Aug 25

Race Day at the Belgian GP with Shell Motorsports

Belgian GP Race Day

Our final day at the track! Surprisingly the trip in on the morning was pretty much the same as on the previous days. We hit traffic at the same place and got to the track around 10 again. Before we left, our instructions for the end of the day were made plain – bags to be labelled with where they were going (airport or train), and everyone to leave as soon as the race finished! It was a long trip back to our departure points.

All clear on that, I made my way to the grandstand for the GP2 race, and got to see Alexander Rossi claim his first win of the season. Rossi is a driver I’d seen speak a few times, as when he was with Caterham, he’d turn up at quite a few fan events; it was great to see him on the podium.

Belgian GP Race Day

Back into the Shell suite and time to get into place for the Kimi chat. The room was full; the suite and the GP is used as a B2E/B2B event and they were in full swing in awarding prizes for great work across their forecourts in Europe. But as the time for the appearance got closer, the room moved from comfortably sat in seats to ‘how close can i get to the stage’ mode. There were lots of phones in the air recording Raikkonen’s brief interview; it was unfortunate that after stopping in Q2 and a gearbox penalty means he was going to start from 16th; he was not in the most chatty of moods before the crowd but even so, lots of pictures and videos were taken.

Belgian GP Race Day

Now time for waiting, we had 2 hours before the race start. Which meant lunch and a chance to take a look at the vintage cars that we lined up next to our venue all ready for the drivers parade.

Belgian GP Race Day

The grandstands were full for the race, well, almost. Some people had decided to stay indoors and watch on the big screen in comfortable sofas (and bar and food close by). But Sofia and I want to watch the cars so up we went for the 43 laps. The crowd in the grandstand were definitely partisan for Ferrari, being mainly (all?) Shell employees and guests, and were cheering all the moves being made. Or groaning when Vettel’s tyre went on the last but one lap. I think Grosjean would still have taken the place, but it was not a good way for that to happen.

Belgian GP Race Day

The chequered flag flew, Hamilton won and then we were out of there. Straight off the grandstand and outside the gates before the champagne was spraying. Onto our minibus to take 8 of the group onto Brussels train station. Well, that was the plan, it appears the police and road closures had other ideas, sending us south for 45 mins before letting us get on the motorway, where we promptly turned north, 15mins later going back past the track with a view across to the pitstraight grandstands. At that point, the phone said 2 hours to go; we would have made it but there was traffic and traffic and even more traffic. the minutes skipped by (every single one of them accompanied by a high pitched beep beep beep as there was an alarm they could not turn off) and our ETA was getting further and further away. One last burst of traffic and that was it, no chance of making the train now. Our friendly hosts had actually made it to the station before us – they were not subject to the bus detour – so we’d been in touch and they were busy re-arranging the arrangements. By the time got there (7:59, 7 mins after train departure, we were SO close), tickets were being sorted for the following morning and hotel almost re-organised – we were lucky enough to get the last set of rooms in the station hotel. Time for one last meal together before the early starts the next day. From hotel to work took me 2.5 hours – some of my colleagues have longer commutes than that!

In summary, a wonderful weekend. The team from Shell (and their agency) made sure we had a great time, ensured we had a few different experiences and made sure we learnt about Shell V-Power and the science that goes behind it with some conversations with some fascinating people who make the products. All of this at a classic F1 venue with plenty of time to watch the cars. Thank you very much!

(and below..the video from the event)

Aug 22

Saturday at the Belgian GP with Shell Motorsports

It’s supposed to rain at Spa. A day at the track without full waterproofs in the bag is pushing your luck, you’re bound to get wet. Except, it seems, in 2015. So far, sun. And even more sun. It is very, very warm, so much so that I left the coat and brolly behind today and had no issues. The covered grandstand today was for shade rather than dryness.

