Place the chocolate on your tongue and press it to the roof of your mouth. Within thirty seconds, the chocolate should slowly begin to melt around your tongue. Take a deep breath, aerating your palate as you stimulate your sense of smell through the back of your throat.
Try doing this with bog standard mass produced chocolate and you will get a very different taste.
We stayed in the hotel part of the pub, which is upstairs overnight. While climbing the stairs trying to get into the hotel part with a member of staff. A white dog aggressively barked at us from a fenced area. The fencing wasn’t strong enough and on exiting the hotel room chased us out of the pub on the first night. We came back later that night with no problem except dog poo everywhere! Really hard to see in the midnight light.
In the morning the dog went straight for my partners ankle, when she woke up early and decided to get some fresh air. It was not tentative and both fangs went in. I seen the bite mark and shes got multiple photos.
I personally didn’t feel safe before and when I found out wanted out straight away. My partner knowing I was terrified of dogs, choose not to tell me till we were clear of the whole place.
The response from the hotel/pub owner was a joke and its been horrible trying to get hold of them, They took the full money and only offering 25% off our next stay! Thats it for being bitten!
My parents asked me what I want to do for my birthday late last year. They were thinking I could do a big party in Bristol. But I suggested why not have three of them instead?
Each party/bash representing a section of my life so far.
Of course my parents thought it was too much, but I was certain it was a good idea and I could do it.
Happy to say I was right. I had planned to put in sometime at the theme parks of England (Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Blackpool) but due to half-term decided I’d better not because I would end up in queues (Love the European theme parks for this). Plus I decided I could fit everything around work (or work around everything). I won’t lie, I would have been absolutely exhausted if I did!
So it happened and I was blown away by the friends and family who attended but also helped make the whole thing happen. Couldn’t have done it all without them! Thanks to everyone who came, gave their time, cards (I got so many cards I had to shift them around the flat) and even gifts. Also thanks for all the people who wanted to be there but couldn’t make it for different reasons.
Thank you to everyone again! 40 started with a bang, look out for 50 – ha!
Soon I will turn 40. Most people fear or can’t imagine ever getting to 40 but I’m much less worried about that. I kind of feel young and although there are noticeable changes like grey hair in my facial hair, creaky knees and a noticeable lack of excess energy.
Regardless I’m still playing Volleyball regularly and trying a few other things including trying Basketball again (that was hard work!). My eye sight is incredible and off the charts for my age, I have been told.
Well my vision is off the charts for my age according to optical express… 😁
The only strange thing for me is being at the BBC for coming up to 15 years! I joined just after my birthday. I still feel quite young even with all the younger people I work with.
The 40th is usually a big one and as usual I decided to do something different for it. I decided to do 3 party’s, each one representing the three different cities/eras of my life so far.
I had planned to fit theme park trips to Thorpe Park, Alton Towers and Blackpool pleasure beach too. But frankly it was too much and with the Easter holidays it meant the parks would likely be packed with kids also trying to get on the rides.
Its been a difficult time recently. My scooter was damaged once again in a break in on the car park where I park. I say again because in April 2018 exactly the same thing happened. Less that a year!
In April 2018, the motorbikes were targetted but none were taken, if I remember some other things were broken and taken. However between the chains and locks broken, it was clear they tried to break my steering lock by forcing the handle bars. They slightly twisted but not at the fork level lucky, this still costed about £150 to fix.
This time the motorbikes were targetted and looking at the CCTV images from the different cameras across the site its clear they were only after the motorbikes nothing else.
There was some other similarities between the break-ins. The CCTV over looking the motorbikes was covered up in both cases.
They also broke into the car park from the building site next door
Unlike last time however, I spotted 4 men acting very weirdly on the canal side on Monday 14th night/Tuesday 15th morning. They were dressed in black with hoods and scarfs across their mouths and noses. They seemed to be breaking into Islington Wharf Mews by jumping over a wall with a sleeping bag to protect themselves from the spikes on top.
