Catching up on sleep

So I went to bed early last night, and slept in until about 8am today. With that nice solid sleep, I felt pretty good today!

I took things pretty easy again, although went for a drive with my wife and Scully to get some lunch at a new bakery we hadn’t tried before, about 15 minutes drive from home. While there, we walked Scully around the neighbourhood. It’s a place we’ve never walked before, so it was interesting to look at all the houses, which had a distinct style – it was clearly an older neighbourhood, but perhaps semi-rural when first developed, as many of the older houses were built of stone, which is very unusual for a suburban neighbourhood so far from the historical centre of the city.

New content today:

Block experiment

I tried an experiment today. I walked out the front door with the goal of walking around the block, defined as:

  • walk along the edge of a public roadway, keeping the road to one side (left as I chose) at all times, and
  • never cross a public roadway.

I knew the path I would trace, but I’d never actually walked it, in 20 years of living here, for reasons which shall become clear. I tracked my walk in Strava, and the statistics of a walk around my block are:

  • Distance: 2.82 km
  • Minimum elevation: 48 metres
  • Maximum elevation: 87 metres
  • Accumulated elevation climb: +67 metres

The path I walked looks like this (I’ve hand drawn it and not provided any street names):

block walk path

There are three dead end streets running into the interior of the block, so by my rules I had to walk into each one and back out along the opposite side of the street – something I’ve never done before in a single walk. The dotted lines mark pedestrian paths which provide short cuts that vehicles can’t use. Naturally, when I’m out walking I make good use of these short cuts, providing another reason why I’ve never had occasion to walk around the block like this before. The area I live in is very hilly, so there was a lot of elevation change as I traced this route.

Interestingly, I’ve long thought that if I just cross the street directly outside my place, I end up on a block of land that adjoins Sydney Harbour (as in, I can walk from that point to the shore without crossing a road – in fact have done so on many occasions). So if I tried to walk around that block by the same rules, I would end up having to walk all the way around Sydney Harbour, by a route encompassing various bridges (Fig Tree, Tarban Creek, Gladesville, Iron Cove, Anzac, and Sydney Harbour Bridges, for those counting). After doing the simpler block walk today, I checked Google Maps to see exactly what sort of route this enormous walk would take, and I realised that because of various underpasses that go beneath the bridges I was thinking of, I would actually end up either skipping some of the bridges and going even further around, further upriver (ending up crossing the river on Silverwater Bridge, of all things), or doing odd loops that cross a bridge then go around an underpass loop and then go back across the same bridge on the other side of the road.

Ultimately, I traced my path as far as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is the only way back to my place from the southern side of the harbour… only to realise that by my rules I would end up doing one of those underpass loops on the north side and then returning to the southern side… now with nothing to return me back to the northern side between there and the ocean. In fact, this “around the block” walk would take me all the way around the entire coastline of mainland Australia before returning to my home.

(In practice, you would be very hard pressed to actually walk this route as it encompasses several freeway sections where pedestrians are banned.)

But I was staggered by the fact that a simple rule mixed with the vagaries of the road system meant that my original assumption of merely walking around the harbour and across a few bridges was mistaken, and that instead it would lead to a grand walk around the whole continent.

If anyone else cares to try this, either with an actual walk, or tracing a route via Google Maps, please let me know your results.

New content today:

Last of the Sydney walk conversions

Saturday… the day I normally clean the house, except I skipped a couple of weeks with my hand out of action. But today I got back into it. The bathroom is now sparkling again.

Went for a walk with Scully, and finished the last outstanding conversion of Imgur album to web page for my Sydney photo walks: Crows Nest shops.

My wife and I have been working through the Roger Moore James Bond films over the past week, and tonight we had to bite the bullet and start watching Moonraker. Oh dear.

New content today:

Hardware and an unexpected acquaintance

I took a longish walk with Scully this morning, to the hardware store (Bunnings), which is a few kilometres away. I had a couple of things I wanted to buy, so it was a good excuse to take her for a long walk.

When I got there, there were police, an ambulance, and a fire engine, attending a crash that happened on the intersection right outside Bunnings. It’s a T-junction with the streets, with the Bunnings car park driveway forming it into a four-way crossroad intersection. Traffic lights control cars coming out of Bunnings, and there’s a pedestrian light controlling pedestrians crossing the driveway. I was waiting to cross at the pedestrian light to get across the driveway to the pedestrian entrance to Bunnings. The green “walk” signal came on and the “walk now” beeps went off, I stepped out into the driveway…. and a van waiting to go revved up and came right at me, screeching to a stop before it hit me….

Only then did I realise that police were actively controlling the intersection for car traffic, signalling them to ignore the traffic lights and go when waved ahead. Not driving a car at the time, I hadn’t been watching what the police were doing – rather I was concentrating on the pedestrian signal at the crossing so that I could cross safely. The police just happened to wave the cars in the driveway to go right at the moment that the pedestrian light went green! Fortunately there was no accident, and I scurried across with Scully safely.

I’ve been exercising and massaging my hand again today. The pain seems to be fading slowly, and the hand is getting stronger and more flexible again. I took a golf club (a wedge) and some balls over to a nearby park and hit a few shots to test out how the hand would hold up playing golf. It was a little sore, but I felt like I could hit fairly well. I might try a round with my friend next week.

The other notable thing today happened at another park a short drive away, where I take Scully for exercise and to socialise with other dogs. There’s a regular group of dog owners who assemble there around 4pm every day – mostly retired people, but a few younger owners. I’ve been going there for over a year and know all the regular dogs and their owners, although only in a casual manner.