Belgian GP Day 2

It’s hard to gather together 25 people, so we set off on the Saturday morning a wee bit later than advertised and hit the expected traffic. But overall, only about 1:15 in travel – I wonder what the race day traffic will be like? On arrival, I dashed out to go and meet Mike at Status Grand Prix for a chat and a quick look at the garage. The GP3 qualifying was taking place at the time, so also got to see the cars coming down the pitlane…if only any of my photos had worked!!! It was good to catch up and chat about the various financial challenges of F1 vs the Gp2/GP3 scene; I’d previously met Mike when he worked for Virgin/Marussia so he knows the issues there.

Belgian GP Day 2

Next up, back to the Shell suite where the Shell Motorsports team had arranged for James Allen to come and chat with the group. This time, I managed to make the chat instead of missing it to watch cars. The questions and answers ranged from Pirelli tyres to Honda engines to FOM social media. It also took in whether or not the sport was ‘good’ now vs in the past (or do all fans look to the past with rose-tinted spectacles, no appreciating what we have now) and with James assessment of the best and worst drivers on the current grid (Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel for the former, with Verstappen getting an honourable mention).

Belgian GP Day 2

Time now for FP3, a last chance to assess the cars before qualifying. Lunch was followed by the chance to take part in a pitstop challenge, the first one of these I’ve done. I was on the gun and it took a few goes before I worked out how to take the gun off and not leave the wheel nut on the wheel! But the team got it together and we managed a respectable 2.8 seconds on one of our attempts.

Belgian GP Day 2

We also got the chance for another chat with a fuel scientist, in their public facing lab (which was actually the one they use for Le Mans) and went into more depth about the oils they use.

Belgian GP Day 2

Time now for qualifying, which went, in the main as expected. Although Ferrari did not have a good day, with Raikkonen stopping on track and Vettel only managing ninth. We’ll see how they do in the race. Thankfully. for my fantasy league results, HAM got pole. All I need now is for VET to make up 7 places!

Belgian GP Day 2

Back to Shell suite for a meet up with István Kapitány, the EVP retail for Shell (ie the man who had to say yes to spend all the money on the competition/promotion I won). A nice guy all round who seemed very happy to see some very happy competition winners!

Final car event of the day was the GP2 race; due to the red flag we had to leave before it was finished however. I think that is the one big difference between doing this myself (when I’d be early and late to watch all the sessions) and being part of a party that has time deadlines. Twitter then becomes the friend to watch via text commentary :-)

Belgian GP Day 2

The journey back to the hotel was via another detour, but we made it in time for our lovely meal out. The Shell team have been brilliant at making sure we are fed, watered and entertained! Tomorrow, race day. It looks like HAM, ROS at least for the Podium, not sure who else will make it though, Spa is a great track to bring the surprises. The first of which is the lack of rain forecast!

(the following picture was taken on the way back to the hotel after the meal. I have NO IDEA what they’re trying to say in this ‘art’}

Belgian GP Day 2

Aug 22

A trip to the Belgian GP, day 1

In the previous post, you’ll have read that I managed to win a lovely VIP trip to the Belgian GP, through a competition organised by Shell Motorsports. Finally, after a few email exchanges, that the day arrived and we were off to SPA.

Sofia and I were travelling by Eurostar, as were a number of others, both competition winners and journalists/bloggers. From Brussels train station, 7 of us piled into a cab for the hour’s trip to Maastricht, for our hotel. This in itself was about an hour from Spa – as the track is in the middle of the Ardennes forest, there is not exactly a lot of accommodation around and many people camp, or do a long trip to the track everyday.

Belgian GP

Once at the hotel, checked in, we got the all important timetable – and tickets! The precious tickets, 3 days grandstand and access to the Shell Hospitality Suite at the bottom of Eau Rouge. But before we would do any of that, our first treat of the weekend, dinner with the Ferrari reserve driver, Estaban Gutierrez. There was no time in his schedule to get all the way out to us, so we were bundled into a coach and heading to Spa, to a small place called Roannay just by the track. It is apparently the place where Bernie Ecclestone stays, which is why it must be one of the very few rural hotels with a helipad out the back.

