What I did on my Summer Holidays 2021 Edition

It's semi-often that I get eleven consecutive days without work. That's like an Easter, an Adelaide Cup long weekend, plus Anzac Day, and plain old regular Sunday all wrapped up.

Given this is my journal I thought it might be pertinent to repeat my previous summer break traditions of preserving an essence of those long summer days for posterity, unlike the other 354 days of the year which are abandoned in the mists of time, distance, and as usual the damaging effects of alcohol on the brain.

December 25th
Christmas morning started with a beach walk with Nash on the sands of Grange. Lunch was at Dad's with many extended family members. It was a nice time.

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December 26th
First thing on Boxing Day was a hike up Mount Lofty where for the first time ever I got a car park at Waterfall Gully. After we reached the summit we sat down for some choc-raspberry-oats and yoghurt. I saw black cockatoos and sulphur crested cockatoos.

image 2300 from bradism.com

After that was a trip to the homemaker centre and big box hardware, and following a salad I set about knocking off half my break's todo list with the things I brought home. Alas, these were all the easy things like attaching sticky hooks to the shelf by the front door, and attaching a new hose head.

Finally, before the sun got too low, I rode to Alex's to meet up with Wilhem and throw a lot of tennis balls.

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December 27th
The ten person household limit kicked in, and I attended a small BBQ with Josh, Claire and Timmy.

In the evening I drank a beer and started reading From Russia With Love.

December 28th
After breakfast I rode my bike to St Clair for an Albanian coffee, some more reading time next to some birds, and then I bought heavily discounted custard and rode home.

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That evening I ate a sticky date pudding and played Borderlands 2 with Josh and Sam.

December 29th
It was very hot, and so we stayed inside in the dark and watched Matrix Resurrections and had a smoothie.

Later in the afternoon we drove to Aldinga for dinner and another walk on the beach. Nash tried to hunt and kill a partially submerged rock, and got bopped on her bottom by an unexpected wave. Much mirth was shared.

December 30th
Another stinking hot day where we tried to get a long walk in before breakfast, again along the Torrens.

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It was around this point that another item on my todo list - Upgrade bradism.com to newer version of PHP and framework - began. I expected it to take me most of the day.

At some point I got sick of holiday software development and drank a beer while making pizzas.

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December 31st
Omicron hysteria was everywhere. We went on another Torrens walk, then after breakfast to Costco to buy bulk strawberries and salad.

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I did more Bradism upgrading.
In the evening I made Afghan chicken kebabs and then we rode to Semaphore, swam in the ocean, drank champagne in the dark and then rode home.

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January 1st
I fixed my flat tyre. The Bradism Upgrade efforts continued. Vanessa made me a mousse cake.

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January 2nd
We went walking on the beach in the morning. I forget which beach.

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Later in the afternoon I strapped a Bluetooth speaker to my handlebars, told Spotify to play radio based on Don't Stop Believin' and Boston's More than a Feeling. I rode to Glenelg for another ocean beer, and watching the sunset at the Unit with Gus and Timmy.

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January 3rd
Invigorated, I slow cooked a pork leg for eight hours and set about trying to finish as much of the second half of my todo list. I ate pulled pork for dinner. The Bradism upgrade continued...

It was a nice break.


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Ornithologism

A moist spring, and a few buckets of Seasol, have provided a bumper mulberry crop this month. The grass, and the bottom of my shoes, is nearly pure purple.

One of the benefits of this has been observing the song spreading around the neighbourhood that there's a good feed at the end of my cul de sac. The feathered friends that visit me are typically limited to blackbirds, starlings, new holland honey eaters and spotted doves.

