ewx: (penguin)

We went climbing on Stanage Edge, a lengthy escarpment in the Peak District.

Climbing. We mostly stuck to Mod and Diff routes. For the first few days we managed a lead and a second each; much of the rest of the time was consumed with false starts and getting lost trying to find the next route we wanted to do. We had nice weather and beautiful scenery though. For the last couple of days our productivity roughly doubled, partly a result of more effective navigation but probably also “getting into the swing” of it. On Sunday Matthew and Sally joined us which made for a good end to an already excellent week.


N looks down.

Other Activities. Friday was the only day that was seriously wet during the day and we went to Chatsworth House, the seat of the Dukes of Devonshire even today. In local terms it’s kind of like Wimpole but on a rather grander scale. Its continued noble occupation has resulted in the accumulation of contemporary art as well as the usual stately home standbys, although excepting the photography I didn’t rate much of it. It’s also substantially covered in scaffolding and sheeting at the moment due to extensive renovation works; apart from the occasional drilling sounds (which based on conversation maybe annoyed the staff more than they did us) this didn’t really impact on our visit, though if you want a clear view of the whole exterior then maybe you should postpone your visit until this is finished.


I kind of want Mallory Ortberg to caption this.

We also made it to Sheffield Hallam Parkrun, where I chipped a few seconds off my PB. I’m not sure how comparable it is with Cambridge, though. Doing a 5km run in the morning coincided with the uptick in our climbing productivity, which N didn’t consider a coincidence.

Accommodation. We stayed at the North Lees campsite, which is a pleasant 10m walk from the road below Stanage Edge (more to the rock, depending which bit you aim for and how lost you get). Slightly spartan but it did the job. It was mostly fairly empty, only really getting crowded at the weekend. Generally the first thing we heard on waking was sheep.


The purple sleeping bag is N’s, surprising nobody.

The nearest village is Hathersage, which was a pleasant enough walk in the light though a bit dicey coming back in the dark. We tried two of the three pubs for dinner, returning to the Scotsman’s Pack for a second visit and eating once at the nevertheless perfectly acceptable Plough Inn and one of the two local curry places, Maazi.

Driving. I haven’t owned a car for more than a decade and until very recently hadn’t driven one for around half as long. For this trip we hired a car and mostly got on well, though I thoroughly disliked the single-track lanes around the campsite.



Cars have changed in the (mumble) years since the previous car I drove left the factory. Six forward gears is an obvious enough evolutionary step and I was vaguely aware of start-stop but I’d not expected the electronic handbrake, nor had I expected the car to tell me when to shift gear - something it was generally right about on the motorways, but I thought less reliable when getting round those narrow lanes.

Photos. There are lots more photos on flickr. I made some videos while climbing although I think they’ll be of more interest for analyzing gear placement than general interest.

ewx: (penguin)
We went to http://clipnclimbcambridge.co.uk/. As a quick look at the website will make clear this isn't a traditional climbing wall - instead of the usual rock-like holds there is a broad variety of (mostly plastic) constructions. The gallery on the website gives some idea and a lot of the routes in the video turn up in Cambridge.

It’s aimed at a general audience of children and adults, not just experienced climbers - there’s no need for climbing shoes, and harnesses are provided. (If you have one, don’t bother bringing it, they won’t let you use it.)

We enjoyed it though going on an extremely hot day wasn’t the best of plans; the only concession to cooling possible was some fans in the corners. I managed most of the routes although a few defeated me in their harder versions (most of them have two or three difficulty levels). In some cases the biggest difficulty was sweat making plastic holds slippery - I had to use slightly awkward grips to stay held on reliably.

The staff insist on doing all the clipping in and out (understandably given the inexperienced intended audience). All the routes have auto belays; among other things this means that usual rest between climbs while belaying someone else didn’t exist l-)

I thought it was quite expensive for what we got; specifically, for an hour climbing we actually slightly paid more than our regular trips which includes a train journey. Still, we had a lot of fun.
ewx: (penguin)

[livejournal.com profile] naath is taking a long walk in Scotland. She's sent some photos:

PICTures )


Jan. 17th, 2016 10:47 pm
ewx: (parrot)
[livejournal.com profile] naath has purple hair now!


(In fact since before Christmas, I'm just behind on posting photos.)
ewx: (photos)

We went on holiday to Scandinavia in August. Some of the highlights…


  • Photos.
  • Viking ship museum at Roskilde (about 20m on the train from Copenhagen). Ancient boats rescued from the bottom of a fjord, an opportunity to chop things, and rowing a reconstructed boat. http://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/
  • Wandering around Kastellet in the sun and the Tivoli on a warm evening.
  • The Nordic Bronze Age. I was already well aware of the Trundholm Sun Chariot but hadn’t realised (with due deference to taphonomic bias) quite how rich was the material culture of that time and place.
  • Hire bikes with built in navigation. http://bycyklen.dk/en/


  • Photos.
  • The Vasa. It’s big and very well preserved. If your model of early modern ships recovered from the sea is the Mary Rose then you have a treat in store. http://www.vasamuseet.se/en/
  • Lemurs. Who doesn’t like lemurs? If you know the answer, I don’t want to know.
  • Wandering around Skansen and Djurgården.


  • The public transport worked well.
  • Canal tours. Good decision in both cities.
  • My usual photographic idées fixes were well served, as you can probably tell…
  • Food. We ate at a lot of excellent restaurants, although the passage of time means it’s probably beyond me to review them individually now.
  • People. Friendly and with only one exception that I can remember spoke excellent English.


