This week started with a delivery of a bath tub. The problem with that delivery
was that bath tub was 10cm longer than the one that we had ordered. 10cm was
significant because that’s 5cm longer than the space that we have for the new
bath tub. It turns out the website we’d ordered it from had the wrong product
code against the bath we actually wanted so when we phoned to say the wrong tub
had arrived everyone was very confused. Thankfully by the end of the week the
delivery person was back, this time with the correct size bath.
I made another solo sourdough this week. It was a bit of a rush due to not
really having enough time to make it, so I skipped a couple of steps that
seemed unnecessary (mostly the bits where you seemingly wait for nothing). The
end result is definitely better than my last loaf so I guess those weren’t
important steps anyway. That better loaf could also just be because I was using
a significantly smaller pot so it could only rise up rather than out (masking
my poor shaping technique) but nobody needs to know that.
With the release of watchOS 7 I’m now able to use my Apple Watch as a sleep
tracker. I’ve not used a sleep tracker in a number of years but thought it
would be interesting to see how Apple has approached it. So far the number of
false positives of tracking me sleeping when I’m definitely awake makes it
mostly useless for any serious tracking.
It believes any time I spend more than 15 minutes sitting still on a sofa is
either me in bed or asleep. I’m currently hoping that there is some AI magic in
here which will work out over time the difference between me actually sleeping
and watching TV. But at the moment the 2 hours of TV we watched on Sunday is
coming up as a nice long nap before bed.
One of the side effects of the sleep tracking is I’m now also able to see my
heart rate while I sleep. I’d not thought about that as a feature until on the
second or third night of me wearing it my watched tapped my wrist while I was
sleeping to let me know I’d triggered my low heart rate alert. Given I’m
certainly still alive I’ve had to disable that alert, let’s hope it wasn’t
This week builders started work renovating our bathroom. The works were
supposed to start at the end of March, but an ill-timed global pandemic threw
that schedule out of the window. The work had been overdue for a long time,
we already knew this, but the smell of damp wood that filled the flat as the
demolition started really reinforced that.
I initially found it slightly odd when the builder described what they were
going to do as demolition, I would have descried it more as just removal, but
looking at the results I’ll give it to them, they demolished the old bathroom.
I’m already looking forward to my first bath in the new shiny bathroom when
they are finished.
Twice this week I’ve been treated to a glorious sunrise while out on my
bicycle. Sunsets usually get most of the attention, but I far prefer a good
sunrise. The world always seem more tranquil during a sunrise, probably because
most people are still in bed.
Though the fact I’m seeing sunrise without much planning implies that the days
are quickly going to be dark outside of traditional ‘working’ hours. With the
flexible pandemic working I’ve heard a couple of people talking about
shifting their work day around a bit and use their old ‘commute time’ to afford
themselves a two hour lunch break, enough time to get outside and enjoy more
daylight than a 9-5 usually enables. While still ‘leaving’ and ‘getting home’
at the same time as the before. I like this as a time hack.
After banishing the coat stand to the cupboard under the
stairs at the beginning of Lockdown
we’ve been living very happily with the extra space it afforded us. I say very
happily, but every time I’ve needed to get anything out of the cupboard
I’ve now first had to contend with maneuvering the coat stand out of the way.
There had to be a better way. After doing some research I order up some parts
to make an “industrial pipe” coat rack. At least that’s how they are marketed
on Etsy. In reality it’s a bit of threaded gas pipe with a threaded flange to
attach it to the wall. Rather the buying one of the Etsy versions though, I got
mine from a pipe shop, which meant it turned up without any ribbons,
handwritten thank you notes, or any bolts to attach it to the wall instead
it came with a fine layer of plumbing grease covering it.
After popping out to get some appropriately oversized bolts to fit the flange
we’ve now got a very nice permanent coat rack mounted under the stairs. It fits
in so well with the exposed gas pipe and gas meter aesthetic there was some
mild concern we’d need to let the next owners of the flat know it’s not
connected to the pipework.
This week I made my very first unassisted sourdough loaf. I had made a loaf last
week, but that was with some very hands on tuition. I’ll save you a photo of the
loaf instead you can just imagine an object that closer resembles a Frisbee to
a half a football. My understanding is that means my shaping technique needs
We’ve had a starter since the beginning of the year and since then I’ve been
mostly just been the beneficiary of the baking process (though also helping out
with flour acquisition when needed). I’m not sure if I was spurred on reading
about Nat’s coached
or something else, but I’m glad I’ve now got a deeper understanding as to what
everyone has been nattering about for the last 7 months.
One of the techniques used to demonstrate the difference privilege has played
on peoples lives is called a Privilege Walk. It’s pretty straightforward in that
you get a group of people standing side by side and the instructor reads out a
list of statements (being raised by two parents, ever having to worry about
money as a child, being comfortable holding your partners hand in public, etc).
