Spinach

I spent the week up in Yorkshire. My friends (RPU) were on a long journey back from Devon so they collected me along the way, stopping briefly for a very pleasant meal at a local restaurant. We all had Monday off so we headed to the River Wharfe at Burnsall to, amongst other goals, find the most egg-shaped stone in the river. Letting the chilly river water wash over us was fun and left us keen to do more again soon. Tuesday was spent doing a great walk. In only 9km we went through lots of varied terrain and interesting things to look at, red rivers, green valleys, lovely waterfalls, little villages with stepping stones. This was Ribblesdale, seemingly a lesser-visited destination of the Dales. We planned to go back to river-walk and look for more egg-shaped stones there later in the week but the weather had other ideas. It did cross my mind to organise a kayaking trip, but there's a difference between refreshing light rain and pelting, relentless rain, and sometimes a siesta is the best plan, at least until the latest UK weather warning lifts.

The GPS trace for the walk is available.

Ⓤ is now feeling more confident with spending time out with me alone. She suggested a simple itinerary for Tuesday evening — a 'silly train trip' of two minutes and two kilometres, comprising a visit to the library and the supermarket. On entering the supermarket she decided that we have to get flowers for her dads, and so we did. Most children tend to badger their adult assistant in a supermarket for sweets or toys, so bunches of flowers made a welcome change. This later formed the basis of a prank in which Ⓤ came home and nonchalantly announced that she'd bought spinach (in a huge bag designed for flowers) and looked delighted at the surprised faces when the recipients discovered the truth. This little trips out are fun; sitting in the library relaxing, and little moments like Ⓤ buying a train ticket for presumably the first time. Later in the week we did the same thing, only Ⓤ decided we could add a further activity to the itinerary (two instead of three). In truth, however, we ended up replacing the library with Clip 'n Climb, a climbing centre. I didn't understand her description of the automatic belaying system at first, but Ⓤ handled this by assuring my that she 'can see inside' me, and promised to climb so as not to cause too much anxiety. Again, we played another prank with a third bunch of flowers, but so as to intensify the surprise, they were claimed to be an old bag of radishes.

With the help of NTS Radio, I've been experimenting with putting on a wide range of music in the background while we work on other things. It turned out she likes bossa nova and other Brazilian sounds, but not everything is immediately popular. One of the experiments was with the music of the trumpet player and composer Jon Hassell, and specifically his Fourth World aesthetic. Ⓤ immediately compared this to 'a lot of chickens singing', but later in the week we tried the same recording, each part forming the inspiration for a different painting. We now have a picture of a singing chicken and a singing whale, so maybe she got something out of Hassell's work after all. I think at one point we were planning to send it to his agent. Given that he died six weeks ago, I don't think that would be very sensitive.

Further reportage: Spinach Delivery; Bonding With Bear.

Going home

And now, as I write this, I'm on the first train out of Leeds on the Sunday morning, heading back to Wiltshire. I'm with the Great British Public and all that that entails. I'm thinking about the bees and whether they have enough syrup. Yesterday I got another warning from BeeBase telling me there is EFB within 3km of us, the fourth case recently, which is making me nervous about the bees' health. Tomorrow the local bee inspector is coming so at least we'll get some reassurance then. I'd be gutted if we had to go back to square one. Last year, I had my beekeeping blog to report on the state of the colonies, but now I've established our hive records right here on this site for anyone interested in following them.

I wonder if my readers (both of them; no, seriously) would prefer a separate beekeeping blog or to just internalise this weekly drivel in one simple package. If you have a view, please get in touch. I keep meaning to start a maths/functional programming blog too, much more focussed than this one, and I'm pretty sure that should be split off into a separate blog.

Also this week

w3w.me.ss highlighting issues with relying on a particular proprietary geocode system in emergency situations, continuing the arguments in Terence Eden's 2019 blog post on the same topic. Particularly, the site links to Cybergibbon's analysis this week.

Koko-di Koko-da (2019), a Swedish horror film we didn't think much of at the halfway point but rather liked by the end; the off-kilter comedy Nathan For You; the trainsplit booking engine which takes advantage of the UK's illogical train fare system to get absurdly cheap fares and share the saving with you; split.traintimes.org.uk is also there if you want to do the individual bookings yourself; the new heathens.club XMPP server, demonstrating that a twenty-two-year-old, twentieth-century messaging protocol still out-performs (for some criteria) all the walled-garden messaging platforms out there today, without compromising your privacy.