Belgian GP

Our guest arrived, only a little late, and the photocall was done. Then dinner, and Estaban joined a couple of the tables for a chat, along with some of the Shell fuel experts to chat about how they develop the fuel for the teams.

Belgian GP

As with all aspects of a Formula 1 team, the development of fuels is a continuous battle, always looking for ways to eek out more power and more efficiency. This year alone, they have managed to find an extra 5HP through development. I asked our Shell expert if the fuel and the engine were co-developed, if they had ever suggested an engine tweek because of a fuel improvement. The answer, surprisingly was yes, it can happen that way and when it does, all improvements are considered. As expected, we also spent quite a bit of time chatting about Shell V-Power and how the race team fuel development has inputted into the road car fuel. Another interesting fact about that is that V-Power is now often used for racing cars themselves (club racing etc) as it works as well as the specialist fuel but is a lot cheaper! The dinner over, we headed back, one last drink taken in the lovely warm evening in the square.

Friday dawned bright and sunny. Yes, sunny,, hot, completely weird weather for Spa which is traditionally a bit wet. Back on the coach and we were finally headed to the circuit. Quite a few people in the group had never been to Spa (in fact for some, this was their first race) and it was great to see their reaction when they turned the corner to see Eau Rouge for the first time. Our home for the weekend was the Shell Hospitality Suite which is at the bottom of the Eau Rouge hill. Just up from it is our grandstand – which provides us with a glorious view!

Belgian GP

Before I got the chance to sit there for a while. we were first up for a whistlestop paddock visit to take a look at the Shell touring laboratory. We learnt about the fuel checking, taking samples every single time it moves containers and continuously checking them for consistency. Anything out of the ordinary, something as simple as contamination from a glove, can mean that the fuel no longer matches the reference sample and is therefor ‘illegal’. On the Helix oil side, checks are run that allow early signs of engine trouble to be detected. Anything strange in those samples can mean that a bit of the engine may be starting to break down – and the oil analysis can pick things up before anyone else.

Belgian GP

We also got to see Maldonaldo back in the paddock after his FP1 crash! Unfortunately, no garage tour though. :-(

Belgian GP

Belgian GP

The rest of my day was mainly spent watching cars. Which means I missed the visit from David Croft from Sky who came down to chat with the group – I was watching GP2. I did get to listen to Marc Gene at the end of the day though, when the group was invited to ask him questions about his career, the cars and how Shell helps them. He’s the one that mentioned the improvement that can be seen this year in the fuel and how it does get noticed in the car; he also chatted about how the whole system is getting more efficient, with fuell use now down to about 2.5 litres a lap (average over tracks) whereas before the recent changes, it was about 3ltrs.

Belgian GP

First day done…back to hotel for dinner and chat. Two more days to go.

Aug 09

The Hunt by Shell Motorsport

Shell The Hunt London

It was a lovely day in London yesterday. It was made even better by Shell who ran an event – follow the clues, find the Ferrari, answer a question and see if you’re quick enough to get there first and win a trip to the Belgian GP. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have noticed that I was fast enough and I did win :-)

Shell are a long term sponsor of motorsport, with their partnership with Ferrari being one of the more longstanding ones in Formula 1. They also sponsor the Belgian GP, so they tend to do a lot of hospitality at the race, I heard the number of 800 people who would be guests over the weekend. And 1 of them will be me this year, along with the other winner of the day, our friends plus the winners of the other events.

The competition started off with having to register for the event, they then invited 70 people to the actual hunt, starting off on the Southbank. A surprising number of people did not turn up for this – i reckon there was only about 30, so the odds improved immediately. This is always an issue when running promotions like this, getting the people to actually enter and take part – but if you don#t take part, then you have no chance. As i looked around at the people gathered, I was trying to assess my chances. At this point, we had no idea what the form of the treasure hunt would take. Would we need to jum on and off tubes? How hard would the questions be? Just what were the rules going to be. I was expected to have to do some running – I came prepped with trainers – but not sure how much. There were definitely some speedy looking people standing around, I was not expecting to be able to win a footrace.