23:49 – Calling the non-emergency number (101) I was put on hold for ages but finally by the time they picked up. The men jumped back over the wall to the canal side, they disappeared from my view.
00:09 – The police took some details and asked where they were now. I happened to catch them breaking into the building site from the road side. Telling the police, they originally said they were going to send someone out. However as I found out later they looked at the public CCTV, which obviously doesn’t point on to the building site plus they were dressed in complete black. Once they looked and saw nothing they closed the logged case
00:45 – Meanwhile I hadn’t noticed but saw later on the garage CCTV a 5th man dressed totally in Black was trying to get into the garage by sneaking in while the roller shutter was coming down after some left or entered the garage. He failed and even got shouted at by residents in a car.
00:48 – I get a short phone call from the police asking if I seen anything else new? I said no.
01:08 – Not long after my original call and 20mins after my call back, some men gain access to the car park via the ground floor car park by breaking the wood slats. I know this for sure because the CCTV confirms the moment they broke through and climbed through.
They headed straight for the motorbikes ignoring all the cars and bicycles. Broke two locks of 2 motorbikes, and damaging my scooter. They are in the car park for 35mins (01:08 – 01:43), All their movements around the carpark are captured on our own CCTV, except the one right above the bikes
01:43 – Finally they leave heading out the car park pedestrian door with 2 motorbikes
0941 – I only found out the next day when I was going to work and saw the damage and the missing motorbikes. This time to tried to get at the scooter ignition instead of trying to break the steering lock. As you can see the damage is pretty bad but the steering is actually fine. I checked all the other locks and chains and they are good.
However 2 other motorbikes are gone and I got lucky. I’ve beefed up my locks and now using my alarm more often now (not just the immobiliser). I also got a crime reference and asked about my early morning call. I’m told the case is on going but police were sent out.
1953 – Later in the evening when I call up again, I’m told the cases are not connected was closed and the police were not sent out because there was nothing on a CCTV (no idea which one they are referring to)
My problem I see is…
The police are not connecting the two cases. Now I understand there is a chance the 4 men dressed head to toe in black on a building site may not be the same 5 people who broke into the garage from the same building site stealing the bikes? Yes it happened with 60 mins of my call but who knows – right? What I don’t understand is why no one was sent out? Even a visit could have prevented a crime. They also lied to me on the phone
I don’t get how the building site isn’t partly to blame for it lack of security not just once but twice now. There is a good chance the men stole tools from the building site to break the locks. I certainly didn’t see them carrying anything when getting into Islington Wharf Mews.
The police still haven’t looked or requested the CCTV from Islington Wharf, The Mews or the building site next door. Yes they are dressed in black but it could be useful to see where they came from and got to with the stolen motorbikes?
Why was I told they will send out a police offer but later told they didn’t? I feel like I was lied to….
I’m doing what I can but its slow going and not being able to get actual CCTV (for good reasons) its kinda impossible to convince the police to follow up. This is partly why I decided to share my frustrations without too much details.
I’ve had an update from a few sources and the timeline includes this..
Tuesday 15 January 2019
00:19 – While I see 4 men getting into Islington Wharf Mews, another man also dressed in black from head to toe is trying to gain entry to the Islington wharf car park by trying to sneak in when someone leaves or enters. Unsuccessfully he returns to his hiding position each time. This also explains why 1 of the 4 men I saw kept looking out from their 1st floor position.
00:45 – They tried to gain entry again but a resident closes the shutter too quickly. 3mins later I get my call from the police, but still no one shows up. On the building site they break a padlock on a tool box, giving them access to stronger tools
01:08 – They break into the car park via the ground floor through the fence using the builders tool.
01:18 – They send 2 of them for an initial scope out of the carpark and then after all 5 of them go into the car park. Breaking two locks of 2 motorbikes, and damaging my scooter. They are in the car park for 35mins
01:43 – One of the Residents tried to drive in to the car park and when the roller shutter goes up they run away pushing the motorcycles.
