Spam, Spam, Spam, egg and Spam

Things have got a bit spammy lately. After a couple of years of quiet, the email address I use on my CV is now receiving about five to eight completely unsolicited emails each day. All marketing, and mostly geared towards an American audience, so completely unsophisticated in their targeting. Why is this happening? Read more ›

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Posted in computing & technology

Holiday

I felt something that I haven’t felt in a long time that took my senses and mind back to Taiwan – the enveloping humidity that surrounds you as you leave the serene cocoon of a shops air-conditioning.  I am on holiday and I couldn’t have been luckier with the weather.

Read more ›

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Posted in guitar

Referendum on EU Membership

Tomorrow in the UK we go to the polls to decide whether to stay a member of the European Union or leave and chart a new course for the country. Up to now I have tried to stay away from the debate on the issue as my mind has been made up since before the question of leaving was even asked. When I cast my vote tomorrow, I’ll be voting for Britain to stay in the EU.

As the time to voting has drawn closer I’ve become more nervous about the outcome. To begin with I thought that I knew what it would be – that after much debating and argument the country would decide by a small margin to stay within the EU. I’m no longer sure of that. I fear waking up on Friday to news that we will leave.

I have written and re-written this post a few times, wondering what I should say and whether I should say anything at all. There is little I can add to the debate except for my opinions and personal reasons for choosing to stay. A test like this one can probably inform you better than anything I say. So, I think I will focus on something that dawned on me while I was reading this BBC article on how to vote. As well as being a momentous vote that will affect generations to come, it is a time when our individual votes will count most. Whereas in general elections it is possible for the number of MPs elected for each party to not truly reflect the national vote, in this referendum we are voting as a nation on one question. Whichever box you decide to tick this an opportunity for your voice to count for more than it does at election time. It is my hope that voter turnout will be the highest it has been for a long time, whatever the result. I would love to see over 80% turnout.  Tomorrow, please take the time to vote. Consider the arguments, make a decision and be counted.

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Posted in tuppence

Brighton Half Marathon Final Result

I have only today realized that if I’m not connected to you on Facebook, then you’ve probably been without the news of my half marathon result. No longer. For the sake of completeness, a brief update follows.

I ran the Brighton Half Marathon on February 28th in one hour and 47 minutes. It was a great result for me, and a good ten minutes under the target I had aimed for. In the last three miles my calves started to cramp, indicating that I had pushed as hard as I could. By the eleven mile mark I had been running at a steady pace for a while, and any attempt to pick up the pace resulted in a sudden contraction of a calf muscle, a quick hobble and a resolution to go back to the pace I had settled on.

The crowds that lined the route were fantastic, cheering us on and shouting words of encouragement. I enjoyed giving high fives to the children who came to watch at the sidelines, their arms outstretched. A few had made “power up” signs for the runners to tap.

Friends and family were generous in helping me to raise £206 for Mind, the mental health charity, sponsoring me to run the half marathon.

While I enjoyed the experience of the event, I don’t have immediate plans to run in 2017, or to set my sights on a marathon. Perhaps in a couple of years. For now, I’m happy to return to routine 5km runs. Much easier on the knees.

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Posted in Brighton & Hove, running

Half Marathon Update

So, only one week to go now before the Brighton Half Marathon.  Training has gone well, although I must admit to skipping a fair number of the easy and tempo runs.  I am hoping that having still completed each of the long runs in the training plan, I have done enough to squeeze under the 2 hour mark on the day.  The sun was out yesterday, so doing the last of the long runs was an easy choice.

In the coming week there are just a couple of short 15 minutes to put in.  Next Saturday I will mostly be resting and carbs-loading.  The next few days of work should help with conditioning too – delivering crates of food up and down stairs to customers.

A big thank you to those who have already sponsored me through Just Giving.  I appreciate your support and look forward to putting in a strong performance on the day.  If you haven’t sponsored me already, and you would like to, please go here.  You can also donate by texting NHBM97 £2 to 70070.  You can donate more or less by changing the amount in the text message.

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Posted in Brighton & Hove, running

Brighton Half Marathon 2016

Hello everyone; hello anyone. Given how long it is since my last post I will be lucky if I am not just mumbling into the ether with no one to hear me. I haven’t felt like writing for a long while, hence the silence. Also, there has been a lack of things that I have wanted to write about on my blog.

But I have news. Exciting times! On Sunday 28th February I will be taking part in the Brighton Half Marathon. It is the longest I will have ever run and my second time running in an organised event, the first time being the Taipei 9km Fubon Run a few years ago.

If you would like to sponsor me on the half marathon, I am collecting money for Mind. Please go to my Just Giving page to donate. Money goes straight to the charity. Mind really helped me out a few years back when I didn’t know where to turn for information. I owe them and others a big thank you for the support I’ve had to get me where I am. The Mind website has a lot more detail on the services and support they offer if you are interested.

I have run on and off since 2007, so preparation has been steady and uneventful, but as the training runs have got longer and longer it’s required a different approach to my normal 5km runs. Once the runs started going over an hour I found that I needed music to accompany me. Prior to that I used to run in silence, focusing on my breath and trying to quiet my mind. That’s a tall order for anything more than 30 minutes. My last long training run was 11 miles. It was horrible, but I have only myself to blame. I have been skipping my mid-week runs, so I went into this one after a rest from running. The last few kilometres saw me cramping up and having to hobble each time I felt a twinge. I have learned my lesson.

The training continues…

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Posted in Brighton & Hove, running

Why are you shouting?

I have never been more thankful for my hearing than today.  I just came back from the GP after having my ears syringed.  Time, age, in-ear bud headphones and a host of other factors meant that for the last three weeks I couldn’t hear out of my right ear.  That was quite frustrating.  Two weeks ago, I thought it would be a good idea to put softening drops in my left ear too.  Bad move!  While ultimately the drops help soften things up ready for a syringing, they also make the wax expand, blocking up any tiny gap you may have for hearing.  For the last two weeks the world has been a muffled, distant thing that I couldn’t really connect with.  I was getting quite down in the dumps about it.

Now, however, it feels like I have bionic hearing.  Every little scrape and scratch stands out in crystal clarity.  Even the tapping of the keyboard as I write this is starting to give me a headache. Ha.

Google, you are being a bit *too* helpful

When I left the GP I asked whether there was anything I could do to avoid the problem reoccuring, to which the nurse replied, “Put a couple of drops of olive oil in each week”.  A little hesitant to put drops in my ear again, lest I end up in the same situation, I have none-the-less, dutifully put a note in my calendar to, sensibly, deal with one ear at a time.  Which is when I discovered that Google is perhaps guilty of being a little too helpful in predicting what you are trying to add to your calendar (see below).

Anyway, there ends my mundane story of gratitude for today.  I’m just happy to have my hearing back!

Google calender too helpful

Google calender too helpful

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