For every statement that you identify with you take a step forward. It’s a
very visual way for privileged people to see just how privileged they are.
There is a really good article about why they are bad, and why you shouldn’t
This week I really enjoyed this mix from Ameeva. Some lovely ambient
and drone tracks with dialogue recordings mixed in. I particularly liked the
Black Lives Matter chanting mixed in, I’ve been thinking it would make a good
ambient overlay, so I’m glad someone is doing it.
I spent lots of this week creating some new lighting for our kitchen counter. The
lights that came with the kitchen had always been a bit naff, they never
really illuminated the useful parts, and their wiring was questionable with
bare sections protected by layers of electrical tape.
I’ve now replaced all of that with a proper plug socket and a Phillips Hue
Lightstrip. There was a bit of a challenge as the Lightstrip only comes in 2
meter runs and my kitchen has corners and a cooker in it. So cutting it into
bits and soldering Cat-5 cable as joins allows the strip to go around corners
and jump over the cooker as needed. I’m super happy with how the soldered
joints all came out.
I found focusing at work this week increasingly hard. I’m not sure if it’s the
fact that we’re now acknowledging the pandemic will last at least another 6
months or something else. But there was definitely something. One of the
differences of working for a medium to large company is when you have weeks
like this it’s super easy to hide in the team, or find different people to walk
around and chat with about nothing and consume loads of time. Working for a 7
person company it feels like it’s much more obvious on days I’m not really
Hopefully next week will be more productive at work. Even if it isn’t, at least
I can see clearly when cooking dinner now.
It seems like summer is almost over, the evenings are getting much cooler and
the sun is setting much earlier. This is making meeting friends in parks after
work increasingly challenging. You can either either read that as challenging
to see because it’s dark, or challenging to see anyone for any length because
I’ve got to leave earlier because some parks shut at dusk.
Despite this I managed to check out both Regents Park and Hyde Park this week.
Hyde Park was a particular delight as I can’t actually remember spending any
time in the park in the past. It turns out there is a lovely part just east of
The Long Water which closer resembles an overgrown meadow to the over manicured
picture of a Central London park. It was lovely and very peaceful.
Not much else to report this week. The pandemic seems to be getting worse and
for some reason Boris said (and I paraphrase) “we saw the second wave starting
in Europe, so us getting one was inevitable”. This seems completely backwards
logic to me. If we hadn’t been through this before and know how to suppress
the virus, then sure it would be inevitable. But this isn’t the first time. We
know exactly which actions we can take to reduce the spread. Ugh. In the
immortal words of the renowned philosopher Craig Ashley David “I’m walking
away, From the troubles in my life, I’m walking away, Oh to find a better day”.
Some good things from this week:
- I got to meet my entire company IRL this week (there are only 7 of us). Given
I joined the company in lockdown I’d not actually met some of them other than
on Zoom. Being entirely virtual has been working okay for the most part, and
we’re all in agreement that we don’t want to be back in an office right now.
But given we’d never actually all been in the same place at the same time we
arranged to meet up for lunch, sitting outside in the Olympic Park.
- Other than some slight misjudgments on peoples heights, every was just as they
appear on Zoom. I still miss not having an office to go into every day, but
it’s nice to have actually met everyone now.
- It’s impossible with current distancing measures to take group photos that
don’t look like boyband shots from the late 90s. Everyone awkwardly spaced
out, sitting and standing at different heights, together, but artistically
apart. I’m here for the aesthetic though, much better than everyone having to
have a big hug to get everyone in.
- I used the excuse of cycling to Stratford to cycle over Tower Bridge. I still
enjoy getting to put tourist destinations into my regular activities. The
knowledge that people travel around the world to see things that are just
part of my day to day brings me surprising satisfaction. Yeah, I live here,
this is my city.
- We cycled to Richmond Park this weekend to see friends we’ve not seen since
The Before™. I forget how much I like Richmond Park. Having that on my
doorstep for 3 years and cycling through it daily was a real privilege. It’s
nice to be able to come back and be the tourist. I do wish the other tourists
would stop chasing the deer though. You don’t need a close up photo of them!
This week we had our first COVID test as part of the ONS Infection Survey. A
very nice person came round to give us a swab each. It turns out swabbing the
back of your throat (“they” say: if you’re not gagging it’s not far back
enough) is as bad as they say. I could definitely feel a phantom swab for much
of the rest of the day. But it let them test to see if we’ve got it. Given
that we’ve heard nothing back, the assumption is that we’re all clear for the
This came about because our address we were randomly selected in a lottery.
We’re now signed up for random testing for up to the next 12 months. This lets
them monitor how it’s moving in the community, and lets us periodically know
for sure if we’ve got it or not.
