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Garden diary - July 3rd

Better late than never, right? 

July 3rd 2016

The foxgloves are flowering and everything got a bit bushier. 

July 3rd 2016

The early alliums are finished, but the seed heads are still spectacular. The rest of the bed is starting to grow up towards them. I've put the wigwam in for the runner beans, but they are a long way off the top of the canes yet. 

July 3rd 2016

The pots have all filled out a bit more and the clemetis are further up the arch. It's all growing at a rate of knots. And it's not quite a year old yet!


Garden diary - 30th May 2016

I've decided that the garden is now developing quickly enough to warrent monthly shots. Actually, I should probably have started in March. Hindsight is wonderful! So today we took the first batch, which will count for the start of June. 

There aren't as many different parts of the garden to take in this house! So that means I can get a few more angles in instead. The first is from the corner of the house out towards the south east:

May 30th 2016

I do like the blue shed. I really do. 

The next angle is from the shed back across, so the reverse of that previous shot:

May 30th 2016

That shot captures the best view of the acer. 

And finally the other diagonal, from the compost bins back to the garage:

May 30th 2016

It's a pretty grey day here, high cloud but solid. The garden doesn't seem to be minding too much though. 

The shots are taken with a wide-angle lens, so might make the garden look bigger than it is. Most of the shrubs are still pretty tiny, so there's lots of change going to happen over the next few years. It is all well under way though, and so far I'm really pleased. 


Alas, poor Brooks...

Yesterday Clarkie and I went to a fabulous day celebrating women and bikes in Oxford, a day put together by the Broken Spoke Cooperative in Oxford. It was great, although so many of the questions and problems seemed so very similar to the questions and problems that I hear all the time around women in tech and that was a smidge disappointing. Still, it was a fab day. 

Right up until we went back to get our bikes. Sadly, my saddle and seatpost had been stolen. I went back to the Broken Spoke, unsure about whether or not they sold parts to get me home, and got an unfortunate response from one of the mechanics so I ended up cycling a mile or so out to Beeline Bikes instead. They were awesome, sold me a new seatpost and found an old saddle of a broken bike that they didn't even charge me for.

I'm in the very fortunate position that this doesn't really cause me any financial hardship at all. I can go out and replace my saddle without having to even think twice (and in fact I still have the Specialized Body Geometry that I replaced with the Brooks). I'm also busy feeling very grateful that it was just the seatpost and saddle, because replacing my Surly would have hurt. But it was a Brooks saddle, with 8 years and upwards of 10 000 miles of breaking in, and the thought of having to start from scratch all over again is making me sad. 

There are a few material things in life that get better the longer you have them. Things like jeans are at their very best just before they fall apart and you have to find a new one. My Brooks saddle is one that had just quietly, slowly and gentle reshaped itself until it was a perfect fit. Further wear would just have improved it, so long as I kept waxing it periodically, giving it a little gentle TLC.

Still, what's done is done. My saddle is now someone else's, and I shall just have to make sure I get some miles in on the new one soon. 


New Game

I changed jobs in the new year, and that includes a whole new commute. I'm now working in Oxford, so I have to get the train (driving would be madness). That gives me two options for the journeys to and from the stations: bike or run. Each section of the run is around 1.5 miles - the Didcot end is slightly shorter and the Oxford end slightly longer. If I did it every day, this would give me more miles per week than I've ever done before, but I'm mixing it with cycling. 

So, what's the game?

Well, the Oxford end of the run is right through the middle of town at some busy times of day. Some people say they hate urban running, but I've discovered I quite enjoy it. There are a number of rules:

  • Don't hit anyone.
  • Don't get hit by anyone/thing.
  • Don't get trapped and have to walk.
  • Don't break an ankle on the potholes in the pavement.

There may be others, but those are the core. It takes quite a lot of concentration. Tactics employed so far: 

  • Make myself big (well, ish) so people coming at me move when there's space.
  • Make myself small so I can overtake people who are walking abreast and filling the pavement.
  • Change speed to time getting through gaps - slower if one is about to appear, faster if one is closing.
  • Last resort - check the traffic and run on the road. This one needs a lot of care about bikes.

I got it down under 15 minutes this morning. The game went well. Still got trapped a couple of times though, so room for improvement!



It's taken a really long time. I submitted (September 2014), got through my viva (February 2015), submitted my corrections (August 2015) and got my letter saying my corrections were accepted (September 2015), but I finally got to graduate for my PhD. 

EAM31's graduation, Jan 2016

Yes, that is me. Promise. 

EAM31's graduation, Jan 2016

(I was messing around afterwards - all photos are from Clarkie.)

It feels slightly disconnected from the effort of finishing the whole thing, but it was bloody lovely to draw that line under it. It was nice that my parents could join us for the day too. 

EAM31's graduation, Jan 2016

So that's that. All the things done and dusted. Finally, I'm actually a doctor!

EAM31's graduation, Jan 2016