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As the season has progressed I've seen willie wagtails, wattlebirds, house sparrows swooping in over the fence and under the canopy to shake berries loose. Every time I've felt stressed or square-eyed recently I've just had to sit outside and watch the birds fossick through the grass and fill their gullets. Often accompanied by Nash.
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In the last few days I noticed what I thought were some kind of finches but were actually silvereyes - a bird I didn't even know existed! I caught a photo of one today.

image 2289 from bradism.com

A baby blackbird has also been growing up in the backyard this spring. I noticed it as a fledgling last week as it hopped out the way of me and Nash in between its parents feeding it mulberries. It did not take many days of a high sugar diet for it to balloon up bigger than its parents. I got this photo of it when it landed on the wrong side of the pergola roof on its way out for more food.

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Maybe I was wrong to bemoan the backyard. Maybe the backyard is the best place in the world, and the rest of it is what I should avoid.

Nash Visits The Seaside

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When the backyard gets boring there's a whole state to explore assuming you can find nearby accommodation that allows dogs.

This weekend Nash went to the Yorke Peninsula for some adventures. Including:

Walks along the beach

Walks along the beach

Morning walks along the cliff

Morning walks along the cliff

Cooking the BBQ

Cooking the BBQ

Off-Roading along the cliff

Off-Roading along the cliff

Cooling off.

Cooling off.

Walks along the beach at sunset

Walks along the beach at sunset

Ironically, while we were away one of the most exciting things to happen in the garden in months occurred.

image 2284 from bradism.com


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September in the Garden

There's a lot that happens in the garden between the last cold and grey day in August and the (admittedly also cold and grey) first day of October. Leaves re-emerge. Flowers blossom. Berries appear. The grass photosynthesizes. I wrote this entry to keep track of the progress of things in my garden for future reference. I didn’t intend to do this at the start of the month, I just realised when looking through my phone’s gallery that most of my photos were taken in my backyard.

The end of August. The irises are already in bloom. The foliage is reinvigorated. Lattice like limbs of the pruned mulberry tree form a makeshift barrier to keep Nash off the tulips.

The end of August. The irises are already in bloom. The foliage is reinvigorated. Lattice like limbs of the pruned mulberry tree form a makeshift barrier to keep Nash off the tulips.


If you look closely the first buds are appearing on the mulberry branches.

If you look closely the first buds are appearing on the mulberry branches.


New sun patches form to be enjoyed. In the background the first shoots of new raspberry canes are appearing.

New sun patches form to be enjoyed. In the background the first shoots of new raspberry canes are appearing.


Around mid-September the darker purple irises start to bloom. The first flowers on the Brunfelsia also start to pop open.

Around mid-September the darker purple irises start to bloom. The first flowers on the Brunfelsia also start to pop open.


After mowing only once or twice over the entire winter, the extra daylight and angle of the sun (along with a few watering cans of Seasol) will reanimate the grass and mowing will be an every second weekend activity in September. This is also a sign that it's time to protect the strawberry patch with shade cloth to protect them from the sun on hot days, and keep them shielded from wind and rain.

After mowing only once or twice over the entire winter, the extra daylight and angle of the sun (along with a few watering cans of Seasol) will reanimate the grass and mowing will be an every second weekend activity in September. This is also a sign that it's time to protect the strawberry patch with shade cloth to protect them from the sun on hot days, and keep them shielded from wind and rain.


Mulberry growth will continue slowly but surely through the month, and the fruits will start to appear in clumps waiting for late spring warmth to ripen.

Mulberry growth will continue slowly but surely through the month, and the fruits will start to appear in clumps waiting for late spring warmth to ripen.


Around this point lunchtime salads will resume.

Around this point lunchtime salads will resume.


Lunchtime salads are a sign it's time to lay the slug and snail bait around the strawberries. Only I may eat plants.

Lunchtime salads are a sign it's time to lay the slug and snail bait around the strawberries. Only I may eat plants.


Actually if there are some spare carrots growing in the planter box then Nash can eat some plants too.

Actually if there are some spare carrots growing in the planter box then Nash can eat some plants too.


Around the third week of September this thing will start to flower. I prune the base of them so that there's no rotting leaves underneath and they seem to like that because they grow prolifically. The shade from their leaves is the second reason my tulips didn't grow this year. (The first reason is that Nash trod all over them.)

