lnr: (Default)
2017-08-21 02:03 pm

What I did on my holidays: Devon

So, we had a fab holiday in Devon with family, slightly hampered by trying to organise lots of small bunches of people into doing things socially together when they all have different routines and mealtimes.


Wortham 2017


Friday: train down to Exeter to meet up with Steph and Dad, where we organise ourselves into two cars, and Steph and Dad drove us over to Wortham Manor, where Em and Mum were already settling in. Also joined by Gail and David, and Bob and Doreen for the first few days who mostly did their own thing in the daytime but were lovely company in the evenings and cooked some great meals!

Saturday: Day out to Bude, lots of fun building sandcastles and chasing waves, but cut short by the realisation we'd not bought enough car parking and weren't allowed to extend it.

Sunday: dad accidentally went off with our car seat in his car, so Em and Steph went off to see Launceton Castle while Mike, Matthew and I had a nice walk in the lanes near the house, and found an incredible blackberry patch. Grandad joined us in the evening, and sadly James had to leave us.

Monday: a rainy day, so we headed to the Fairground Heritage Centre near Lifton. I'd have liked a better look at some of the exhibits, but had lots of fun accompanying Izzy and Matthew on the dodgems, Izzy on the ghost train and Izzy and Ollie on the Chariot Racer - which was *very* fast. Chris and Kathryn managed to join us in the later afternoon which was lovely, and very brave of them to stay for tea with the whole clan :)

Tuesday: Mum's birthday. A lovely lunch out (where I learned the skill of *not* calling one of the chairs round the table "special" in front of three children), excellent food, shame about the service. A very late afternoon tea, with cake and scones and sandwiches and fizz, and Mike and I took an evening walk, and found deer and rabbits, but no badgers this year. We got back just before the rain :)

Wednesday: Off to Hidden Valley with Em and Steph and the kids. The Maze was a big hit with all of them, and they enjoyed the Indiana Jones trail and hunting for clues. I think the grown-ups might have quite liked to do some of the harder puzzles too. We also did an immense quantity of blackberry picking which the kids loved, and left more than enough for apple and blackberry crumble. (I fear eventually the rest went in the compost).

Thursday: last full day spent mostly at the beach at Bude again, wave hopping and paddling before a fish and chips lunch, then sandcastles, dam-building and a dip in the sea pool - Oliver very disappointed that it wasn't a *heated* pool. I braved a whole actual length across and back as well as some pottering about, but it really was rather bracing. A quiet evening as Em headed off early, and mum and dad out to Dinner, so Steph and Mike and I fed the kids and then had a somewhat bonkers last meal of fish fingers, burgers, chips, salsa and sour cream and chive dip :)

Sad not to manage to meet up with Kate and Nigel - but an excuse to go visit their cottage next year!

Photos on Flickr: Wortham Manor 2017

I think with the demise of Livejournal I'm going to be aiming to use Flickr as the best option for both hosting and sharing photos, as it's more visible to folk outside Facebook. If you dislike any of the photos just ask and I can make private or take down.
lnr: (Default)
2017-07-18 01:42 pm

Catch up

Done since Jun 14th:
  • Test rode an Onderwater tandem, which has the child stoker seat at front - Matthew loved it
  • Second parents evening for Matthew's school, nice to see teachers again and get more idea of school plans
  • Rainbow Sponsored Trike Ride - I ended up riding Matthew's bike as a balance bike since he didn't want to join in
  • Blood tests: my calcium, parathyroid hormone and vitamin D levels are all normal, but keep taking the vitamin D for now
  • We did HBA1C as well, which is average blood sugar levels, also fine - I'm at slight risk due to Type 2 diabetes in family and current weight)
  • Picnic lunch and playdate with Kirsten/Andre/Judith/Colin and Lammas Land - lots of fun
  • Shelford Feast - Matthew enjoyed all the stalls and mini steam train and bouncy castles, I helped out on the Rainbow stall
  • Eye Test for Matthew this morning: doing great, patching is helping his eyes work well together, ordered new lenses for his current glasses, next appointment in October half term
  • Work appointed one interim head, who only stayed 2 days, and are now appointing again
  • The "implementation" phase of Organisational Change is officially complete and we all now in theory have new jobs - but almost no management so not much actual change at the moment
  • Total resignations now at 4 (Patrick, James, Stephen, Andrew) with possibility of more to come