It certainly made me feel slightly better at the weekend when I was catching
up with family that I knew, given I’d not seen anyone since the test, that I was
there was very little chance of me passing it on.
I imagine one potential future, assuming there isn’t a antidote forthcoming,
is regular testing will become part of every day life. Much the same way as we
clean our teeth, just do a cheeky little test, make sure you’re still clear.
Perhaps my gag reflex might desensitize.
This week I pushed out a realignment to this blog, as well as my
homepage. Cameron Moll once said “Good Designers
Redesign, Great Designers
Realign” (gosh was that
really 15 years ago?!?) and as I definitely see myself as a “Great Designer”
it seems fitting that I would realign. The main inspiration came from the
Cinelli offset CMYK paint jobs on their
bikes (it’s an effect that’s definitely elsewhere though).
Owning one has been on my bucket list for a while (pictured is the 2015
Vigorelli, though I first saw a similar paint job on their 2012 Strato). I’ve
tried to do something similar in CSS before but it isn’t possible with just
opacity, you need blend modes on the layers. Then when I saw
Stripe launch their new homepage and realised blend
modes had made it into browsers I had to give it a go.
The passing of Chadwick Boseman this week hit me harder than I was expecting.
The video of people telling him what Black Panther meant to
them especially had
me sobbing. As a white middle class man there are role models for me literally
everywhere I look. Black people aren’t afforded that luxury, so to loose one,
who should have had so much more ahead of him is heart breaking.
We know that from the life he lived and the films he chose to be a part of — movies that elevated stories of black people — that he was more than a superhero. He was our superhero — and at a time when we have so few.
We’ve now finished the first 5 seasons of
Black-ish which is all that is legally
available in the UK at the moment. It’s still really annoying how we can’t
easily pay for shows that have been “released” somewhere else in the world just
not “here” yet. Take my money already!
Similarly I spent some time trying to find a legal source of
Grown-ish, a spin-off from Black-ish
which is already on it’s third season in America, to no avail. Which means I
can’t tell you how it’s also a good easy watching show, if at times makingyou
slightly cringe at teenagers being teenagers.
This week, for the first time since before lockdown started, I spent a night
not in my bed! We went camping for the weekend to a lovely little campsite just
outside of Hastings. We were there with some friends, and spent two days almost
able to pretend we were in the before. One of the benefits of camping is it’s
very easy to maintain proper distance from others while still hanging out for
multiple days. I’ve always enjoyed camping, and have enough equipment to make it
a very comfortable experience, add in the ability to finally spend more than a
couple of hours with friends and it was magical.
One of the highlights of the weekend was getting to lay back in the dark and
look up at the stars. Due to there being a new moon, and being sufficiently far
enough away from any town or city, there were sooooooo many stars. It’s a shame
there is so much light pollution in London you don’t get to properly enjoy it.
On Saturday we went on a walk from the campsite and managed to get ourselves
chased out of a field by some overly friendly donkeys and horses. While I’m
sure they were just coming to say hello, as I’m sure I would if someone walked
into my home. Having them all running at us at speed was really very
- In Edd does electronics news, this week I managed to fit some new dynamo
lights to a bike. The bike in question already had a dynamo with a front
light, but the light went out as soon as you stopped moving. Pretty lame if
you ever want to be seen while waiting at traffic lights I’m sure you’ll
agree. The back light was just some poor batter powered solution.
- After doing some research and a visiting the SJS Cycles
website we took
receipt of a new front light and new rear light both of which will stay on
for a couple of minutes after you stop moving. After measuring the wire
twice, thrice and a fourth time just to make sure, I cut the wires stripped
them back a bit and fitted some spade connectors. Then got it all attached to
the bike looking quite neat if I do say so myself. The thought of being able
to never have to think about charging your bike lights seems truly magical,
I’m now fairly tempted to invest in my own dynamo hub wheel.
- When trying to work out how to attach the wire to the connector I uncovered
the world of crimping tools. It seems there are an infinite number of
different, and patented, tools to perfectly crimp your connectors to your
wires. I’m sure in some applications this is important, I just used a pair of
pliers though and it seems to have done the job.
- I finally caved in and got a proper desk chair to work from at my makeshift
work desk. Though as the desk is a fixed height standing desk the chair has
to be a “draughtsman chair” which allows me to have the seat be 85cm of the
floor. I’m now able to let my feet dangle unable to touch the floor and
pretend that I’m small again.
- Having a desk chair (that is comically high in the air) in the living room
feels like I’ve accepted that home is now for working. This makes me uneasy.
- I’m glad the extreme hot weather has broken, though I’m not sure if I’m a fan
of the random heavy showers. I’m sure we should be able to work out some kind
of middle ground weather.
More posts can be found in the archives.