At 8:30am I received a phone call from the special operations police. They had read my email and were slight shocked at how I’d be treated through this investigation. He massively apologized and agreed based on the research I had done, the cases are linked. Then finally at 1300 they did go and review the footage from the flats and are using it in their ongoing investigation along with other CCTV footage.
Head further a field with the scooter
Missed this last year, so its time for a ride into Europe hopefully before the UK leaves Europe! I have plans to stay with a friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany for some coasting.
Ride a roller coaster in yet another country Very fitting with the previous one but if not, I like the idea of checking out more theme parks in Europe especially after the huge success of 2018.
Look after myself better I generally look after myself but its time to be thoughtful and conscious about this all. I’m getting older and should really spend more time thinking about myself with an eye on the future.
Spend more time in the UK Ok the last year I spent a lot of time outside the UK. On rough count I hit about 12 weeks this year outside the North of England alone (but I do go to Bristol and London quite a bit). I can’t believe I took almost 30 different flights this year! Although I love it and take care of myself, I have to admit thats a lot. So I’m going to try staying closer to home for this year.
Enter the bake off at work My work place does regular bake off’s and the theme sometimes is something interesting which I could do bake/cook around. So I’ve challenged myself to join one of the bake offs this year
Explore more about the brain using neuroscience I do want to explore around this but now I binned off Funzing recently, so need to look a little wider. Maybe setup some search filters, keep an eye on eventbrite and meetups.
Do more with my Estonian e-residency As said in my review of last year, I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my Estonian e-residency.
Explore the future of decentralised and distributed systems
This one is a combination of 2 of my previous resolutions. Exploring the future of online dating with decentralise more. So more mastodon and more exploring Indie web technologies like Bridgy and Kinds. I’ve been really interested in these things for a long while.
Make some changes to the flat Its been a while and although I made some great changes to the living room, its time to focus on the bedrooms. I can’t believe I got a configurable IKEA desk from over 18 years ago, which needs to be replaced as it’s too big and I hardly use it now. I’d like to get the server in a better position and remove some tired furniture.
Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine I have a task to sort out my current projector or get a new one (this is looking more likely, any hints on cheap long throw projectors is welcomed). I already have a 130inch projector screen but it needs to go back to IKEA as the mechanism is broken. Once this is all done, then it makes total sense to host film nights. On top of this, its been a while since I had a party at mine, so maybe I’m moving from party to dinner parties?
Be a stronger advocate for Team Human This is a follow-up to previous years. The podcast I listen to Team Human is a celebration of ourselves as people (messy, diverse, etc) not robots (perfect, tireless, etc). This has importance for the problems we are all facing around diversity and inclusion. It also ties into the mental health epidemic we are seeing too. My recent addition to the inclusive top 100; is perfect timing?
My sleep deficit over the whole year has massively increased to 367 mins, My average sleep this year has been 8 hours 2mins (slightly down). Average deep sleep has been 4.03hrs now only 48% of my sleep.
According to Gmail I have had 47,769 conversations, have 27,280 emails in my inbox and sent 7241 emails this year
Have 60,460 photos and 3,220 photos albums in Google photos.
Tasks wise I have 212 open tasks and completed 2,635 over the year
Been on 52 trips including Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Skopje, Brussels, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Dublin and Edinburgh this year.
I spent 236 hours watching films (19.7 a month) and 409 hours watching TV series (46.6 a month)
Spent 847.9 hours working in Media City UK, 104.2 hours working in many coffee shops in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, 82.9 hours in Liverpool, 40.5 hours working on a train and 73.3 hours working at home. Theres a very long tail with lots more locations like hotels, Nottingham Uni, York Uni, Berlin, Dubin, Ravensbourne, etc.