Plus assorted bike rides, visits to the park, dyeing hair purple again and so on - and lots of lego :)

Coming up in the near future:
  • Collect Matthew's school uniform (I see the school's admin at Pre-School and she's kindly said she'll bring it along for me)
  • Early start tomorrow for Rainbow Leavers Trip to Wandlebury
  • Rainbow end of term staff party tomorrow evening: as part of the committee I'm involved in helping host it
  • Rainbow leaving party on Friday morning - last day of pre-school!
  • A week in the lake district starting on Saturday
  • Test riding a Circe Helios tandem when we get back
  • Folk Festival on Sunday 30th - possibly with Matthew, possibly without
  • New Interim Head of IT Group starts (phased in) on 1st August (Hi Julian)
  • A week in Devon with family from 4th August - staying at Wortham Manor

In between the two weeks away Matthew will have a week at Hania's - and then when we get back he's got three weeks of holiday club before granny and grandad come to visit the first week in September, and then school starts on the 11th.

I think I know why I'm exhausted :)


lnr: (Default)
2017-06-14 01:40 pm

Charity

During the election I filled in a "Vote for Policies" thing, which basically showed you the policies of all the main parties in your area without indication which was which. I got a small tear in my eye at the inclusion in the "Equality and Rights" section when I found one party included:

* Ensure a woman’s right to choose a safe, legal abortion – and work to extend that right to women in Northern Ireland.

Today I learn that the supreme court has ruled that women from Northern Ireland, who cannot legally access an abortion at home, have no right to an abortion on the NHS if they travel to England. I'm enormously saddened. Having already sent some money to the Red Cross (which I hope they'll use to help the poor people who've just lost their homes and friends and loved ones in the tower fire last night) I've now also sent a small donation to the Abortion Support Network, who help women who need to travel and pay to access something which I would receive for free. I sincerely hope this situation is one which is changed in my lifetime, but with the DUP having a disproportionate amount of power in the UK at the moment I'm not sure I feel like it will be soon.

This isn't something that people should have to rely on charity for.

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/News/2017/June/Grenfell-Tower-fire
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-40271763
https://www.asn.org.uk/single-donation/
lnr: (Default)
2017-06-05 05:28 pm

On schools and childcare

We have accepted that Matthew will be going to Trumpington Park Primary in September. We've filled in their admissions form, ordered some school uniform, and applied for an after-school place for one day a week. We can't visit the building yet as it's not finished(!) but they are having another parents evening in a couple of weeks, and then doing home visits the first week of September and starting school full time the week after.

I've also registered with the University Playscheme, though sadly they won't take children until they've started school, so not until Autumn half term. I'm hoping Hania can have Matthew one week this summer, we're away for two, Mum and Dad are coming down for a few days the first week in September (when school hasn't started properly yet) - which leaves three weeks to cover over the summer. I'm looking at a Super Camps place on Long Road as one possibility, and have contacted the Wacky Club (who do after-school for Shelford in the same building Matthew goes to Rainbow in and may or may not accept pre-school four year olds over the summer). All so very grown up - but he had a lovely couple of days with granny and grandad staying over half term - and did really when with a teenage friend babysitting for him the other week too.

It will be very strange for all of us when he starts school, but I think he'll enjoy it.
lnr: (Default)
2017-06-01 12:28 pm

Meet the new boss

 So, how is the Organisational change going at work?

The proposed new organisational chart is something like this:



With James, Stephen and Paul being on the same grade, though James is nominally head of IT, and reporting to Philip as part of the department's senior management.

Trouble is both Stephen and James have resigned - so this week we've been interviewing for a new interim head of IT to replace James for 6 months, and who will help to implement the rest of the organisational change and appoint both her own and Stephen's successors.  I was part of the informal stage of the interview process, giving both candidates a tour of the department to meet to people both in IT and Academics and get an idea for the scope of what we do.  It was a fairly intense experience, but I'm happy to say that pretty much everyone agreed on one candidate, and as a result Sandra will be starting on Monday, giving a couple of weeks overlap before Stephen and James leave.  Phew.

