Posts tagged 'Personal'


I think I have paid my tax for last year. This is the first time I have actually filled in a tax return for myself, in the past I have always just relied on the PAYE calculations.

Despite the website saying "you do not owe anything", I was still uncertain …

Racing to the Library

I have stated this before, but I am a slow reader. Couple that with commitments and life in general, reducing the amount of spare time I have, it takes me a while to get through a book.

I had borrowed a book from the library that was due to be …

Physical Letters

Today we received a letter in the post from an old friend. Someone who we used to spend a lot of time with but now live far enough apart that we are lucky if we meet once every couple of years.

The letter was handwritten and only the size of …

Reading Aloud

One of the job requirements of being a parent is reading aloud to your kids. Unfortunately, it is something that I am not really competent at. I have tried reading silently but the kids are having none of it.

During my wedding, I had a short reading to deliver. As …

Coffee Cups

I like my coffee. When out and about, particularly in cold places, I find it difficult to resist buying a coffee (as long as they are selling anything that isn't instant). I do however get rather frustrated when they serve the coffee in semi-spherical cups.

A nearly empty coffee cup.
The offending item.
A nearly empty coffee cup.
The offending …

Who Wrote This?

Whenever I read something that I had previously written, I almost always end up cringing. Sometimes I don't remember writing it and I wonder which idiot it was that wrote it!

I am not just talking about the old blog posts, but almost any writing, old procedures I have written …

You Know it was a Tough Workout When...

After the workout, the mussles in your arms are complaining that you are holding a cup of coffee.

My Problem with My Ring

I have a problem with my wedding ring. No I haven’t lost it. I do like wearing it. My problem is that my fingers are not always the same size. I think this is true for most people, though most people just find that their rings get very tight …

Running Badly and Getting Lucky

So today was my first parkrun in almost exactly three months. What happens when I don't run for three months? I managed a personal worst. My time was 22 seconds slower than my very first parkrun which was after nearly 10 years of no racing.

Never mind, I can't change …

It Wasn't All Bad

I am noticing lots of people complaining about the state of the world, good riddance to 2019, hopefully the next year will be better. I fear that we are too quick to dismiss the progress that has been made. This could be progress on a personal level, as a society …

Thanks for Keeping the Lights On

It is amazing the amount of effort required to keep things simply running. The huge variety of jobs that need to have someone doing them at all times of the day and night, every day of the year.

Ten Years ago, I was about to spend my first Christmas away …

More Smug

I was already feeling smug enough at getting our Christmas grocery shopping done first thing on s Sunday morning when the shop was quite. It just doubled when I went past another shop this morning about 9am. The queues were ridiculously long and I was really glad that I didn't …

Making the Most of My Time: Going to the Gym

Continuing on with my series of posts on Making the Most of My Time, I have decided to review the activities I spent my time on and consider whether these activities add true value.

Today was the last Tuesday morning Gym session of the year, so today's post will look …

Stillness and Calm

It is easy to forget what Stillness and Calm can feel like. Particularly a sustained period of stillness when life revolves around two noisy kids.

I had the opportunity to sit in complete stillness and calm for an hour today. No phone to distract me. Just sitting and having to …

Making the Most of My Time: Maintaining My Home Server

Following Sunday's post, I am continuing to review the activities I spent my time on and consider whether these activities add true value.

Today's post will look at how much time I spent maintaining a personal web server.

What do I maintain?

My personal web server acts as a private …

Making the Most of My Time: Following News

Following Sunday's post, I have decided to review the activities I spent my time on and consider whether these activities add true value.

Today's post will look an my news consumption habits.

Why do we follow the news?

The reasons most people give for watching or reading the news is …

Making the Most of My Time: Cycling to Work

After yesterday's post, I have decided to review the activities I spent my time on and consider whether these activities add true value.

The first activity I want to consider is my cycle commute.

How much does it cost?