The briefing went through the rules. We were going to get the clues via DM, we had to make our way to each of the checkpoints, take a selfie, with the info, and tweet them, in the right order. At the end, we’d find a Ferrari California T and if we answered a question right, the prize was a VIP trip to the Belgian GP. The prize was only for the first 2 people to make it though, both to win a pair of tickets. It was clear that we could take whatever form of transport we wanted to get to all the locations.

Shell Motorsport The Hunt London

The clues were delivered, the countdown happened and we were off!!! I went off at a steady jog, first stop the Imax. quite a few in front in me but as I got close, for some reason quite a few seemed to be going the wrong way, I stuck to my plan and got the first image. Next stop, Somerset House. Up to Waterloo Bridge, taking the decision to run instead of catch bus or cab at this point. Found the next checkpoint on the Strand, repeat the selfie taking and then switch transport mode.

Shell The Hunt London

Living in London and knowing this particular area well, I knew it was a bit of distance to the next 2 checkpoints, time to take a cab! Not quite sure what the cab driver made of me out of breath..but he got to the Millennium Bridge as fast as he could for check point 3. Then another cab, luckily there was one right there. As I got next to the City Hall, I saw two people running ahead of me, so I jumped out the cab and dashed after them!. I had no idea if I was any where near the front but I kept going to see the Ferrari finally set out on the grass, with people waving checquered flags and the car surrounded by security.

Shell The Hunt London

A quick check that I’d done all the tweets then time to try and answer the final question. We’d been told to read all the checkpoints trivia, but the answer turned out not to be there, but right in front of me! It took my 3 tweets to actually get the right answer and all the time I was waiting for them to call another name to go with Jon, who was there first and had already got his prize. But yes, mine was the name they called out next and I HAD WON!!! WOOT!!!

Shell The Hunt London

I had so much adrenaline that I was still shaking 15mins later. We had to do a number of retakes but the film, as us winners had beaten the camera team to the final checkpoint, so we did a few more run ins and car openings. Then it was off to the pub where the Shell team had got food ad drink awaiting – plus everyone got fuel vouchers as well.

The was a final little bonus – a ride in the Ferrari. First time in a Ferrari – and it’s not often i get to sit in a car that cost more than my flat did!

Ferrari across Tower Bridge

Jul 12

2015 Week Notes 25

21-27 June

JSR 2015

Doing

  • A birthday party at the beginning of the week, for both a friend and her company – she’s busy trying to set up Wisher, a gifting app.
  • I only had 2 days in the office this week; on Wednesday, I went to Marcus for lunch, another one on my Michelin list, this one a 2 stars. Gorgeous food.
    Lunch at Marcus
  • Marcus was quite accommodating when I turned up carrying a huge backpack…after lunch I headed to Reading for the evneing, to camp out prior to the Joint Service Regatta on the Thursday, where the Army, Navy and Air Force rowing crews compete every year.
    JSR 2015
  • Back home for the Friday, getting caught up on admin, including getting my first round of vaccinations for my holiday. Arms filled with tetanus, typhoid, polio and diptheria.
  • Had a lovely lunch at a local pub on the river, The White Hart at Barnes. I’m always a sucker for smoked salmon and pickled cucumber, definitely one of my favourite dishes.
    Lunch at the White Hart
  • And the final event of the week was Day 1 of the Formula E race. More on that at next report.
    Formula E at Battersea

Reading

Running

  • Just the one Sunday run this week, the rest of it got a little busy.
Jul 12

2015 Week Notes 24

14-20 June

Amba Mile

Doing

  • The Amba City Mile race, a chance to see how fast I can run a mile. The answer is – not very fast. There wa a good group from my running club there and they put up a strong showing.
  • The rest of the week was very quiet, although a lot was spent hanging around with colleagues. A project we were working on got moved, so we went from long, long work weeks to suddenly having very little to do. So in the nice weather, it was time for the pub.

