I’ve had a fantastic week of meeting with colleagues and friends, getting to know some of my organisation, brainstorming ideas for next year, working out how to prioritise and plan, being handed greater responsibility and freedom…

Now I’m sat in Berlin airport with loads of time until my next flight and what am I doing? Creating a brand new coding product to play Sudoku, writing a new personal blog post and (of course) updating my personal blog platform software (sigh).

I should be finalising my personal and team objectives for 2020, for Q1, and for February. I should be using those to plan next month/quarter. I should be using all the notes I took this week to create sharable content for the team and maybe even a new blog post or two for work.

But I’m not. I feel the urge to code, and I want to scratch it.

Procrastination? Or using the right energy for the right task when it’s there?


Right so yes. 2020, hello. One of my 2020 resolutions is to get back to my personal blog. Weekly. Yeah right. Let’s aim for weekly and be happy with monthly.

For my first post let’s do the obligatory look-back-over-last-year. Not because it’s trendy (I’m 41 now, I don’t care about being trendy any more), but because it’s super important for me to understand what I went through and what I achieved last year (every year), otherwise I get caught up in the hamster-wheel of the-next-thing-and-the-next-thing-and-the-next-thing. Progress should be celebrated, not just ignored for the next item on the ever growing, ever pressing TODO list. Also, looking back helps me to plan the next year. Doesn’t have to be super-planned, but setting some goals, objectives, ideas for which direction I’d prefer to go in helps me decide how to prioritise that ever-growing, ever-pressing TODO list.

Continue reading "2019"

Me Mum

Photo of Therese and Trisha Gee

I didn’t see what an enormous impact Mum made on my life, because she was always there. There’s a quote in the book Good Omens: “It’s for the same reason you can’t see England when you’re in Trafalgar Square” - Mum was a constant, important, dependable presence for my whole life.

I wrote something for Mum while I was on the plane from Spain to spend what was to be our last two weeks together. I’d like to share some of that with you all now.

Continue reading "Me Mum"

A Year? Really?

So I came to the blog to update my upcoming events (at least something stays up to date) only to find it's been nearly a year since I last blogged! This is terrible!

It's not that I haven't written anything in a year, it's that a lot of my writing energy goes into stuff for the actual day job. Which is good, because that's pretty much what I wanted from the day job, but the blog makes it look like I don't write any more.

So I'm going to cheat. Here's the stuff I've written in the last 12 months.

I've also done a bunch of screencasts & webinars for IntelliJ IDEA, Upsource and Team City.

Oh yeah, and I had a baby. I'm contemplating blogging about being a working parent, but I'm a bit concerned that Of Course a woman is going to blog about Being A Mother, when previously I just blogged about... well, come to think about it I blogged about all sorts of things, including haircuts and hangovers, so I guess I could probably get away with it.

What I Did On My Holidays

And now, a post for my long-neglected, less technical readers.

I took a week off in July to try and avoid that Oh My God I Missed Summer Again feeling. Granted, it's easy to get that in the UK even if you're not stuck in an office the entire time.

Really this is just an excuse to post some photos on the blog.

Hopped on the bike and explored from Kensington to Westminster.

Felt distinctly smug when I grabbed my lunch from Victoria amongst all the less fortunate people who had to go back to their offices.

Decided to dose up on Culture, and went to the National Gallery.  Last time I was there I was eight years old, and I distinctly remember admiring the frames more than the art.

The rather marvellous Artfinder makes up for the fact that you can't take photos inside the gallery - I can share most of the pieces that struck me when I was there.

Finally got around to embarking on one of the walks in Secret London.  I chose to do the City, from St Paul's, covering Bank, Monument and Liverpool St.

It was fascinating. I've worked in a lot of places round there, socialise there regularly, and have explored a number of the nooks and crannies.  But I was astounded at how many places I had never seen, alleys I had no idea existed, and gardens hidden away between modern office blocks.

Highly recommended.

My parents dropped by and I racked my brain for a different way to explore this massive, old city.  And it came to me: using the artery of the city - the river.  So we took a boat to Greenwich.

Where they were filming Batman.

And I didn't know until after we'd left.


The sun finally makes an appearance. I was going to write a blog post, but I refuse to be indoors on a sunny day if I can get outside for some Vitamin D production (and I hadn't bought my new shiny then).

Sat in the park, sunbathed.

Brilliant day.

Brilliant week.

Cyclist tribes

Living and working in central London, you quickly learn that the fastest way around town is to cycle.

My extensive research into this activity has shown there are a number of different cycling tribes. Of course, I have split them into the two groups that are most appropriate to me: 1) slower than me and 2) faster than me. You can probably tell what sort of a cyclist I am by my attitude to the two groups.

1. Slower than me:

  • Wicker shopping basket. Doesn’t matter what the rest of the bike looks like, or the biker, I will always try to get ahead of these.  The extra scary ones are the women in flowing dresses who might be university professors.
  • Boris Bikes.  When there’s a tube strike, Avoid At All Costs.  These people probably haven’t been on a bike since they were in school, and it shows.
  • Hoody (always a male) on a BMX-style bike with the seat far too low, riding in too low a gear, with baggy jeans that show their… well… everything. Never have lights on their bikes.  Always has a satchel / record bag for maximum inappropriately-dressed-for-cycling points. These buggers are a pain because they never obey traffic lights and will join the road from the pavement on either side, cutting you up in the process. Getting past them is easy, keeping them behind you is much harder. 
  • Not wearing a helmet. Probably not a serious cyclist, so probably easy to overtake. A similar category to the hoody, doesn’t obey traffic laws and enormously unpredictable. Otherwise known as an organ donor.
  • Wearing a skirt. Of course, this doesn’t apply to me. In the same category: jeans, sandals, high-heeled shoes (not all at once). 

2. Faster than me:

  • Cleats. If you have cleats on the bike I’m going to let you go first from the lights. You’ll be fast and possibly suicidal when weaving through traffic.
  • Lycra, especially on a guy. Even if they’re not faster than me, they will always overtake, and always pull in front of me at lights. It’s an ego thing.  Something about those tight shorts possibly.
  • Panniers. Generally, but not always, a “proper” cyclist, even if they’re on a rubbish bike. These guys have experience.

One to watch: businessman in a suit on a Brompton. You can’t trust these guys, they can be deceptively fast. It’s always embarrassing to be overtaken by them. How do they not sweat into their Armani?

Who does that leave?

Well, my lot: helmet, high vis jacket, shorts (knee-length with pockets). Usually obeys the lights, quick enough, some unpredictability when over-/under-taking. Most of these guys will weave to some extent, but not suicidally.  My tribe is probably one of the biggest, and it leads to lots of subtle negotiation at traffic lights - sizing each other up - checking the bike, the kit, the shoes - to decide whether or not to pull ahead or drop back.

But I mess with people’s heads in summer by occasionally wearing a short skirt (with shorts underneath, I’m not out to cause accidents) and wedge sandals, and cycling at 20mph.

I hate to conform to expectations.