Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 | brighton, london, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Murky Monday morning and my train pulled into Burgess Hill station. There, standing alone and removed from her group of friends was a little girl in her red school jumper, staring up the platform for her train south.

One look up from my Kindle and I was transported back to crisp autumn mornings, waiting at the bus stop up the road from my parents for my navy blue school bus. On a main road, but in a village; my memories of those few minutes every morning are of bird song, frosted grass crumpling under foot and something countryside clean. That fresh air. Those greeny browns of the falling leaves. That crunch of unbroken frost. The silence.

I realised that the greens, browns and golden sunsets that I catch out of the window each day have given me a sense of the silence and calm of the countryside. Together with the book on my lap they have created a bubble for me, between one City and the other city.

I’m writing this on my way home, trying to map at which sections of the journey this bubble closes round me. There’s the rush through the tube, but I now find this automatic and barely think about where I am. Once on the train I find My Seat, and before I take off my coat I realise I’ve pulled my Kindle from my bag and laid it on the table. I’ve always read a lot but I currently get through about four books a week. This makes my Kindle purchasing history since I was given it in June, somewhere around 50 books.

The fifteen minutes to East Croydon are still the City, the carriage is fuller, the voices are louder and these are the minutes I sink back into the story. There is no bubble yet, but as we pull out of the station and through the suburbs, trees line the tracks and I am enclosed.

There is a section around Three Bridges where sometimes sudden flashes of bright gold hit the screen and I turn to beautiful rolling clouds, drenched in a pink gold sunset. The sky seems wider from a train window but it’s only a glimpse and my eyes lower, bubble unbroken.

The one place that I consciously raise my head on each trip is Balcombe viaduct. I look up and out at the fields below and this evening am rewarded with a pink red sun, only a sliver of crescent above the blackened distant trees.

Around Burgess Hill and Hassocks I can occasionally smell the glorious scent of wood smoke, and yearn for log fires whilst snuggling further down into my seat and my book.

And my bubble carries me through to Preston Park, when the other city grows close and home beckons, reality starts to seep in.


London calling

Thursday, July 7th, 2011 | london, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

So it’s day four of my commute and I’m already starting to find my pattern.  I was warned that I’d find myself waiting at specific points on the platform where the doors will open, that I’d be almost able to get to London in my sleep.  Although I’m definitely not at the sleeping stage yet, it’s been interesting to see how quickly I’ve picked up little habits already.  Yes, I have started waiting on platforms in the right spot, and I have got my commuter stride going, which I suspect is doing wonders for my thighs.

I am definitely loving getting three hours a day of solid reading in; my Kindle and I are becoming best friends.  This weeks list includes Caitlin Moran’s “How To Be A Woman” which has me giggling inappropriately and China Mieville’s “The City & The City”.  I’ve not yet had to stand for any part of the journey and I’ve only been delayed once and by five minutes.  I suspect that this golden period can’t last too long however, and I’m always conscious of the inevitable “leaves on the line”.

Of course, this laissez-faire attitude my well somewhat strengthened by the fact that it is a very exciting week.  But I’m not going to tell you about Lanyrd today, you’ll just have to catch up with our Friday week notes!

End of an era

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

It’s come to the end of the decade, one which quite pleasingly encapsulates my twenties. This time ten years ago I was probably suffering from pre-party nerves and wondering if I could get away with opening the bubbly yet, but seeing as I can’t quite remember it is possible that I’d opened it already. But hey, who can blame me? Not many people get to see a new millennium in.

I can’t really sum up the last 10 years in 140 characters. Besides, it seems somewhat offhand to just serve out my whole twenties in such a way. Of course, I can’t write it all down either (and frankly neither would I want to, it would go on for, well, years). So here is a little summary (in no particular order).

I have watched and read far too many murder mysteries.
I have read far more books than I own.
I have started, but not finished, a creative writing course.
I haven’t even started the garden design course which resides in my cupboard.
I have changed career once, but had many jobs. (Doesn’t that sound like the beginning of a riddle?)
I have moved three times (which may not sound like much but that’s all within the last three years) and bought one flat.
I have owned three cars, and now none.
I have visited the USA, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Greece, Spain & Ireland. I have been to the desert and survived.
I have fallen in love twice and had my heart broken twice. And I have lost someone I could have loved if he had been able to cope with the world.
I have, on occasion, lost hope but fortunately always found it again.
I have stayed up & watched the sun rise on countless, messy occasions.
I have also stayed up and ignored the sun rise on countless, messy occasions.
I have made many friends who I hope I will always know.
Then again, I have met some people I’d rather not know.
I have cried at numerous films, either because the really were that bad, or because they made my heart swell up with sadness.
I have acquired a second cat and borrowed two more for a while.
As far as I remember, I have not danced the funky chicken dance. And nor do I intend to.
I am not where I thought I would be. But I have had many adventures on the way.
I’ve dyed, cut, grown, dyed, grown, cut etc. my hair.
I’ve started wearing contact lenses and glasses but I do miss being able to see without them.
I have broken a surprisingly large quantity of wine glasses.
I have changed my mind about tea, it’s actually rather nice.
I haven’t changed my mind about chocolate, or biscuits, or cakes. For which I regularly receive looks of shock and horror.
I have made any number of mistakes, but once I’ve cleared up the mess I realise I’ve learnt from them.
I have had six good years, two amazing years, one bad year and one year I’d like to burn, where is that desert when you need it?

So thank you to those people who made it what it was; you know who you are.


dConstruct 09

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments

dConstruct is over for another year and after a quiet week off I am finally catching up with myself.

This year’s event focused on “Designing for Tomorrow”, kicking off with a round of workshops ranging from designing for mobile experiences to hardware hacking with arduino sets. As usual, I don’t really get a chance to spend much time in the workshops but was pleased to see how much people were enjoying them.

I think skipping the pre-party this year helped me keep calm for the morning of the conference. Even the Dome staff were impressed with my level of tranquility! The volunteers pulled off a fantastically smooth registration and set the day off without a hitch. With UX London finishing just a few months before this year’s dConstruct, and with other stresses and strains this summer, I feared that there were bound to be things I’d missed. Fortunately if there were, they were so easily dealt with that I didn’t notice. As with all events, there are certain issues you can prepare for and some that you don’t necessarily expect; we had more of the former than the latter which makes my stress load much lighter.

I missed a couple of talks this year, so will eagerly await the podcasts to catch up. It was good to see so much discussion around the topics throughout the day and as I obviously keep an eye on Twitter, to see these discussions progressing after the event. To see attendees inspired and taking experiences home with them shows that the conference achieves what we hope for, to give something back to the community.

Now I have a small conference break and am back to managing the exciting new projects we have coming up, before I start planning for next year’s UX London.


Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Every so often something happens that will change your future; the plans that you had set and the outlook you had.  Sometimes it is a wonderous thing, and sometimes painful and difficult.

Either way, adjustments must be made.  For the past two weeks I have been making several adjustments, slowly; sometimes with careful thought and sometimes trying hard not to think.  There will be many changes to come and new plans to make; new directions to seek out and new adventures.  No matter what has happened, it’s always difficult not to be excited by the future.

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