Either way, I’m also quite impressed with work friend Jimmy Lee’s travelroulette to Hong Kong. I keep seeing good prices to fly from Manchester in early 2019.
Head further a field with the new scooter
New Scooter, new waterproof wear, its time for a ride into Europe before the UK leaves Europe (said with a very heavy heart)
No go on this one. I had planned to head to Rotterdam to visit my volleyball friend Barbara then drive around the Netherlands and maybe into Beligum and north west Germany? Going to some theme parks on the way, before going back to Rotterdam and then back to Hull.
Ride a roller coaster in another country Closely related to the previous one, its got to happen in 2018. I love them and its time to go further a field to see what others are doing.
— Ian Forrester | @firstname.lastname@example.org (@cubicgarden) June 25, 2018
49 times on the Demon, people asks why didn’t I do a round 50? Well I did try but the ride closed just as I made the last journey. Unlike UK parks, the park was open very late 11pm so I took it easy and stopped for food, etc. So I wasn’t trying to break some personal record or anything. Just going around and around enjoying each ride.
Then I thought it would be just too rude to not visit Linnanmäki in Helsinki, Finland while attending Mydata 2018 which happened next door! Although I didn’t like much of the rides and it opened at 4pm?
Truly smashed this one into pieces and loved every moment.
Go to a new part of the world
This year I got to two new countries. Finland and Macedonia. Both suprised me, the Finnish was fancinating and massively different from the Swedish in many ways I didn’t quite get till I was there. Also great to see old Manchester friend Gabrielle while I was there.
Macedonia was also really interesting and I couldn’t help but link what I saw in Romania with Macedonia. One of the highlights was seeing and walking around a set of flats (centar) which I had only really seen on the screen while creating the living room of the future.
Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers
So this worked out well except I broke it a few times with some poor chocolate choices. One such time was eating a milkyway out of a box celebrations, there was no Twix left and I didn’t realise Teaseers were Maltesers. But I have been pretty good most of the time and its really changed my tastes when it comes to chocolate. Now I find milk chocolate far too sugarly and milky, almost sickly.
I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my estonian e-residency.
Make better use of the online services I have paid or invested in
Started to reduce the amount of services but theres a lot more that can be done. But this year I have been making my home server more stable which runs Plex, Tinytiny RSS, etc.
Be more daring in matters of the heart
So my partner asks…
“Yes more daring” I reply with a slight smile
I have been dating my partner for almost 10 months now and like all relationships its needs work, time and effort. Luckily my partner is understanding, patient and caring…sometimes! (smile!)
Explore the future of online dating
Still very interested and theres some chatter about doing something around this with a potential new project in 2019. Although I’m not dating myself, theres still a moral problem I see and would like a hand in changing, regardless of my own status. Decentralise dating for the win of team human!
This has happened, especially since I starting using Mastodon.
However Facebook dropped support for third-party tools to automatically share posts to Facebook Profiles, which is annoying and means my facebook is very quiet. Twitter also changed their API breaking a lot of my linux twitter clients forcing me to use the web interface. This meant my use of twitter has dropped too.
So generally I’m doing less POSSE because each platform is locking down their systems.
Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers.
I signed up to the monthly Cocoarunners chocolate box and its been great. Out of the box, I found the above Chocolates really noteworthy in taste, texture, etc. I guess I should have written a review for each one but its hard to do this, so I kept a photo of the ones I would easily go for again.
From top left and across to the right line by line.
Malmo Dark Chocolate & Chili 70% – Picked up in Sweden, not sold from Cocoarunners. Love their factory, which says “A completely nutritious factory – neither nuts, soy, eggs or gluten are handled in our factory.” Won’t beat Caroline Reaper but great to know there are completely 100% nut free Chocolate and its a smooth chilli taste.
Georgia Ramon – Carolina Reaper Chili 70% – Just incredible taste, really powerful impactful chilli taste but the dark Chocolate is good quality and pretty tasty too. Real compliment to each other.
