I’m a bit behind with my blogs, I know. This is an attempt to try and catch up a bit, pending a longer post tomorrow that will for the bare bones for a chapter in my PhD.
- I bought an electric bike a few months ago. The journey to Soton Uni is 2/3 uphill and takes half-an-hour to walk. This is fine when I have time to spare, and the weather is nice (but not too hot). If I drive, it takes five minutes, which is not good for a car with an old diesel engine, and I have to move the car every two hours. As well as having a battery that helps take the effort out of pedaling, my bike also folds in half and so I can store it under my desk. It’s been reasonably well-used so far, and given that the journey is no more than about 10 minutes, I’m not at too much risk from Southampton’s shocking drivers. And I wear a helmet and cycle in the middle of my half of the road.
- I’ve been to Amsterdam three times now, and I absolutely love it. I have photos to publish, and I’ll put them in an album soon. I’ve also been to Berlin, and in October I’m gong to Rome.
- My beloved car is 15 years old, and this year I paid for the air conditioning to be fixed. I don’t care what anyone says, this was essential, and there’s nothing more annoying than having something in the car that doesn’t work. Oh, and it’s also gained a dent that’s classic city damage. Some numpty has swung into the car parking space beside me and rubbed their bumper up against my front passenger-side wing.
- I’ve been on HRT for a whole month. It’s completely transformed my life on so far as I’m the person I was when I came here. I’d been experiencing hot flushes, which was disturbing my sleep, and consequently my ability to concentrate on my work. Frankly, the jury is out as to the health risks of HRT. If you don’t have to do a demanding job (or work at all) then you can probably manage. Otherwise, don’t suffer. I know my symptoms will return when I come off the HRT, but when that happens will be down to me. In the meantime, I’m in control and back as a fully-functioning human being.
- I have become a really good cook of vegetarian food. The thing about being a vegetarian is that you can’t just cook what you did before and simply leave out the meat. It’s a whole new way of thinking about food. It’s easy, and it’s delicious, and I can honestly say that I can’t get excited over meat-based food any more. I will eat it occasionally, and I still like the unidentified pink stuff that comes in the middle of your average greasy sausage roll as much as I ever did. Just not as often. My small vegetable garden here is fully planted up with veggies for the winter, and I’ve applied for an allotment here in Southampton.
- After several weeks – months, probably – of writing and re-writing code, I’ve finally written some (with some help from friends) that does what I want it to. I now know more than I ever thought possible about the structure of web pages and how to deploy Python code to open them and gather the contents. When I mentioned what I wanted to do to someone from the Uni back in December last year, he suggested that rather than spend lots of time learning how to do it myself, I should get someone else to do it for me. This goes against my very soul. I was brought up to be independent and resourceful, to always be in control and to be self-reliant. the idea of getting someone else to write the code I need….. well, it just wasn’t going to happen. So I’ve written a bit, tested a bit, asked for help, written a bit more, tested and tested lines of code, and now I have a working model. Ok, it only works with one set of web pages, but I know I can modify it to work with others. I came here to learn, and learn is what I’ll do.
- I will never cease to be grateful for the chance to do this. Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in it, whether you wanted to (or anticipated the consequences of your actions) or not. My dreams aren’t big, but I’m living them.