Being in the Infrastructure group does mean a change of manager for me (as Stephen was previously my manager) but will still at least mean a bit of continuity as I'm familiar with Paul.  We're all still in a kind of limbo wondering how it will all work out in the end though!
lnr: (Default)
2017-05-09 11:53 am
Entry tags:

On breastfeeding beyond infancy

Most of you probably know that Matthew was breastfed as a baby, and that we continued well into toddlerhood and beyond.  To be honest if you spent any time with us it was probably hard to avoid knowing :)  There were times when it looked like he'd never stop, and it's always been both easier and nicer to continue.

Well, it looks like we're starting to head towards the end. Matthew was 4 in March, and (apart from occasional injury or meltdown) we've only been feeding morning and night since Christmas. A month or so back we stopped doing milk downstairs at bedtime too, so he's only had night-time milk when it's my turn for bedtime.

Last night at teatime I asked if he was ready to stop having mummy milk - and said we'd buy him a lovely present to celebrate being such a big grown up boy (he has his eye on some more Nexo Knights Lego). He agreed - and had just cuddles with his stories at bedtime.

I was not at all surprised to find he did want some milk with his iPad this morning. I asked if he really did want milk, and reminded him about the present, but he decided he did want milk for now, and we can try again tomorrow or next week. We'll see!

Daddy's been ready for him to stop having milk completely for a while now, and I think I'm pretty much ready too. It looks like it won't be long before Matthew is!

lnr: (Default)
2017-04-24 12:31 pm

Stuff - especially schools

Wow, I'm faintly astonished by the amount of stuff being posted here on DW at the moment. I think I'm going to have to investigate reading on my phone rather than just in breaks at work or I'll never keep up :)

So since we got back from the peaks:

  • The boiler broke, but was fixed within 24 hours with a £300 quid part. Thank goodness for the annual £160 service contract!
  • Easter happened
  • We had a visit from Rae and Adam and enjoyed the unexpected sunshine in the Botanic Gardens
  • We went for a bike ride over to Whittlesford and Thriplow, with a picnic lunch, and back via Harston Red
  • My phone came back from its holiday in Sheffield, safely in one piece
  • Primary school place application results were announced (more on that below)
  • The UK announced a snap general election
  • Mike had a birthday
  • We survived three lovely birthday parties for four four-year-olds in two days
  • Ireland seem to be on the way to huge changes in abortion law
  • The consultation phase on organisational change ends today

Many positive things there, but the organisational change and general election, on top of general brexit fears, are a bit tough. Still the hardest thing at the moment is probably the primary school results.

schools )

Finally, a meme: meme )

lnr: (Default)
2017-04-11 11:38 am
Entry tags:

Holiday in the Peaks

I'm a bit behind, having entirely failed to blog about:

  • Devin Townsend gig
  • Matthew's birthday
  • Suze and Andy's wedding
  • Matthew's birthday party

(all of which were awesome).

However I shall skip a bit and tell you about my holidays :)

We stayed in Bakewell - in a nice enough little apartment in the Sleeplodge at Bagshaw Hall, which is up the most amazing little narrow road/footpath called Fly Hill. Not recommended by bike!

Friday - Chatsworth )

Saturday - Monsal Trail )

Sunday - Castleton )

Not too many adventures on the bus and train ride home on Monday, other than accidentally leaving the carrier bag with the bakewell pudding in it on the bus! I am not to be trusted on buses it seems. Still, I have ordered us a replacement online, so no real harm done there. A lovely long weekend away, and we couldn't asked for nicer weather this time of year!

lnr: (Default)
2017-04-05 03:14 pm

Hello Dreamwidth

Is this thing on?

I've had a dormant account here for ages, but am currently in the process of importing my old LJ content, and will be blogging here primarily in future.

I'll still be reading my LJ friends page, so do let me know if I ought to be following you there rather than here!
lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)
2017-04-05 03:13 pm

Time for migration

Livejournal's new Terms of Service (which I've had to agree to in order to read about them and post this) are not to my taste. I've been here a long time, and have quite an emotional attachment to it, being a permanent member for many years, but from now on I'll be posting on Dreamwidth instead.

