday) I got the train up to Norwich to see Pet Needs (again) at the Waterfront, supported by Generation Feral and Glitchers.

Pet Needs

Phil came up for his annual birthday weekend visit, and for the second year running I talked him into doing the Hadleigh 5 on Sunday. Not before we’d been out for the traditional beer and curry on Saturday night though (which may have somewhat impacted my performance in the race). Then home for the also traditional fry-up, albeit at about 1pm. It’s the only time I get to use all the rings on my cooker.

All day breakfast

Weeknotes 2023-45

I’ve given up and turned the heating timer on, rather than just occasionally hitting the “+1 hour” button (although I still seem to be spending much of the time sitting round in two jumpers and a hat).

Having got to the point where I could reliably solve a Rubik’s Cube within a minute, the last couple of algorithms I learned seem to have suddenly evaporated from my brain, and I keep getting in a huge muddle and having to more or less start again mid-solve. An early insight into old age, I guess.

A mixed week of running: on Tuesday night at our club training session I managed to stick with a group who are generally much quicker than me, but at the Scenic 7 on Sunday I came in half a minute slower than last year (and even slower than the year before).

Scenic 7 finish line

I randomly decided to start trying to work through the GOOS book in Elixir (despite the latter not really being an OO language). It may come to nothing.


Weeknotes 2023-44

15 years today since Obama was elected. Not exactly the first step on an upward path we all hoped it would be.

I finally caved in and set the heating to come on for a while a couple of times a day. Partly because Badger cat had taken to spending half the day sleeping under my duvet, which I assume was a hint.

On Wednesday afternoon I wandered into the kitchen and happened to spy the paddle from the bread machine (said machine being around ? through its programme). Fortunately it hadn’t actually reached the bake stage yet, so I shoved the paddle through the floury goop onto its spindle, reset the machine and it turned out fine. Worst. Anecdote. Ever.

We had another storm on Thursday. The barometer had dropped by about 30mb or 1″ Hg overnight, but I escaped unscathed again – possibly because I didn’t leave the house all day.

I got a new Chromecast, because it was almost free thanks to the store credit they gave me when I bought my phone, which was about to expire. This one comes with Google TV and a remote, but to be honest that’s not really much more convenient than just controlling it from my phone.

Speaking of my phone, it seems to have suddenly started refusing to work for contactless payments (possibly since upgrading to Android 14). Fortunately the first time it happened I had my wallet with me, which I hardly ever do these days. Annoyingly I don’t know any way to check whether it’s fixed itself other than by trying to buy stuff.

I thought my 17-year-old projector had finally given up the ghost, but it turned out I’d just disturbed a connection in the rats’ nest behind my AV unit. It is really noisy though, and its bulb is on about double its rated lifespan. I think the time has finally come to replace it and the small TV with just one massive TV, now it’s possible to get one bigger than the projector screen for a relatively reasonable sum. Like every purchase decision though, this inevitably leads to endless research and confusion.

I did finally make the decision to upgrade my Garmin from a 645 to an Epix (which I bought second hand from eBay so didn’t cost me quite as much as a new one). The screen is a massive step up from the old one – far more detailed than I can make out without my reading glasses on! It has all manner of probably useless new measurements and metrics too – it’s been generously keeping me on a training status of “productive”, but is balancing that today by telling me that my “training readiness” is in the toilet.


Weeknotes 2023-43

A pretty quiet week as far as I can remember.

I completely forgot about the clock change last night, but thanks to the fact that all the important clocks now set themselves by magic it didn’t cause any issues beyond wondering why I woke up early on Sunday feeling more rested than I expected, and I didn’t turn up anywhere an hour late.

I gave my 62nd unit of blood on Wednesday. For a change I ran there rather than cycling, and may have slightly glossed over my intention to run the two miles home during the health check. As usual though, I didn’t really feel any different afterwards than before.

When I had my flu jab the other week, they also checked my blood pressure, which was apparently borderline high (something like 140/90 I think). They must have passed that information on to my GP, because I got a letter asking me to make an appointment to have it checked again. I haven’t got round to it yet, partly due to laziness and phone-aversion, partly to avoid wasting the NHS’s time, and partly to avoid having to tick the “I’m waiting to see a medical professional” box on the blood donor form. I’ve measured it at home since, and it seems like it’s usually in the 80s, so I’m sure I’m fine (although my dad does have high blood pressure, so who knows?). I should probably just book my over-40 health check and kill two birds with one stone (I’ve only put that off for 13 years so far).

I happened to see one of the abnormal loads that are travelling from Ipswich docks to Eye. It apparently weighs around 500 tons, and took most of the day to get from one side of town to the other. Here’s a terrible photo.