Reading

  • One book, another one on the theme of closed societies, this one set on a generation ship, The Forever Watch by David Ramirez. this one kept me guessing all the way to the end, with a final twist to surprise you.
  • >What is Code by Paul Ford. A brilliant article exploring what exactly is code, approaching the question from many different levels

Running

  • Just the mile race this week, although with about 6 miles additional running before and after the race.
Jul 12

2015 Week Notes 23

7-13 June

Dorney Colour Run
Doing

  • On Sunday, I went and ran my first Colour Run, at Dorney, which was complicated by various blowup obstacles. I’ve never done one of these runs..they definitely seem to be targeted at the younger set, with lots of groups of teens having a lot of fun rolling round in powder. I went as part of a team and we had a fun run, dodging the colour and tackling the obstacles whilst keeping a steady run all round.

    Dorney Colour Run

  • Had a work event on Tuesday, a few drinks to celebrate the finish of the AAR Fitness Challenge. This was 10 weeks where groups of 4 all wore pedometers and attempted to get the most steps. As a team, we did not do brilliantly, but we had a lot of fun trying.
  • Thursday was another night out, where the founder of Tsu, Sebastian Sobczak hosted a few London tech bloggers. It was a good night and learnt a lot about this interesting social network where you get rearded for sharing content. It’s a platform that is growing steadily and getting traction.

Reading

  • Managed to get through 3 books this week; the 2 sequels to the Connolly book from last week and Dark Eden by Chris Beckett, as fascinating look at a society on a planet, descended from a crashed ship, where the energy is thermal rather than light.
  • Love this site from National Library of Scotland – old maps aligned to new google maps. You can just keep moving around and seeing how things changed over the last 100+ years.

Running

  • Just the 2 runs this week, seems to be about my average at the moment, really need to get back on it. So the Colour Run at Dorney and a quick river loop. So only about 6 miles in total.
Jul 12

2015 week Notes 22

31 May – 6 June

Chiswick Food Fair

Doing

  • Lots and lots of work, so noting happening during the week. On the saturday, I popped along to the Chiswick Food Fair, one of the events taking place in the first ever Chiswick food festival – Eat Chiswick.

Reading

  • Just 1 book read, back to the fantasy, this time from Harry Connolly

Running

  • Just a couple of runs this week, one of them with the work running group, the other a 10k river bridge loop, just keeping the miles ticking over.
Jul 12

2015 Week Notes 21

24-30 May

London 10k

Doing

  • Sunday was a day in town, meeting up with a friend for lunch and to watch the Monaco GP in the pub. A great day, with just a little too much wine :-)
  • The fun the day before did not help that much on Monday, when I ook part in the Bupa London 10k. A superbly organised race around the closed streets of London, with 2 short of 12000 runners taking part. It was great to be on the same course as people like Jo Pavey. And it was good to be out racing with so many people anywy, I get a real kick out of mass events like this, even if I know that I can run/race at smaller events for far less, it’s just fun watching everyone try so hard at these types of events.

    London 10k

  • the rest of the week was work, lots of work, with some hard prep for various meetings, so much so I ended up staying in town one night, for the first time using HotelTonight, which is a pretty good app for last minutes stays.

Reading

Runnning

  • This was quite a good week for running. As well as the 10k, got a midweek run to work in and Park Run on the Saturday.
Jul 12

2015 Week Notes 20

17-23 May

Doing

  • Nothing, absolutely nothing. Dairy says nothing, photos says nothing. This was a very quiet week. A week filled with lots of work and then lots of housework.

Reading

  • Only the one book read. Finishing off the Outlander Series. Not sure I want to see it on TV, but will keep an eye out for it.

Running

  • Just the one run, a little 5k on the Saturday.
May 31

2015 Week Notes 19

10-16th May 2015

Doing

  • I started the week running Hackney Half Marathon. A closed road course in its second year, it has had a lot of publicity locally. There were some organisational issues in the 1st year, but it looks like they had definitely learnt from them, as I found the organisation of the day of a very high quality. Great runner village, great course and good support around Hackney all lead to me having a great day. I as really happy having a steady half run, with no walk breaks and feeling in control all way round.

