I’ve always set out with the best intentions for this site, to regularly write posts about things I’m up to, found out or whatever. But then things never work out as planned do they? Just looking through the drafts on this blog, there’s a tonne of stuff I’ve started but never actually got finished. Story of my life really, I’m always interested in doing stuff, and have about a million hobbies all with unfinished bits.
So I thought I’d make (another) attempt at starting it again, and first post being an update of the various projects I’ve been working on and where they are up to, probably mentioning a few that I’ve never actually blogged about too.
RossLUG and Fedora Ambassadoring
Many who know me, probably know me from these arenas, I used to attend quite a lot of events in the Open Source/Free Software community and run the local LUG, RossLUG. Unfortunately a few years ago I got a bit burned out in the tech space due to a number of reasons and had to, for my own mental capacity, find alternative sources of interest. I’m still very much interested in these things, but haven’t really done much recently. This unfortunately meant not organising the LUG meets, or being as involved in events like OggCamp or the various Barcamps I used to. I’ve still attended events, but not in the same capacity. At this moment, I’m looking forward to when the next community event will be and attending.
As sad as the above is, it definitely gave way for me to get involved in some great hobbies, the first of which was Aquaponics. I’ve blogged about this before, but its simply about growing vegetables using fish waste. In almost identical fashion to Hydroponics, the plants are grown in water using nitrogen rich nutrients. With hydroponics these are added manually, whereas with aquaponics the fish do the work for you, providing nitrites in their pee which are then converted into nitrates which the plants need. I’ve also since built myself a veggie plot in my garden, but I’m not always successful. I’ve still got the aquaponics setup, but haven’t properly grown anything this season due to some garden renovations, but watch this space.
Beer (wine and cider) brewing
On and off for about 15 years I’ve brewed my own beer, but more recently I took the hobby a little further by investing in some better kit and brewing more regularly.
I’ve also blogged about this in the past, but this includes stainless steel vessels instead of plastic, which make a surprising difference to clarity and flavour. I converted a regular fridge into a fermentation chamber.
This uses a device with a temperature probe to turn on and off the fridge, or a heater within to ensure the fridge stays at a constant temperature, ensuring that the fermentation is at its best. I also started building up the equipment to start brewing with all grain, but I’m yet to fully exploit that yet.
The hobby I accidentally got into was genealogy, the reason I say accidentally is that I didn’t mean to but ended up using the same sites and tools for finding my long lost brother which is another story in itself.
2x Great Grandparents
Anyway, I quickly got hooked on finding out who my ancestors were, also caused me to get in touch with relatives I’d not seen for years which resulted in photo’s I’d never seen etc etc. I’ll probably write a post on all of this at some point so won’t go into much detail here, but the TL;DR for now is: Found long lost brother; found mum had a brother; found mother-in-laws father, found a cousins dad, got loads of photos and stories.
All really exiting stuff.
My latest hobby, is the culmination of working from home a lot, feeling unhealthy and getting a job local and selling my car - getting a bike (or 3). I started a new job in my local town just under 2 years ago, and once I got the opportunity to I took advantage of the cycle to work scheme and bought an e-bike. I opted for an e-bike due to my fitness levels so I could comfortably ride with others fitter than myself, but soon found myself using the e-assist less and less, now using it to extend rides or tackle more the more difficult climbs. The job I took also has an office in Manchester so I set myself the target of cycling there. This year I took it to another level, cycling every week to the Manchester office, and strapping sensors to an old spin bike I had and making use of Zwift, and later Rouvy, for indoor cycling clocking up over 600km per month.
I’ve recently upgraded the spin bike to a road bike and turbo trainer and also recently purchased a gravel bike, where my earlier purchase was an MTB. I regularly set myself targets of ride length and regularly beat them, but the ultimate target at the minute is riding the Way of the Roses.
I’ve also got the fire back for tech, spending time building home automation systems up and generally tinkering, but not in an almost obsessive way that I used to which I have to say is far better for the old grey matter. So with all that said, I now need to challenge myself to write more regularly on all of the above, and keep it going.