Open Thinkering


Tag: holiday

Weeknote 16/2022

I’m composing this in the car as Hannah drives us all back home from Edinburgh airport. It feels like I’ve been driving for a significant chunk of the week in Croatia, and on the other side of the road. Note to self: never buy a Suzuki Vitara.

We flew back from Dubrovnik this morning, a wonderful city in which we didn’t spend enough time. Team Belshaw was based near Podgora in lovely, secluded location. The views, and in particular the sunsets, were spectacular. The only downside was that most things worth doing were in and around Split which necessitated an almost-daily pilgrimage of an hour and a half.

In addition to the driving was the Bora wind which blew hard for about 12 hours on two days. We also experienced an earthquake on our last night! All of that aside, we had a great time. There was enough sunshine to enjoy the (heated) outdoor pool, and having a table tennis table is always fun.

One of the highlights for me was unexpectedly being able to snag tickets to Hadjuk Split‘s football match against their main rivals, Dinamo Zagreb. The stadium, the atmosphere, and the policing(!) is unlike anything I’ve experienced in the UK. The hosts, Hadjuk Split won 1-0 and at one point we could barely see the pitch due to the number of flares being set off. Crazy.

I managed to go for a couple of 5k runs along the seafront while we were away. We travelled to the island of Hvar along narrow roads with precipitous drops. I read an entire non-fiction book on the flight back. My son and I went to an interactive communist history museum. Lots to unpack in the coming days.

Despite adding a few posts to Thought Shrapnel while away, and tomorrow being the last Sunday of April, I’m actually going to send out the next issue of the monthly newsletter on May 1st. (I also wrote a post here about unauditible algorithms.)

I’m back to work on Monday and want to make the most of the remnants of my third and final week off. I’ll have some catching up to do and need to get my head back in the game. I’m presenting at the Learning Technologies conference in a couple of weeks so I need to start preparing for that. It’s been great having long enough off (and having awesome enough colleagues) to fully unwind!

Weeknote 15/2022

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it! This has been the second of my three weeks off work this April. I’m also planning to take three weeks in August, as well as all of December off.

As planned, I mostly spent this week recovering from walking Hadrian’s Wall and doing DIY. I’m not sure if it’s because I walked it so quickly or because I’m getting older (or both) but it pretty much took me a full week from last Thursday to recover.

I’ve painted the decking, stained the fence, drilled and screwed things, listed stuff on eBay, and have generally been on-hand while Hannah worked and the kids were off school. I had visions of playing a lot of video games, but that didn’t really materialise. Two things I did do, though, were to install Asahi Linux on my Mac Mini M1 and to read the excellent novel Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of the Dead. My favourite highlights are here.

Team Belshaw is currently in Croatia after an early-morning flight on Saturday morning. We drove up the coast from Dubrovnik to a little place near Makarska. The photo at the top of the post was last night’s sunset. The view over the Adriatic Sea is magnificent.

The Bora wind started blowing last night and is just easing off now a bit. It’s due to return, though, later in the week. In the meantime we’re planning to explore Split and the Dalmatian coast, do a lot of reading, eat lots of good food, and generally (as my teenage son would say) ‘vibe’.

Weeknote 30/2021

Our Devon holiday home

I’m composing this in the WordPress mobile app as my wife and I share the drive back home. We’re also stopping off overnight and splitting the journey into two, as seven or eight hours in the car is not conducive to harmonious Team Belshaw relationships!

Some holiday weeks seem to go really quickly and you’re back to work before you know it. Thankfully, this week hasn’t been like that, and we’ve had a proper break. We needed a period of decompression after my mothers in-law’s funeral last Friday and this week has certainly given us that.

The weather in Devon hasn’t been as hot and dry as in previous years, but that’s no bad thing. It’s given us an excuse to watch plenty of the Olympics on TV in the mornings and then go out and about in the afternoons. I’m not too comfortable in heat above 25C anyway.

One of the highlights of this week for me was hiring bikes on Monday and cycling along the River Exe from Exeter to Starcross. Both our kids are good on two wheels, and during that trio our youngest learned to ride with no hands. Unfortunately, on the return leg, a bee stung my son quite badly on the chest, and my daughter steered herself into a hedge full of nettles while looking up at a plane.

We spent a large chunk of the rest of the week at my sister-in-law’s house; their kids are only slightly younger than our two. It’s always good to hang out with them.

Other than that, I’ve been minimally checking (but not replying to) emails, and I deleted the Slack app from my phone completely. Some people seem to live for work and seem not to know what to do when away from it. That was me about a decade ago, but no more. As I saw someone say on social media recently, you may be able to get anything you want if you work hard, but what if your goal is not to work hard?

Either way, I feel pretty refreshed and relaxed heading back to work next week. It’ll be a quiet-ish August on the work front anyway, as I need to be on-hand to take the kids to their various sports camps.

One thing I’ve definitely realised this week is that its time to lose those pandemic pounds. I’m still relatively fit, but running and other exercise is harder than it needs to be at the moment. I’ve ordered some sample packs from Genesis Foods as they’re a small UK-based company committed to environmental sustainability and sharing profits with their staff. Let’s hope their product tastes good!