    Hackney Half

  • On Monday, my parents came down for a few days visit, partly to see me for my birthday. I took the Monday off and we went to Greenwich for the afternoon, spending much of it wandering round the Greenwich Observatory. Lots of good science there and a chance for me to see one of of my favourite pieces – the Harrison Clocks.

    Greenwich

    Greenwich

  • On Wednesday, I was invited to a Zomato blogger evening that took place in the Andaz Hotel. An excellent evening in 3 of their venues – write up to follow!

    Zomato Blogger Visit: Andaz Hotel

  • The final activity of the week was a trip to the cinema to see Avengers:Age of Ultron. Overall, a good film, a lot of fun, but Stark is becoming a cliche and they seem to ignore some basic physics (yes, silly statement in a superhero movie, but I still think the ending was just ridiculous..I’m pretty sure to do real damage a hunk of rock would need to be far, far higher.). As it was a nice day, after a good lunch at the Duke, I came home via a stroll round Key Gardens and a couple of hours watching cricket on Kew Green, just a lovely relaxed day.

    Kew Gardens

    Kew Cricket

Reading

  • Just the one book finished, I’m reading longer ones at the moment and they are taking time.
  • Marketing Crack – Kicking the Habit an article about capitalism and one of the things that I never understand, how the requirements (often legal) to maximise shareholder value leads to short term, thinking and behaviours that are often antagonistic to long term survival in a changing world.

Running

  • the Hackney Half Marathon on the Sunday
  • Only 1 other run this week, Tuesday morning run club, a full team made their way out for the early start.
  • The rest of the week was a right off, a head cold moved into the chest, taking me out for a week with coughing
May 31

A trip to Gloucester

After spending the first day of my bank holiday weekend in Worcester, on the Sunday I explored the town of Gloucester. A day similar to the previous in that it took in Cathedrals and museums. First of all was Blackfriars Priory, founded in 1239, dissolved in 1539 and bought by a local alderman who turned it into his house. It was still lived in until the 20th century. the main church now has had all of the floors and rooms removed, just leaving the shell.

Gloucester

The centre of Gloucester is pretty compact and just a couple of street away are the docks (GLoucester used to be a fairly large port on the Severn). The former industrial area has been turned into a shopping and pedestrian areas, with a couple of decent museums.

Gloucester

The first one I visited was a military one, that told the history of the Gloucester regiments, along with a lot of local stories. After a good wander round that, it was back to the other side of town to go round the cathedral – on a Sunday the opening hours for tourists are shorter, due to services. Just round the corner is the House of The Tailor of Gloucester, as in Beatrix Potter fame.

Gloucester Cathedral

At Gloucester Cathedral, there was another volunteer tour guide, this time for a tour round the crypt. My favourite story of that was of Robert Cuthose, the eldest son of William the Conquerer, who dies before he could succeed his father. During the WWII, his burial statue was stored in the crypt, on top of a large storage box that had been sent up for London – the Gloucester vaults were deemed to be fairly safe. At the end of the war, the box was revealed to hold the throne of England – so the Prince had ended up ‘sitting’ on the throne. The other royal burial in the cathedral was Edward II, a not quite successful King who ended up being deposed and disposed of. Edward was not the eldest, he only inherited when his older brother died – Alphonso, a name that cold have been interesting as an English king :-).

Gloucester Cathedral

The final museum of the day was back at the docks, the Gloucester Waterways museum, all about the canals and the life spent on the canals.

British Waterways Museum Gloucester

A very good two day trip and 2 cathedrals knocked off the list. I’m busy planning my next one now – looking at a double header of Peterborough and Ely.

May 13

2015 Week Notes 18

Gloucester Cathedral

Doing

  • the second day of my weekend was spent in Gloucester, with the Soldiers of Gloucester museum, the cathedral and the British Waterways museum. Here’s the write up of the Gloucester visit
  • Nothing much the rest of the week, except a lot of work

Gloucester Cathedral

Reading
Another book read, a quite a few more articles.