Time wise, it takes about 15 minutes to cycle to work …

Deciding What Not To Do

There are lots of personal projects I want to work on. There are lots of skills I want to learn. And this is a great time to be around. There are so many opportunities to learn so many different skills for free. The barrier to entry for many projects has …

Giving Tuesday

I have just been made aware of "Giving Tuesday", coinciding after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is a day to donate to a good cause instead.

By sheer coincidence, I did my annual charity allocation early this morning. I have a CAF1 account and make regular payments into …

Low Salt Salted Caramel

It has to be said, salted caramel is horrible. It is not as if I am afraid to try a new thing, I have tried it multiple times.

It tastes horrible. Every time.

It is the same with salted chocolate as well. I just don’t like the taste of …

Being Thankful for My Mistake

Mayby the mistake I discussed yesterday was not such a bad one. If I had booked the correct tickets, I would have been stuck in London when this happened:

West Coast Mainline passengers 'stranded for seven hours'

Hundreds of passengers on the West Coast Mainline have been stranded for hours …

Reviewing My Mistakes

Back in August, I made a mistake. Part of me wants to forget all about it. Ignore it, pretend that it didn't happen.

But I have been fairly vocal that we should be learning from our mistakes and ideally, learning from other people's mistakes. If course that only works if …

Third One's a Charm

Tonight I hosted my third IChemE Members group committee meeting as chair. I had mentioned previously that I used to be able to chair quick meetings that didn't overrun. The Scottish Members Group meetings are notorious for overrunning, so I knew it would be a challenge. In the first two …

Relaxed Reading

I ended up alone the n the house for about an hour this morning. Rather than rushing around in an attempt to get some housework done, u took the time to relax and read.

I had a long list of articles that I had wanted to get around to reading …

Recreational Rebuild

I spent my day off work attempting to rebuild a web server. As usual with these things, my initial estimate for duration was significantly off. Lots of silly problems and unexpected errors to get past.

In the end, I got to a stage where Ihad to decide if I was …

A Nice Pain

For the last couple of weeks, I have experienced mild pain when walking about as a result of the accident. Today I also experienced mild pain, though it was different.

Yesterday was the first time I made it back to a circuits class in the gym and today's pain was …

Happy birthday IKEA Edinburgh

I had the day off work and the kids were in nursery, so we took the opportunity to go to Ikea mid-week sans-kids. I was somewhat surprised when I got out of the car:

Sign announcing IKEA Edinburgh’s 20th Birthday
Happy birthday
Sign announcing IKEA Edinburgh’s 20th Birthday
Happy birthday

Apparently the IKEA just outside Edinburgh opened 20 years ago. Of …

Rubbish but Active Days

Sometimes you wake up and just feel rubbish. I have wanted nothing more than to curl up and feel sorry for myself.

Luckily I am an adult with adulty things that get in the way of just lying around. Things like looking after the kids and doing household chores. Fulfilling …

Yoga While Recovering

After Tuesday's crash, I was told to keep moving. I attended yoga as normal both on Tuesday and today.

I am not sure if the exercises are helping with my recovery, but they are very good at letting me know what bits of my body hurts.

Thoughts After a Crash

I was involved in a crash this morning. As I was cycling to the shops, a slight detour on my way to work, I was turning right at a roundabout. As the person on the roundabout, I am supposed to have right of way. But you only truly have right …

When You Don't Want to Listen to the Proclaimers

I normally enjoy listening to the Proclaimers, but there was a point when they were played recently and I really wish that they weren't on.

Everyone else was enjoying the song, but I was driving. All I wanted to do was tap my foot to the music, but that would …

New Code Project

I have just started a new coding project and I am in one of the worst phases. Before starting, I was full of ideas and enthusiasm. I could envision the finished product. I could imagine all the extra bells and whistles that could get added.

