Posted on 15th February 2012

Cold Air

I am just air
A breeze of coldness
Hold me if you dare
I have travelled far, I am breathless

This a poem written by Ethne, aged 7.

Considering she had no help with the words, it's quite a profound first poem. She wrote it on her MagnaDoodle, so Nicole managed to preserve the effort before it got erased :)

Well done Ethne.

File Under: ethne / family / people / poetry

Close (To The Edit)

Posted on 8th March 2011

On Saturday March 5th 2011, a neighbour of ours, Kate Angel, took part in a sponsored head shave for Cancer Research UK. Her friend Angie was diagnosed with breast cancer last September and with Angie living in Blackpool, Kate felt she needed to do something to help her. Shaving her head to raise money and awareness seemed to be a positive and inspiring way to do it.

Cora Flowers, a professional hairdresser and neighbour, offered to shave Kate's head, and David Le Marchand, "another Dad", worked on the posters and flyers for the event. Having a video camera, Nicole offered my services to record the whole event as "The man across the road".

Having recorded the event, I then spent Saturday and Sunday having fun editing the video. The full edit came to 30 minutes, but I also managed to make a shorter edit at just over 12 minutes for YouTube, featuring the main highlights.

So far the online donations and the money raised on the day has raised nearly £1,500 (and is expected to be more with all the promotion of the videos). If you would like to donate an amount, please visit Kate's JustGiving page, and donate as little or as much as you can to a very worthy cause.

To see the event itself, watch the YouTube video.

File Under: family / health / life / people / rubery

Senses Working Overtime

Posted on 9th July 2009

I haven't written here for a while. and I haven't written that much in my other blogs either. I should have, as I keep having ideas for posts that I figure I should get around to writing up, For various reasons my time has been taken up with other things. I've been very busy with some of my Perl projects, specifically CPAN testers and YAPC Conference Surveys, and relating to the latter, I've recently attended YAPC::NA 2009, have been a judge for the Send-A-Newbie programme and am currently judging the bids, along with the rest of the YEF Venue Committee, for YAPC::Europe 2010 from and On top of that I've also been trying to spend more time with my family.

For the past year or so I've been working 15-20 a week on extra curricular Perl projects. Although I've enjoyed doing the work and I'm really proud of what I've managed to achieve, I do need to take time out for my family. I'm very grateful for the support Nicole has given me, and the fact that Dan and Ethne don't seem to mind me getting up before them at the weekend and waiting to have their breakfast, while I just do this next fix :) But they deserve some of my time now. That's not to say I'm disappearing or anything, just that the balance is slightly shifting in their favour.

Since leaving MessageLabs, I now have a job that is a bus ride away in the centre of Birmingham, which now gives me the freedom to work on the bus for at least an hour a day. It's actually quite amazing how much I can get done, when I have to focus on getting something done with only 30 minites between stops. I've missed travelling to work on the bus, as driving up and down the M5 every work day for the past 6 years has felt more and more of a drain. I used to read a lot, but that all stopped once I started driving to work. I'm now planning to start working through my unread bookshelf again :)

The new job is a bit different, as although they are not a web shop, my role is very much focused on web development. As a consequence I'm really enjoying it. They have a series of sites that have been developed over the years, without any real thought to standards and best practices. As a consequence, they now have me to help clean up their code and processes. I hasten to add that I'm not some kind of saviour, as the guys have been working to improve what they have for some time, but I think they do see me as a bit of welcome relief. It's also been nice to be able to bring a lot of the knowledge I've drawn on for the past 10 years or so, and be able to give their sites a fresh lease of life.

In future posts expect a quick run down of my experiences in Pittsburgh for YAPC|10, some thoughts about YAPC::Europe 2009 in Lisbon and several photos from the various gigs I've been to over the past year. Yes I still have lots of photos to sort though. Soon, I promise :)

File Under: family / perl / yapc

That's Not My Name

Posted on 23rd December 2008

Since Dan was born I've always called him DanDan. Just recently he asked Nicole, "Why does Daddy still call me DanDan?" Apparently now that he's all done grown up, he's not too happy with being called DanDan any more. So for from now it'll be Dan or Daniel :)

File Under: dandan / family

Into The Lungs Of Hell

Posted on 22nd December 2008

The past month or so has mostly been filled with illness of one sort or another. I'm currently still suffering with a lingering dose of catarrh, which is annoying the hell out of me, as the mucus keeps sliding down my windpipe and then I'm coughing it all up again. Nasty. A couple of weeks ago I was wiped out by the virus that seems to be spreading like wildfire across the UK. Most people seem to have come down with something in the past month at least.

Hopefully I'll be able to get rid of this catarrh before Christmas. It's been really annoying of late as my Dad has been in hospital to have his kidney removed, and either the kids, Nicole or myself have been too ill to risk visiting him while he's recouperating. Thankfully he got the all clear at the end of last week, so he just needs to take it easy and recover from the surgery and he should be back on his feet again soon. The kids have sent pictures and cards to help him get well, but it isn't quite the same as being able to see him in person.

All being well, we should make it over after Christmas.

File Under: family

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