And we’re back!

From time-to-time, I feel the urge to write a blog post on something and then I realise that there’s this gaping void since I last wrote anything (16 months) for which it would be remiss not to say anything given all that has happened. So, the next few posts will be a whistle-stop tour of that gap, hopefully, followed by some more regular posting. The advantage of going back over a year is that I get to relive life pre the big ‘C’ (that’s Covid, not Cancer, for those looking back at some point in the future when hopefully this is all but a distant memory).

So what happened between Duncan’s birthday and the end of 2019? There was lots of outdoor activity, starting with Christine running the Clarendon Marathon. I did a couple of the CC6 cross-country events, as well as two Hants XC League races. The one at Sparsholt college was a particularly good mudbath! I was also continuing to run the monthly Strava challenges set by my ex-colleagues at IBM and returning to Hursley every other Wednesday to either run or marshall the fit52 5k events.

On the orienteering front, I planned an event at Fritham which was well attended despite the atrocious weather. After hanging controls, the rest of the family disappeared to get the car MOT’d as we’d discovered the night before that it had expired! I managed to leave one of the controls out in the forest but thankfully was back there a couple of days later for a Tuesday evening run and could retrieve it.

During half-term, we all went along to a Military League South event at Roundhill. It was the November Classic at the end of that week and I had the fun job of parking cars in an area that we were sharing with Totton RC’s Stinger race. It seemed to work okay although I then had a terrible run on Bramshaw. Emma was meant to attend an O-Camp at Burley Youth Hostel that weekend but it ended up being only a single night due to more bad weather.

We also managed another club event at Kings Garn Gutter and the British Schools Orienteering Champs near Slough where both children had good runs. SOC was also having monthly MapRun events taking us to Winchester, Romsey, and Southampton.

Music was another theme with Christine performing in two Thornden Community Wind Band concerts, Duncan taking his Grade 3 recorder exam, and Emma appeared in a school concert singing and playing the violin and recorder (not all at once). Not sure what my contribution to this them was!

On the work front, I had two overseas trips. An internal meeting in Raleigh (again) and then I was on booth duty at our DevOps World event in Lisbon (a first visit to Portugal for me). I was interviewed for, and offered, a job which would have seen me return to an office location. After much soul searching and discussion with my current management, I decided to turn the offer down but it did precipitate my move into a tech lead role at CloudBees.

Indirectly related to work, I gave one of Christine’s lectures on “Databases and SQL”, a subject that has been occupying a disproportionate amount of my time. I also helped out at a Code Retreat back at IBM which was good fun. I made a last-minute decision to go to the London Java Community’s Unconference. I almost didn’t make it when my key got stuck in my bike lock at the station but, with some WD40 courtesy of SW Trains, I was on my way again. There were some good sessions as well as providing an opportunity to catch up with some old friends.

Despite many an hour spent completing Advent of Code (in Python this year), there was still time for some socialising in the run-up to Christmas starting with the CloudBees Whitely Christmas meal. The “Run the Pubs” tradition continued, albeit with less running and fewer pubs! It was also our turn to host a group of friends for pre-Christmas drinks. We’d just about recovered from that before disappearing to Monmouth for Christmas itself. We then made a trip across to my parents before New Year which was to prove to be the last time we’d see them face-to-face for over a year…

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