And then I started to …

Time Travel Touring

This evening, I was at a meeting in Edinburgh, around the are I spent a lot of time as a student. As I passed a shop, I instantly remembered walking to it the night after I moved into my flat in second year. I remembered the heavy rain that didn't …

Halfway There

All my employer pensions make the assumption that I will retire at 65. I have realised that if I were to retire at 65, I have just passed the halfway point between my birth and my retirement date.

It is kind of scary when I think about how much the …

The Dreaded Task

I have recently signed up to a website for an organisation's alumni. After proving my identity and successfully logging in, I am faced with one of life's dreaded tasks:

Filling out my profile, including a short bio.

Does anyone actually enjoy or at least not hate filling these things in …

Looking on the Bright Side

Today, rather than cycling 10 minutes down the hill to the refinery, I drove 45 minutes to another site to attend a trial at a suppliers factory.

When I arrived, I was informed that the test had been cancelled. Everyone else on the team was informed, I just got missed …

Entering the World of Work

Ten years ago I started my first "proper" job. My first job after graduating, in the world of chemical engineering. I, along with about 20 other recent graduates, arrived at a conference center in the middle of the countryside near Peterborough to start working for British Sugar.

When I first …

My First Parkrun

Today I took part in my first parkrun. I have been aware that there is a local weekly event for over seven years and yet I have never made it along until today.

Considering it was probably just under 10 years ago that I did my last race, I was …

Rebuilding Good Habits

I have let myself go.

Well at least all the good habits I had built up. Over the last year, I have slowly eroded my evening routine to an absolute minimum, and sometimes failed to even do that.

Missing the odd night doesn't matter that much. It doesn't s easy …

Rose Tinted Hindsight

A couple of years ago, we found a pizza restaurant in the next town over and really liked the food there. We went quite regularly considering the journey to get there, and spent a fair amount eating out as a result.

This was one of the reasons that lead us …

Addictively Checking

It doesn't sound like fun when you really think about it. Loading up a webpage to see that it says the exact same thing as the last time you looked at it. But that is what I find myself doing. It is what many folk end up doing.

Sure some …

Thoughts on FIRE

Last year I attended a pensions workshop at work. After this, I have spent more time reading up about pensions and other financial matters. You don't need to do much reading before you come across the FIRE movement.


FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. Essentially, people live well …

An Unusual Day

Today was a day without kids. Well we still had them around at breakfast time but as is normal for a Monday morning my wife took them to nursery. What was not normal was us not going on to work.

Instead we have taken the week of work to prepare …


The best thing about thunderstorms is watching the really heavy rain from the comfort of your home. Watching the water bounce off the ground and the street turn into a river while I am inside and dry.

That is until I notice that our pizza oven is still outside and …

Positive Unpopular Opinions

Today’s XKCD comic poses the following challenge

Name a movie that…

  1. You genuinely like (not ‘so bad it’s good’)
  2. Came out in your adult life post-2000, and
  3. Is rated below 50% on rotten tomatoes.

It is easy to think of a film that most folk liked but you …

Some Things Don’t Change

Despite my best intentions, I have done it again. Back in February I swore that I was going to make sure that any future talks I give would be well planned in. Two weeks before the event, I would have my rough transcript finished, giving plenty of time for polishing …

Another Energy Supply Problem

Almost as soon as I published yesterday's post, I ran into a different energy supply issue.

We had been cooking dinner in our pizza oven when the gas canister ran out. Not to worry I smugly thought to myself. I knew it was low and a couple of months ago …

Happy 4th of July

Today is the one day that Americans manage to get the date correct. To celebrate independence, they call the put the day of the month first just like everyone else.

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and family.

Easy Gym

I made it back to the circuits session for the first time in a while. I was expecting to find it hard, but there was a different trainer taking the session. While the half hour was fully utilised (it overran by a few minutes) it was actually easier than normal …

Flagchaser Spotting

Yesterday, on my way home from collecting the boys I spotted some equipment getting set up in calendar park. This morning I saw more equipment and people in the park along with a sign directing 'Adventure Show Crew'.

I didn't think any mor about it but on the way back …