Manufaktura Czekolady 100% Ghana Grand 100% – I describe this as simply the best 100% dark chocolate you can ever get. Never had anything like it, and although I like 100%, this one really makes you wonder if there’s a mistake and it’s actually 85-90% instead.
I’ll be continuing my subscription to Cocoarunners for another year for sure…
💍 Marriages: 1 💔 Divorces: 1 🍼Children: 0 (Thankfully) 👩🏼⚕️ Surgeries: 3 (Arm burn, Nose and Brain) ✒Tattoos: 0 (No chance I count my burn as one massive one) 👂🏼Piercings:0 (No bloody way!) ✋🏼Quit a job: Yes 🚘What car you drive : None (But I do have my lovely Silverwing 600cc Scooter) ✈️Flown in a plane: Yes (geez luckily dooplr doesn’t exist anymore because I must have been on about 15+ just this year) 🍹Favourite Drink: Espresso Martini or Cosmopolitan (I’m torn between the two, depending on mood) ❤Fallen in love: Yes 🚑Rode in ambulance: Yes (a few times with friends and myself) 🎤Sang karaoke: Yes (and hated it, each time) ❄Ice skating: Yes (still not great but can do it) 🏄Been surfing: No (tempted in the past) 🚢Been on a Cruise: No (plus I get seasick easily so it sounds like a nightmare to me) 🏍Rode on a motorcycle: Yes (everyday, not a big deal for me) 🏍Owned a motorcycle: Yes (about 5 in total) 🐴Rode on a horse: Yes (Believe it or not, and not ever again please) 😲Almost died: Yes (#mybrushwithdeath) 🏥Stayed in a hospital: Yes 🍑Favorite fruit: Granny smiths apples 📲Last phone call: Restaurant in Manchester (I was checking the availability of a table) 📱Last text: To my partner 🍵️Coffee or Tea: Tea (I love coffee but I can’t drink it like I use to, Tea on the other hand I can drink all day no problem) 🥧Favourite pie: None! (Hate them, I’m all about the Cornish Pasties) 🍕Pizza: Pizza Express’s Padana, which is Goats Cheese, Caremlised red onions, Spinach and Olive oil 🐈 Cat or Dogs: Cats (although I’m allergic to them, they don’t like to bite & chase me like dogs do) ☃️ Favorite Season: Summer (Sometimes its too hot but I prefer it to the cold and wet rain of Spring and Autumn. Also love walking around with just a short sleeve shirt) ♥️: Favorite holiday: Tokyo Japan (although crazy and always under threat of eating something which is going to kill me, I did enjoy it a lot) 🏊♂️: Skinny dipped: Yes
For a while I’ve been thinking maybe I should have a Wikipedia page, not because I’m some kind of celeb but rather to capture all the different things which have been mentioned or interviewed. However I know this is a very bad idea. So I’m trying to keep a log of them in standard notes and maybe add them to my aboutme page. Currently it feels like I’m writing the history of me (or even the story of me).
In this instalment we speak to Ian Forrester, Senior Producer (and ‘Firestarter’) at BBC R&D. Ian recently made the Inclusive Board’s top 100 list of most influential Black, Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) leaders in UK tech. He talks about his journey to the BBC, memories of epic food fights and his interest in empowering the citizen.
I know everyone has a story/book in them, but I certainly think mine will make a interesting reading.
Now instead of cutting you off when you hit the shocking amount of 20meg (yes you heard me right – 20meg!) They throttle the internet to your device at 20meg.
Its still not ideal but I do feel its a better compromise that cutting the internet completely. Especially because frankly the signal from tethered phones during the journey through south Wales can be pretty poor for miles and miles.
I booked on Funzing to see and hear from the amazing legendA guy called Gerald. Originally I booked to see him on the 10th October but on my journey on my scooter back from work caught a text message on my pebble watch that Gerald was in a motorcycle accident and the event would be cancelled.
