Birthday Snapshot #5

Time for my annual (late, as my birthday was over a week ago!) spot of navel-gazing…


Kids grow up fast. We seem to have rapidly developed from having two toddlers through to having two little people (or is that geeks) living with us. Ethan adapted to school extremely well and is well and truly settled in, its nice to get a little father and son time in the morning when I walk him to school. The school is pretty much on my way into work, which is another blessing of working so close to home.
Martha started nursery at the end of last year and, like her big brother, she seems to take everything in her stride. I think its different with younger siblings as they get used to the idea of their older brother (or sister) going off to school, so its not quite so much of a culture shock. Martha was certainly raring to go, she wants to get as big as her brother so she can go to big school too.
Looking back to last year I can see that I was “half-heartedly planning an extension”. Well it didn’t happen, mainly for cost reasons, but things are well under way now. We’ve got an architect in doing the plans for the extension and we’ll be meeting with the builder early next week. Am nervous about another big project, but am already looking forward to having the extra space.
I also ended up not doing much work on the garden last year, but more on that below. But I did manage to kill the clematis.


Most of the years travel has been to Oxford and London, and unfortunately I’m not getting chance to go to XTech this year. I am off to New York in a couple of weeks though for an OAI-ORE Technical Committee meeting, and San Francisco in early June for the SSP conference.
My most interesting recent trip was to Bletchley Park for the XML UK “Publishing 2.0” seminar. I got chance to go and pay homage to the Colossus with Sean McGrath.
Am also intending to take the family on a few camping trips over the summer. The kids are really keen to go (Debs less so!), so we picked up a tent (a Diablo 400) at a sale in Victoria Park last Autumn. Looking forward to trying it out.


Well the big news on the work front is that I became Chief Technology Overlord. The ceremony, in which I was crowned with circuit boards and was formally presented with my gold lame robes and ceremonial memory stick, went well. Its taken me a while to adjust to all the genuflecting, but what’s a guy to do?
We’ve got a lot of projects in the pipe but the one I’m most excited about is for the OECD (a rebuild of SourceOECD) which will be RDF to the core.


My current obsession is gardening. We decided at the beginning of the year that we were going to have a crack at growing some veg this year. The raspberries and blackberries are doing well so, bolstered by the success, I thought I’d dedicate the remaining section of the garden for veg. We’re growing Broccoli, Corn, Carrots (2 varieties), Spring Onions, Lettuce (3 varieties), Peas and Chillis (2 varieties). We’ve also got a couple more blueberry plants and some strawberries for good measure.
So far we’ve not killed anything, which is promising But now the rains are descending on us after the recent hot spell, I can just sense the lurking presence of a thousand slugs and snails. Which is why I recently dosed the garden with 12 million nematode worms courtesy of a tip off from Gardeners World and a delivery from Wiggly Wrigglers.
When I’m not grubbing round in the dirt and swamping gardening tales with the old boys over the fence, I’ve had my head in a book for most of the last few months. Not the same book, obviously. A few of ’em, including Smoked, Dermaphoria, Ghostwritten, I Am Legend, The Lies of Locke Lamora, The Prestige (great book, poor film). Currently in hand I’ve got the The God Delusion. I’d recommend all of them.


I’ve recently been age-checked at both of our local shops, who clearly, charmingly, and infuriatingly think that I’m not old enough to buy a bottle of wine. Merlot being the well-known tipple of the under-age drinker. As I don’t have a driving license or other proof of identification, I’m having flash-backs to my teens.
So now I’m left with the prospect of either carrying round my passport or getting a proof of age card. Or grow a beard. But as I’ve never been a particularly whiskery cove (a likely part of the problem) that doesn’t seem very likely.
Laugh yourselves silly.