Today I was walking with one of them and chatting, and they mentioned something about James. I didn’t know who they were referring to, so I said, “Sorry, James who?”

“James Wood, the Supreme Court Judge. You know, with Pippa.” (Pippa is a cream coloured poodle)

Me: “Ohhh! Jim! … He’s a judge??”

Not just any judge. New South Wales Supreme Court Judge James Wood, OA, QC, chair of both the NSW Law Reform Commission and NSW Sentencing Council, and Royal Commissioner of the NSW Police Royal Commission.

Wow, I had no idea.

New content today:

Making the hand better

My hand was a lot better overnight, as in easier to sleep without being uncomfortable because of the bandages. But it’s still very bruised and sore today, and I’ve been spending some time massaging it firmly as the doctor advised, which just makes it feel more sore. But there’s definite improvements in strength and flexibility since yesterday, so that’s good. I can do almost anything I could before, except things that require significant left hand strength, such as opening difficult jars.

I made some Darths & Droids comics today, and converted another Sydney Walk photo essay into a web page, this one titled: Artarmon, Naremburn, St Leonards grunge.

In the mail today I received a small bicycle light which I bought to try attaching to Scully at night, so we can see her. It turns out that the light is way too bright. Your eyes adjust to the light and it’s not possible to see Scully herself at all. I might try covering the lights with tape to filter it down a bit.

New content today:

Winter walking

My wife had stuff to do this morning and asked me to take Scully on a nice long walk to keep her occupied. I walked down to Greenwich Baths – basically this walk that I did a photo essay on a few weeks ago, although with some extra pieces and a minor changes. It was chilly, as the weather has turned quite wintry here in the past week.

And I was surprised when we got to the baths to see an old lady, must have been in her 80s, getting ready to go swimming in the water of the harbour! As I watched, rugged up in my rugby jersey and a jacket over the top, she descended the ramp into the water and proceeded to swim laps. I’m don’t know how she even got in there, as the baths are fenced off and closed during the winter months – either she sneaked past the fence somehow, or she has some sort of secret way to get a key.

Back home, I worked on another photo essay, converting into a web page – a shortish one I did of a round I played at a local golf course. Maybe not as exciting as all the cool historical architecture I’ve bee learning about in the other walks I’ve been doing.

My wife is getting into cooking with me unable to do so (easily) because of my bandaged hand. Today she made pesto pasta with asparagus, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese for dinner, and it was really good. I should get her to cook more often! 😄

New content today:

A long walk and a rest

Saturday is officially “no alarm Saturday” in this household, and we all slept in until almost 8 o’clock this morning. After getting up and having breakfast, we (my wife, Scully, and I) went for a nice long walk for some exercise and fresh air. The day was beautiful – a clear, brisk, late autumn day with puffy white clouds in the sky.

We walked basically this route which I covered in a photo walk essay a few weeks ago. With some bits added on to take us from our home to the start and end points as given in that page. The total walk was 9 kilometres, and took us a solid couple of hours, with a break for my wife to grab a coffee at a cafe on the way.

This afternoon I worked some more on Darths & Droids, writing up a bunch of story planning notes, based on thoughts from the past few days that hadn’t been recorded yet, and I made a couple of new strips.

And this evening my wife cooked the cauliflower dish that I was preparing on Wednesday when I sliced my hand with the kitchen knife. The offending cauliflower has been duly punished by being baked with a miso glaze and consumed with pomegranate, chilli, mint, and toasted sesame and sunflower seeds. Yum!

Miso cauliflower bomb

New content today:

More mission

Sunday morning walk time with my wife and Scully… we did what has become our routine walk around a loop that leads past a bakery and then down by the water where Scully chases a tennis ball on the grass. I’ve lost a few tennis balls over the years, accidentally throwing them into drains and stuff. Today I lost Scully’s ball by accidentally rolling it down a hill, onto the wharf, and through a tiny gap in the wooden barrier… plop! Into the harbour! So after that Scully was expecting me to throw the ball some more, but I couldn’t.

My wife suggested we always carry a spare ball. But that just means that inevitably one day I’ll lose two balls in one outing.

I wrote some more Darths & Droids stuff today – both background plotting info, and a new comic.

Oh, and I did a quick sketch response to the latest xkcd comic (2307):

continuum or binary

New content today:

Double or Nothing Sunday

Okay, today I did some stuff! Firstly, I restarted using Duolingo to practice learning Italian again. I’ve been slacking off on my Italian since I got back from my trip to Portugal last year, and finally decided to restart. Fortunately it seems I’ve done enough that I remembered all of the relatively easy stuff. We’ll see how I go with trickier stuff later on.

I cleared out another backlogged Snot Block & Roll review, of an amazing sausage roll.

I did another long walk, documented with photos. This time through the historic Coal Loader site and nearby Balls Head, in Waverton (a suburb of Sydney).

For dinner this evening I made carrot and lentil soup, seasoned with coriander and my home made chilli sauce. And I made yoghurt flatbread to go with it, which is so easy and delicious. A simple meal, but it was really delicious and perfect for a cool autumn day.

New content today:

Industrial grunge walk

I needed to buy a couple of things from the hardware store today, so I took a walk over there, and then proceeded to walk home via a roundabout route, so I could document another Sydney walk with photos. The previous walk was very touristy and beautiful, so I thought I’d explore a grungier side of the city today. It’s not the grungiest, because I’m limited to suburbs within walking distance, but hopefully there’s a bit there!

Photos and commentary are in this Imgur album.

I also worked some more on Darths & Droids today – made another comic, wrote some annotations.

New content today: