Weeknote 2024-15

A well-timed sale

  • This is actually a combination of weeknotes for week 14 and week 15.

    Whilst I had written weeknotes last week, I didn’t get a chance to tidy up and publish because I was busy packing for a family holiday.

    I spent a wonderful week with the fam, in a large, well provisioned canvas building (I can’t, in good conscience, call it a tent) in Suffolk.

    For 5 days, we had no electricity, sporadic internet, and only a wood stove and oil lamps for light and heat. It was absolutely glorious. We went on long walks and spent time together during the day. And in the evenings, we read books, and I journalled a lot. 10/10, would recommend.

  • I now own a sword (or technically, a sword-like object, since it’s a reproduction for display purposes only and in no way suitable for re-enactment or actual use).

    English Heritage sites sell quite a large array of historically accurate replica pieces in their gift shops and for a few years now I’ve had my eye on one particular piece: A sword inspired by the effigy of Sir William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke.

    I love learning about the history of Britain - particulary from the start of the Anglo-Saxon era and the Norman invasion, through the Plantagenet era and the Wars of the Roses, and up to the start of the Tudor dynasty (honestly, I find the early-modern and onward a bit of a struggle due to the increasingly complex politics that start to develop but I still enjoy it).

    William Marshal is one of my favourite characters to read about. The dude served 4 English kings, was a key person in the adoption of the Magna Carta, described by the contemporary Archbishop of Canterbury as “the greatest knight that ever lived”, and lead a battle, on horseback to defeat a French invasion force at the Battle of Lincoln when he was over 70 years old! Absolutely fascinating character.

    Anyway. A well timed sale was just the push I needed to buy his sword while we were on holiday during a visit to Framlingham castle, which was a fascinating place to go, and I thoroughly recommend it if you ever find yourself in the area.

    I am planning on hanging it in a convenient location to be prominently displayed during video calls.

  • I got around to setting up my old Tacx Flow trainer with Zwift in the garage, and I now have a pretty usable setup for doing some cycling in the evenings after work. I am running Zwift on my Surface Pro 7, so the graphics settings have to be turned down a bit, which is fine.

    By far the biggest concern with this setup is that the garage is a separate building to my house and my Wi-Fi doesn’t reach. So I have to make sure that Zwift is updated and running while I’m indoors, and then carry it out to the garage and tether it to my phone while actually running. I’m going to give this a while to see how usable it is long term before I invest in pushing the internet into the garage. I have a 30Gb/month data plan, so I’m hoping I won’t have too many worries.

    I also need to dig out a spare fan, and set that up so that it’s pointing at me while I ride. I forgot quite how weird it feels cycling indoors with no airflow.

    I actually really want to get out and cycle properly now that the weather is warming up, but being able to just nip out to the garage for 30 minutes is pretty compelling. Thankfully the Tacx is easy enough to clip the bike in and out of.

  • I finally got around to servicing the car and dealing with the annoying knocking before our holiday. Turns out I had knocked the undertray slightly loose in a particularly vicious pothole over the winter. Glad it wasn’t anything major, and I’m grateful to be able to drive it up the country without incident or worry.

  • In another instance of a well-timed sale being just the push I needed, I bought a backpack. I wrote about my unhappiness with my Osprey Nebula a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been looking around for a replacement since.

    Over the Easter weekend I bought a Trakke Bannoch with a decent discount. It’s taken me nearly two weeks of fighting with myself to decide to keep it, because of how bloody expensive it was, even in the sale. I’m not sure I’ve ever spent this much money on something that wasn’t a mode of transport, a place to live, a pair of glasses, or a computer before.

    That being said: I really love it! It matches almost all of the criteria I listed for my ideal bag - with the only exception being the lack of externally accessible small pockets; but what organisation it does have is easily accessible enough that I don’t mind.

    The key point that did it for me is that it’s made by a small company in Scotland, using materials manufactured within the UK. It has a lifetime warranty for materials and workmanship and a repair/refurb program for if you mess it up too bad. Although, because it’s made of canvas and is almost zip-free, I’m pretty confident I could repair almost any part of it myself.

    This bag will hopefully outlive me.

  • The irony of me caring about the sustanability and eco-credentials of a product I’m purchasing predominantly to use while travelling for work is not lost on me.