Aug. 2nd, 2015 07:26 pm
ewx: (penguin)
✓ Holyhead
✓ Tryfan
ewx: (no idea)
Either one of you lot has changed job and (more alarmingly) accent recently, or on the way home this evening I had a brief but friendly conversation with your doppelganger. Who is probably even more confused than I am, but (in retrospect) did an impressive job of hiding it...

Loncon 3

Aug. 22nd, 2014 12:25 am
ewx: (penguin)

I went to Worldcon.

People. So many familiar faces! Many were expected; others less so. Some made for good company from time to time, others I barely glimpsed across a room. Some I see most days, others I last saw a decade or two ago. Some people I only even know were there from Twitter. Sorry if I missed anyone!

Programme. Huge and packed and not a chance of getting to see everything I’d have liked, on the upside that also meant little chance of spending much time bored. Some of the panels were a bit hit-and-miss but everything that I attended with a single person presenting about what they did (research, creating comics, etc) was excellent. There were solid academic and comics streams, and I think every academic item I went to told me a lot of stuff I didn’t know but nevertheless didn’t leave me feeling out of my depth. I made notes with varying degrees of coverage and legibility which I summarize below. The embedded recommendations cover anything I heard of at any time, so don’t take them as personal endorsements!

Hugo Awards. Massively pleased to see Ancillary Justice win, though less surprised than the author seems to be. Catherynne Valente was robbed. Randall Munroe inarguably had the best acceptance speech, using Cory Doctorow as a proxy, though Jon Chu’s reaction to winning was certainly the most affecting.

Art Show. Definitions of art often involve some notion of producing a response in the viewer. Too often I found the response was “oh, another spaceship” or “oh, another scantily clad woman”, though. A couple of things did catch my eye though, Vince Jö-Nés’s sculptures and Sarah Clemens’ paintings, especially Joyride.

Venue. The fairly linear topology of the much of the venue was very good for bumping into people at random, particularly when going for food. It was also located well for hotels meaning we got cheap rooms at the Travelodge 5-10m walk away.

Less positively some of the programme rooms were much too small for some of the items scheduled into them, and there was a severe bottleneck between the main collection of programme rooms and everywhere else, to the point that at one point I had to step smartly to the side when coming off an escalator to find the crowd in front had unexpectedly stopped. And at one of the food outlets I actually timed out and went elsewhere, something I’ve not done for many years. The rest were perfectly prompt though. (With one exception I ate within the venue. Given one of the tales of food faff I heard I think that was the right decision…)

Programme Stuff )
ewx: (photos)

On Sunday Matthew and Naath continued climbing while Sally and I went for a walk in the Carneddau.

Further images )

Full set of walk photos.

ewx: (climbing)

Last weekend N and I went climbing with Matthew and Sally.

Lots of images )

The rock face had a very distinctive wavy structure to it; any geologists reading know how it got that way?

More images )

The full set of climbing photos.

ewx: (photos)

I spent a couple of hours waiting for this so youʼd better appreciate the photos l-)

Read more... )
ewx: (photos)

Naath ran a marathon!

Neolithic Marathon

Specifically, the Neolithic Marathon, a course starting at Avebury and finishign near(ish) Stonehenge.

Photos )
ewx: (xmas)
Merry Christmas everyone!

Front Door

Feb. 11th, 2013 07:53 pm
ewx: (penguin)
I want to get a new front door; the current one is at the end of its life. What should I get? Where from? How much should I expect it to cost?
ewx: (no idea)

What on earth is the point of the Thomson Local directory? I don't think I've used it once in my life (even before discovering the Internet) but it's been coming through the door for as long as I can remember (which in this case means at least back to the 1980s).

Have you ever used it?

ewx: (geek)

I bought a new computer. The main reason for wanting a new one is that for some time the images my current camera produces are large enough that my Mac Pro was rather slow on them. I’d have replaced it with another Mac but Apple’s current lineup was unattractive on both price and performance grounds, so I got a PC from World Of Computers instead. It seems to be fast enough.

It came with Windows 8. The addition of tablet features has generated a lot of fuss but in practice they don’t seem to get in the way; the usual Windows desktop is still there with the only significant difference from Windows 7 being that the start menu has turned into a start screen. Setup has mostly been easy though installing suitable drivers for my printer was a massive pain.

I’m using PuTTY more than I used to. The lack of tabs and clickable URLs makes it somewhat painful compared to the terminals available in the Linux and OSX worlds.

I’ve played through Portal 2, which is great fun. I’ve also started on Starcraft 2, though successfully creating a Blizzard account and downloading it was a bit of a struggle.

ewx: (Default)
There are no more VHS tapes or playback equipment in the house.
ewx: (Default)

The Register reports that Mike Singleton has died.

I spent many happy hours playing The Lords Of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge as a child. Both were turn-based wargame/adventure game hybrids drawn from a first-person perspective. I don’t think I’ve seen anything very like them since, although there’s handful of reimplementations of the games themselves for modern computers.

As well as stealing and destroying Doomdark’s Ice Crown, and sitting out his armies in Xajorkith before taking the war back to him, I spent a while poking through the saved game format. This allowed the construction of a map and some experimentation with modifying it (and the discover that the properties of the characters in the game were generated from the location of their homes, at least in Doomdark’s Revenge).

A sad loss.

August 2017

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