Around the third week of September this thing will start to flower. I prune the base of them so that there's no rotting leaves underneath and they seem to like that because they grow prolifically. The shade from their leaves is the second reason my tulips didn't grow this year. (The first reason is that Nash trod all over them.)


A panorama of an October garden. There's exhausted irises, two ripe cherry tomatoes, a fully in bloom brunfelsia, some little fences that might last until next October, and a mulberry in all its glory. You can also clearly see the spot on the grass that Nash likes to roll around on her back while kicking the ground.

A panorama of an October garden. There's exhausted irises, two ripe cherry tomatoes, a fully in bloom brunfelsia, some little fences that might last until next October, and a mulberry in all its glory. You can also clearly see the spot on the grass that Nash likes to roll around on her back while kicking the ground.

And that's what happened in September. An eleven photo summary of how boring my life has become.

Olympic Medals Presentation

With hindsight I've realised that using each Olympics as a milestone at which I ignore the success and heartbreak of athletes and instead reflect only about my own life in a long block of prose has been misguided narcissism. Why have I been waffling on about my own achievements randomly, and not instead ranking them and awarding medals to myself?

It's been four years since Rio. I mean, technically five but covid has that effect on things. A lot has changed.

Gold


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As with every other Olympics since 1996, Tokyo finds me with a new employer, a new salary and a new set of responsibilities. I strongly believe I am now good at my job (I've only written a single Dale since London). I still only use the phrase "IT Professional" ironically, even though I'm now TOGAF Certified.
In 2020 I nearly got flown to San Francisco to present to a conference about my leadership over the successful agile delivery of an integration uplift project (at the time it wasn't really agile or delivered).
I also was promoted to the point where I managed other people, and that really exposed me to new perspectives that I’ve learned a lot from - primarily that I should focus on technology and I shouldn't manage people. Hence my new job...

I've equalled the world record for love and having a dog for the longest amount of time between Olympics. I went on an amazing four week trip to the Pacific Northwest and hiked through nature that's hopefully still kicking a few Olympics from now. We moved house, switched cars. That's been like shedding a skin - all new extremities, but unchanged at the core.

Silver


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I have not traditionally published a novel, but I did write to completion two more of them - Shady Slopes, and Cold Case. However, I did achieve my dream of being published in a professional science fiction market, as well as selling numerous short stories both in Australia and internationally. And was featured in a best works of 2018 thanks to my dumb flash fiction about a witch’s magic mirror which crashes after a windows update.
I spent nearly every work day lunch break writing between 2016 and 2019, and then I gave up. I almost gave up... Let's see what happens by next Olympics.

Bronze


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My health and fitness has not reached its potential during an inconsistent performance in my mid-thirties. Chronic hamstring tendinopathy had me down for so much up the past years that at one point in 2019 I would almost have been justified in releasing this Olympic recap in line with the Paralympic Games in September.
I did make a triumphant return to low-grade social basketball, hit a couple of corner 3s and then suffered another soft tissue injury that would cost me a year of pain, surgery and rehab.
Despite that, I was very healthy. I walked 10,000 steps most days. I worked on my mobility, strength and physiology enough to mute my hamstring pain to a mostly ignorable caress. I set a new personal best with a back squat of 103kg, and a deadlift of nowhere near that much. I did not set a bench press PB but I did a push-up again. I was a vegan for a few minutes and I ate a lot of salad. I lost 5kg for the fun of it and had visible abs, and then I drank a lot of craft beers and gained 5kg for the fun of that too.
I have so far successfully avoided covid.

Participation Trophy


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(Including a summary of 2016’s Olympic Resolutions.)
There were more weddings (but less weddings).
I rewrote my website with a new framework, but I didn’t build it API first. Maybe next Olympics.
I bought my first shares on the stock market. I haven’t sold any yet.
I rode a bike for the first time this millennium.
I survived the Trump era.
I did make a new friend!
I signed up for not one, but two credit cards with awesome rewards programs. I currently have hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer points with both Qantas and Virgin, and nowhere to fly to.