For the meantime I think this LJ will stay open, although I'm also copying the old content over there. I've not yet decided whether to crosspost between the two yet. I might be back some time later, but I'm not sure.

If you're over there and I haven't found you yet do drop by and say hello or add me. I'll be gradually removing friends over here as I confirm they're over there (if that makes sense) - if I've already removed you from my LJ friends but your main account is still your LJ one then let me know and I'll re-add. I'll still be reading here to keep in touch.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)
2017-03-08 01:24 pm
Entry tags:

Thoughts on abortion on International Women's Day

Larissa Nolan writes in the Irish Times about being a non-religious pro-life supporter in the current climate, and how she finds the rhetoric of some of the pro-choice supporters to be off-putting: The Repeal the Eighth march will backfire

However I find myself utterly baffled, because nearly everything she describes herself as wanting is totally compatible with a pro-choice point of view, and with the repeal of the 8th amendment in Ireland (and the similar laws in Northern Ireland).

"I do not judge anyone who has ever come to the decision that an abortion is the best choice for them at a given time. That is their own business, borne out of their own individual circumstance."

She thinks abortion should be

"a viable last-resort option in a desperate situation"

And details some of those situations:

"women suffering the grief of carrying a baby with a fatal foetal abnormality should not have to travel to end the ordeal."
"if that mother has six other children at home to look after, surely the only right answer is to prioritise her life in the case of an emergency"

But most shocking for me was:

"I understand that there are woman out there who, deep inside, actually do want to go ahead with the pregnancy, despite the emotional, physical and financial struggle of single parenthood – and despite the shame and the social stigma. [...] It is harmful for women not to allow them this."

No-one I know who is pro-choice considers that abortion should be forced upon anyone. What we should be doing is making sure that all women who become pregnant are properly supported in their choice as to what to do next. And that includes making it easier in terms of support for those who want to keep their children in difficult circumstance.

Finally what could be more pro-choice than this:

"It is grossly irresponsible to push your own beliefs and agenda, whatever they may be, on anyone who finds themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation. It is a decision only they can make, as the only ones who have to live with it. It is not you and your political ideology that could be left with a lifetime of psychological damage."

I think overall she makes a very strong case for repealing the 8th amendment.

lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)
2017-02-06 09:42 am

Complaint about the number 18 bus

Sometimes cycling to work is Not Fun.

complaint email )

Edit: see comments for their response
lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)
2017-01-31 11:42 am

Work, and reviews

So, in October 2015 it was suddenly announced that there was to be a review of IT in the Engineering Department. This was met with some hostility, since we had in fact only fairly recently been reviewed by the previous Head of Department, but still, it went ahead, there were lots of surveys and interviews, and although we'd originally been told it would be ready around July it was finally published in October 2016.

The conclusion of the IT Review was that there was a perceived need for some Organisational Change, and they announced in late October that they had employed a Change Manager to produce a business case for the changes, and this would go to the Academic Committee (in a fortnight!) to decide. Obviously this was too short a timescale, and he asked the committee for more time, intending to produce a business case by January. Then in early December we had an email setting out a timetable:

Mid March - briefing paper summarising changes, and open meeting with staff
March 2017 onwards - formal consultation
Mid May onwards - implementation
Mid July onwards - Concluding the change period, and next stages.

So we've kind of been ticking over in complete limbo since then, although one colleague has quit and another is actively applying for jobs. We suddenly got some more rather unexpected news today though - the Change Manager has quit. He's working out his 2 weeks notice, and will hand over the business case next week. You couldn't make it up. I'm trying not to even speculate what the hell this means for us in practice.
lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)
2017-01-04 03:19 pm

Happy New Year

What is the state of the [livejournal.com profile] lnr? Read more... )

lnr: (pink hair 2006)
2016-12-12 01:36 pm
Entry tags:

Things

A short list of things

  • My mum's gall bladder is safely removed, hopefully good riddance
  • My phone has died again, and is on its way to Giffgaff to hopefully be fixed under warranty
  • I have a startlingly old-fashioned dumb-phone to keep me in calls and texts in the meantime - usual number
  • Am considering buying a new phone in the New Year anyway
  • I've booked the eye test Specsavers have been reminding me about since March - now only £7.50 instead of a tenner :)
  • I dyed my hair purple, coincidentally the same shade as 10 years ago, in just the week people are comparing old and new photos - it doesn't look quite as bright as it did on bleached hair of course
  • The Christmas tree is up and we have some lights in the garden too at Matthew's request, and a decorated office door at work
  • I have printed out the Christmas card list, ready to start writing cards, late as usual
  • I *think* I just did the last bit of present shopping, I gave in and did it online, couldn't face the shops

hair tree

Any phone recommendations welcomed - current phone is a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, and I like the size and the general look and feel and so on. I'd like something with a little bit more power (mostly for Pokemon Go). Looking to spend around £200 again sim-free, or find something on contract for around £15 a month since that's roughly what the Samsung has worked out as over 24 months (including a fiver a month on 500MB of data, and the occasional top-up for calls and texts).

And if you'd like a Christmas card and are not on my usual list then drop me a line with your address!

lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)
2016-12-05 04:43 pm

Cycling redux

Oh and here's the video we took of Matthew on his bike:

lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)
2016-12-05 04:40 pm

Virgin Media

Is it just me or is this bafflingly hopeless?

Online chat transcript )
lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)
2016-11-29 02:30 pm

Exciting new things

On Saturday Matthew learned to ride his bike! He's been having a go on his pedal bike periodically since June, and was feeling a lot better balanced when holding him recently, so on Saturday we tried letting go for more than a brief second, and he was off! He had several goes on the way to the park and on the way back he happily rode several hundred metres all by himself. Absolutely brilliant.

And on Sunday Mike and I went to an *actual gig*. Terrorvision at Koko in Camden. This involved Matthew's first time with a babysitter - which was in the form of a sleepover at his former childminders, and being dropped off at home afterwards. We had an absolutely brilliant time - they played the whole of the Regular Urban Survivors album (it was a 25th anniversary tour) and then another set with loads of favourites, including Pretend Best Friend, Alice What's the Matter, and finished with Oblivion. Despite a dodgy knee I bounced my socks (well, tartan tights) off. And they finished 5 minutes before my alarm for the "We must go now or we'll miss the train", which was just perfect timing really. Tax the Heat as support were pretty good too, and we arrived before they started, so all in all it couldn't have gone much better. And despite tears when we left him Matthew had a lovely time at Hania's too - so it's all good.

Yay!

lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)
2016-10-20 10:38 pm

Things

Sertraline dose at 50mg a day confirmed by rather nice Dr O'Leary, who wants me to come back in a fortnight to check I'm OK, and has given me a leaflet on the local (self referral) therapy options. I mentioned that I'd heard depression and low thyroid function are sometimes linked, and he said that since I *am* responding to the Sertraline that's not very likely to be the cause of it in my case, but that he may as well test. He said he'd also check calcium levels, so I mentioned the parathyroid issues from a few years back and he's also going to check parathyroid levels. So back in a week for blood tests with the nurse too. Since it's half term I'll take Matthew, will do him good to see non-scary needles not hurting mummy.

Matthew's pre-school photo proofs were finally available yesterday, and on review one of them was nice enough to get prints done. Though I've gone the route of ordering a digital image from the photographers with a licence for personal use (though they retain the copyright), and ordering some prints from Photobox. I should get round to getting some other prints done too as it's a while since we did any.

And the IT Review at work is officially published today! The day after we met the person who will be in charge of managing the changes needed to implement it, without anyone saying a word about the fact that's what was going to happen. Proposing a reorganisation which should be neutral as to staff numbers, but it all has to go through the University's organisational change management processes and more due consultation and so on and so forth. So we're still very wait-and-see and still fairly cynical, but it's not as bad as it could have been. It's online here: http://www.hr.eng.cam.ac.uk/2016-it-review (not sure if that link is valid outside the University).

And I've just spend a pleasant evening pootling about with Mike in our little Minecraft work playing with making my redstone powered secret doors work better. Now at least you can always get *out* of the secret room :)