Slugs keep coming into my kitchen at night (presumably through a tiny crack under the door). I think mainly in an attempt to steal cat food, although I’ve been known to find them on the ceiling so I’m not sure about their sense of direction.


Weeknotes 2023-42

I managed to scrounge a lift from a friend with a bigger car to pick up my eBay replacement sunroof on Tuesday, in exchange for helping him get rid of a big old TV at the tip (sorry, recycling centre). I also took advantage of the opportunity to get rid of the incredibly heavy 32″ CRT TV that I’ve had sitting around for well over a decade, so I definitely got the better part of the deal! I haven’t got round to fitting it yet, as I need to time it to reduce the probability of it taking longer than expected and finding myself suddenly needing to use the car when it has a huge hole in the roof.

Meta is a $750bn company, and yet apparently it’s beyond them to correctly pluralise UI text on Facebook:

I’ve watched the first two episodes of that BBC Savile programme. Not exactly a barrel of laughs, but very well made. Steve Coogan does a good job, but it inevitably feels like Partridge is peeeping through now and then. And disconcertingly the first of the survivor talking heads sounded spookily like Philomena Cunk.

I escaped any ill effects from Storm Whatsitsname, largely by not leaving the house on Friday, but other parts of Suffolk experienced some pretty major flooding (including Framlingham, which has caused what would have been the first event in this year’s cross country season next week to be postponed). Ipswich parkrun was cancelled too, but fortunately Kesgrave wasn’t, and it’s equally close (but without a big hill to cycle up to get there!)

Fortunately the weather improved massively between Friday and Sunday, in time for the annual(ish) club “one lap to ultra” event (six hours to complete as many laps of a 4½ mile loop through the countryside as you can, or want to). I managed seven laps again, which I guess makes it technically my third ultra. My claim that I’m never going to run a marathon is looking ever more paper-thin. Holly ran six laps with me, making it her first marathon distance, having previously never gone beyond 30k (or 19 miles or so in my old man units), but was strangely unenthusiastic about the idea of doing one more!

I upgraded my phone to Android 14, and now everything seems ever so slightly worse.


Weeknotes 2023-41

Have we finally hit autumn proper? After another mild (even warm) week, there was a bit of a chill on Saturday morning, then Sunday was properly cold (good for racing, but less so for standing around afterwards). Still sunny though, and even on Friday when it poured for much of the day I still managed to cycle to work, to the pub, back to work then home again entirely in the dry, so definitely chalking that up as a win.

The prospect of colder and wetter weather also bumped up the priority of fixing my sunroof. I managed to source a complete second hand unit for £140 from a relatively local seller on eBay, and have scrounged a lift from someone with a larger car to pick it up next week. Then I just have to figure out how to swap them over, but how hard can it be. Speaking of which, helpful as YouTube is, I still miss Haynes manuals. Turns out they do publish one for the R56 so-called Mini, but it looks like replacing the sunroof is beyond its scope (which I’m sure isn’t in any way a bad omen). Not like in the old days when they’d describe a full nut-and-bolt engine rebuild (“refitting is the reverse sequence to removal”).

I found a mysterious lone trainer on my driveway. Not sure whether it was the result of a schoolboy prank or a mischievous fox.

A second consecutive five mile race this weekend, this time at Saxmundham. I improved my training regime compared to last week by neither (a) running eight miles on Friday – although obviously I still did parkrun – nor (b) eating a massive pizza on Saturday afternoon (I made one on Sunday instead). This clearly helped, as I was 13 seconds faster. Surprisingly, given that I don’t feel particularly quick at the moment, both were course PBs.

Saxons 5

Weeknotes 2023-40

I had a phone call from Specsavers on Monday reminding me that they still had the reading/vdu glasses that came for free with my eye test for work. Rather than procrastinate further, I made an appointment and picked them up in the afternoon. I checked when the eye test had been, and it was in August.


They’re 1.75×, compared to the 1.5× of my old pair (and the collection of cheap Amazon ones that I keep scattered about the place). No hugely discernible difference, but having had pretty much perfect vision up to the age of around 45 I still find it frustrating that I can’t just read small close-up stuff unaided any more.

In exchange for me making her a Christmas cake, Nicola brought round some spare brandy to feed them with. There was an almost full half-bottle, and an inch or two in the bottom of another, and the majority of that is now in the two cakes.

Capel 5 this Sunday, which was ludicrously warm for the time of year. I guess we need to get used to it being warm enough to comfortably linger around in shorts and vest in October, and I’m sure it’s a small price to pay for the ever more rapidly approaching end of a human-habitable planet.

Still heel-striking, apparently ?

The sunroofs on the Mini are still stuck partially open. I tried taking the motor out, removing the glass and applying grease and various types of violence, but to no avail. At least I eventually managed to get them back to where they had been when I started rather than making things worse.