DNQ


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Be more spontaneous.

My goals for next olympics.
There’s less than three years until the Paris Olympics, so I’m not sure how much I can really achieve. But that will also be the month before I turn forty, and knowing my history with procrastination and success I suspect another 750 words will be possible in August 2024.

I’d like to be vaccinated. I want one foot into a retirement plan that covers finances, climate change, and something to keep me occupied for the rest of my life. I’d appreciate both feet on foreign soil again, even better would be to do that as the entourage of a certain wifey athlete. I want a house that isn’t cold in winter. I’d like to go camping.

When Life Gives You The Delta Variant Of Lemons

Last weekend our family tradition of a Sunday morning walk along the river to the North Adelaide Bakery for a cream puff was cancelled due to the latest Coronavirus saga to hit Adelaide. As well as the shit weather, and injuries.

This was depressing, but we didn't cry or break things or punch a horse. We adapted.
On Friday we ordered some cream, eggs, butter, and dark chocolate melts which arrived yesterday.
Last night I attempted my first batch of Choux Pastry (boil the water a touch longer next time, and remove the dough from the saucepan before the butter starts to separate).

image 2238 from bradism.com

This morning, with sun shining, and after a walk into our backyard, we kept our tradition alive another week.
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The Scenic Route

Brown river grass on a hill on a winter's day in the Murraylands.

Murraylands.


Recently I've been working on balancing life's boring todo list jobs and tasks with more adventurous goals and objectives - something I may go into more detail on in a future journal entry.

Today's planned adventure was a road trip with Vanessa and Nash. Destination: up the freeway to Mannum Falls. (After the traditional mini cream puff and coffee.)

A golden retriever staring thoughtfully at a river.

Nash enjoying the scenery and wondering why she works every day.


After the walk I chose to take the scenic route back to Adelaide. Perhaps Google Maps is also finding the balance between doing its job and having fun, because some of the backstreets off Norton Summit Road it directed me down were a tad steep and narrow for the algorithmic saving of a minute. You could call these the scenic routes of the scenic route. I was partially tense, but mostly enamoured by the lush and overgrown hills and forests, and have no regrets for how that drive turned out.

I have no photos to share of that part of the journey, for sad but obvious reasons.

After arriving home and eating some of the BBQ Pumpkin soup I invented yesterday I walked to the supermarket to get some things for dinner. I also took the scenic route, enjoying the boring as fuck streets I have walked around a million times since COVID19, but that are still much better than walking along the edge of an expressway.

I also did some weeding, shaved, and bought new discounted Woolworths gift cards. Finally, I endeavoured further to repair the kitchen cabinets. I could probably pay a handyperson a small fee and they'd fix those hinges in less than fifteen minutes. Alas even when it comes to chores I am apparently taking the scenic route...

From the Chaff

Sometimes on winter Sundays (or public holiday Monday equivalents) the sun goes down and I feel a sense of melancholy that another week of my life is over and now it's cold.

But if I then have a hot shower and dress in warm clothing, I feel a bit better.

The weekend, like the rye and linseed sourdough loaf I bought Saturday morning, lasted three days.

Nash attended all the parts worth remembering.

image 2224 from bradism.com

On Saturday morning we walked to Plant 4 at Bowden for coffee and a visit to the local bakery where said loaf was purchased.

Sunday Morning was our traditional family walk from the Weir to the North Adelaide Bakery for mini cream puff and coffee.

Sunday evening was spent catching up with Vanessa's family and Kelpie, eating Afghan food and answering trivial pursuit questions.

Monday was friends, NBA playoffs, double beef burgers and my first game of 500 for the decade.

As the night crept in and work emails started drafting themselves in my head, it's easy to see why I'll miss these days.

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