FUNZING EVENT UPDATE: We are very sorry to inform you that A Guy Called Gerald has been in a motorbike accident and will not be able to hold the event tonight. The good news is that A Guy Called Gerald will make a full recovery and be able to hold the event in the future. We will be in contact in the next 7 days with a new date. Apologies for any inconvenience caused – Funzing Team
Quite spooky being on a motorcycle when seeing this but great to hear he was fine.
7 days later another text message from Funzing.
FUNZING EVENT UPDATE: A Guy Called Gerald: Acid, House and Hacienda.
Due to Gerald being in a traffic accident the talk was postponed. Gerald has since made a full recovery and the talk will now take place on 21st November. The talk will be held at the same venue as before – The Frog and Bucket, Manchester.
Great it happens to be on a day when I can make it I thought…
The day comes around and I’m looking forward to it. After settling down in a chair with a drink. Things start with a guy in a massive hat and dungarees climbing on stage, closely followed by Gerald who is looking very cool in his sunglasses and relaxed style.
Its clear that the guy with the massive hat and dungarees is there to keep Gerald on track and ask questions. As Gerald talks, he draws on the backdrop but he gets annoying when he’s not spelling the words correctly and asking how to spell words to write (now I understand why). As a man with dyslexia, I would avoid writing things on the back if it wasn’t necessary and I wasn’t sure how to spell it. Heck I would let it go. But it happened again and again. It started interfering with the Gerald’s talk. Worst still this man was interrupting Gerald more and more.
Frankly it got worst and worst, his interruptions and rambling was getting out of hand as he started telling his own story. Some people shout for him to shut up and let Gerald talk.
They were right we had came to see and hear Gerald not this other guy, who called himself Trafford Parsons? To be fair the first time he said his name I heard Trafford Parsley. I never heard of him and frankly never want to hear from him again after ruining my and other peoples night.
He took the option to turn an event about a legend into a story about himself and that is unforgivable, disrespectful and just bang out of order. I only came back in the second half because I hope it would get better. It only slightly did but I also did wonder why for all the talk about Geralds music, nothing was played at all. The first half had no music and the second half had a random playlist from the late 80s. Like a Spotify playlist or something on low volume for background.
It was simply a car crash to watch and deep down frustrating to see every time Gerald was interrupted. I think if Trafford had not shut up in the second half more, I might have walked out for good. I wanted to ask a question but by the end of the night I was so annoyed that I couldn’t be bothered and Trafford didn’t leave enough time for proper audience questions.
I ask Trafford, wheres your self-awareness and respect for Gerald?
It was like he wanted to share the limelight! Sorry no you can’t that night was about Gerald not Trafford. If you want your own, speak to Funzing and get your own night. For me this is unforgivable. He ruined the event and my night. I’ve already asked for my money back!
I want to say thank you to everyone who posted, liked, retweeted, tooted, left a comment, emailed, texted or verbally said to me congrats. I means tons to me. Every-time I look at the list and all the other people on the list, I’m just ever-so humbled.
But being on the list is one thing, I’ve been pushing for a long while for diversity and to be honest this has massively helped even in the short few days since it was public. Imagine what else could/can be done?!
Without technology I would be a very different person and I want to help many others realise there true potential without prejudice and without fear. If I can be a part of this, I will hopefully inspire others to join us as we drive the much needed change…
I’m very conscious that just over 8 years ago I was almost dead. I always vowed never to let things stop me, if its truly important to me. And this is super important to me! I can’t even start to express how important. Not being entered as such, but rather the fact I’m doing something right. Its easy to get inside your own head and lose track of whats really needed in this world.
I always wanted to live life to the maximum and also have eyes on a future I wanted to see exist beyond me.
I’m back in Berlin not long afterwards for a look at object based media and how machine learning can work together for the future of storytelling, quite similar to TOA 17 but more exploring and more I can talk about now compared to then.