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May's Journal
July's Journal

[17:20] And here we are at the middle of the year. Or nearly, sort of, almost. A lot has gone on since I last wrote. So as per the 'new' (really not at this point) usual, I'll detail herewith what's been happening in the mild hope that you might find it moderately interesting. If nothing else it'll give me some useful insights into what went on in my life when I'm in my dotage. But anyway...

I decided it was time for some new glasses (did I mention that?) in early May, and went and got my eyes tested, going to select some new frames from Boots with Rel (she's the one who'll see me more than anyone else these days) a week later when she was in town. This followed a very busy weekend for her when she paced someone for the final stage of a 100 mile race along the Thames Path immediately after being a bridesmaid at a friend's wedding. Running in makeup and a glittering hair accessory was apparently quite the site for the person she was with. Immediately after coming to see me and helping me choose my new frames she headed off to the US for an international board meeting. So it was all go for her for a week or so. Mostly for me during May I was either getting up early to patch and reboot hosts, or trying very hard to concentrate on doing VMWare training, and failing at the latter. Over the middle weekend of May I was on call while our primary finance system was upgraded. While I was tethered to my house to be able to access a computer quickly, Rel was out running another of this year's 50 mile races. This time across a section of the North Downs Way. This is a race I've done before, so I could track her online and remember every single hard uphill she navigated. For not feeling at her best post-US trip she still managed to be my best time by a few minutes, which is par for the course as she really comes into her own running this distance.

The last week of May was something special, though. After taking a train up to Rel, we then took trains north and into Scotland, staying overnight in Glasgow before joining my whole family (father, mother, brother, newphew) on the Isle of Iona (we actually met my parents in Oban, and my brother and his son on Mull). This was my first trip back to Iona in about 35 years, and I was struck by two things immediately. First that I'd been away far, far too long, and second that it is still in the top two of my favourite places on the planet. I was much heartened to find that Rel loved it almost as much as me, if not just as much. Aside from it being a bit windy on the first day or so, the weather was as near to perfect as it could be, which showed off the whole place just as much as possible. The only negative was that over the last few weeks I've been suffering from the worst bout of achillies tendonitis I've had in a very long time, so wasn't really happy doing very long runs. Especially as I'd only brought off-road shoes and to get to some places a bit of road-running (on the only road there is) is necessary. We still managed to almost completely explore the isle (3 miles by 1 mile), and I got to remember that most of the place is perma-bog, with only a few semi-hidden paths providing the chance to keep your feet relatively dry. However, at the end of the week we'd seen as much of the place as one could and still stay safe. Other highlights of the week were a boat trip to Staffa to see puffins and Fingle's Cave, and a short run down the coast of Mull to explore some beaches, do some swimming, and generally have a bit of alone time away from the rest of the family. We even managed to get a bit of a tan, and might have burnt without sun cream on.

We all left Iona together and Rel and I stayed the night in a reasonable Air BnB in Edinburgh before exploring the Royal Mile and even power hiking up Arthur's Seat with our full rucksacks before settling onto the train south of the border. I stayed overnight with Rel before coming back home again to start work again yesterday.

Obviously the day began with patching and rebooting early on, so I'd spent some of the afternoon before staging firmware updates and the like to make things go a bit more smoothly and quickly. Also as I thought things might go on a bit I got up super-early to get my run in beforehand. My achilles tendons still aren't right, so I've booked a physio appointment for them as well as to find out if anything can be done about the quad issue I've had in my last two road races.

Looking forward to the rest of the month, Rel arrives tonight for a few nights before she's off to volunteer at an aid station for another 100 mile race. I think she'll be doing an overnight stint, which might be interesting, but at least she won't be running. Towards the end of the month she'll be off to Burundi with work to look at some of the projects she's been setting up, and won't be back until her birthday. I might not even get to see her then as she has a visitor from Kenya or Tanzania arriving the day after her birthday so I can't really go down to see her or she come to me. In fact it's possible I might not see her until eight or nine days after her birthday, which is a bit sad. I guess we'll see what we can fit in.

For now though, I think that's it. I'm off shortly to meet her at the train station and then we might take a quick cycle to where I think there is a Renault Twizzy that she wants to look at in the flesh with a view to buying one (something I have disrecommended). Then we'll pop in to Tesco for some supplements to dinner and then settle in for the night with food and Britbox. See you in July, if not before (unlikely).