  • This is how fast America changes its mind. Interesting look at how legislation can change and how there is a trigger point from when it becomes inevitable, looking at marriage (interracial and same sex), prohibition and ahead to marijuana.
  • How to Survive the Looming Tech Bubble: Ignore the gurus. A call for brand to ignore whatever social media gurus tell you is the next hot thing, as the article argues their history of success is not strong.
  • Our better selves are bold and inclusive. Published before the election, it is a call to rise above the fearmongering that is the spin from politicians and certain media outlets. A call that was not heeded.
  • 26.2 miles and memories by Darren Waters. A write up from a Twitter friend about his experiences in the London Marathon.
  • Your Imaginary relationship with a Celebrity. A look at how people engage with their heroes on social media
  • The Dickonomics of Tinder. How one woman is using Tinder and how the app can move the balance of power in online dating.
  • Test drive of Petrol Car. Satirical review of a petrol car from the Tesla club of Sweden. As all good satire, makes you consider things.
  • What is the exit poll and how does it work brilliant article about the accurate exit poll from the General election. Now we need a good one to explain why all the ongoing polls did not work at all and everyone was expecting a hung parliament – which drove the media agenda – which potentially drove the end result.
  • A teenager’s view on social media. One viewpoint on how this teen and his peers are using social media. He appears not to be able to use Google id he’s never seen a similar article before, but it does give you the attitude of one type of teen. To look further, read danah’s thoughts on the piece which raises the need to remind yourself that one teen is not all teens and different groups use different things.
  • My Apple Watch review after 5 days by Molly Watt. I’ve read a lot of Apple watch reviews but this one is different. As per danah’s complaint that a lot of reaction to articles about social media or gadgets are from your typical tech blog, this one is most definitely not. it’s all about how a woman with Usher Syndrome (so with restricted sight and hearing) uses the watch and how it can help her interpret the world. Again, it shows that you need to look beyond your usual circle. Robert Scoble in his newsletter had this impression

    So, do I recommend you buy it? Only if you can get enough value out of it by saving a few seconds here and there by not being asked to pull your phone out of your purse or pocket. Translation: rich people will probably get enough value. Busy sales people and execs probably will too.

    this review shows there are edgecases now who will get a lot more out of it than rich people and execs.

Running

The first outing of the Tuesday running club was held, 7:30am. The actual session with the group was quite steady, 6 repeats of 5 min run, 1 min walk. Everyone was keen and had been out running on their own – and they have all entered both the Brighton marathon and the Richmond Running Festival half marathon in September as a first target. With additional running to and from the meeting point, I did 4.5 miles

May 11

2015 Week Notes 17

London Marathon 2015

Doing

  • A spent all of Sunday marshalling at the London Marathon. and I wrote all about it at that link. A very good day and well worht volunteering if you ever get the opportunity.
    London Marathon 2015
  • Another trip to the theatre, this time with Wine Club, to see American Buffalo, by David Mamet, with Damian Lewis, John Goodman and Tom Sturridge. As with my previous visit (to see The Ruling Class), this was a revival of a play, this from 1975. It wasn’t quite as set in its age as the frist one, although it was staged as set in that time. The cast was good, but I think all of us were a little disappointed, with sections of it not keeping our attentions.
  • A last minute decision was made to go somewhere for the Bank Holiday weekend so a trip to Gloucester was booked. traveled there on the Friday – it was only just over 2 hours by train – and then took a trip up to Worcester on the Saturday first. A tour round the cathedral, A Tudor House and the town museum followed. There’s a fuller write up over in this post on the Worcester visit. Worcester cathedral is the burial place of King John, a good place to visit in the 800th anniversary year of Magna Carta.

    Worcester Cathedral

Reading

Only 1 book read and no articles saved. Mmm, better do something about that.

Running

Still nothing. I’ll get round to it soon.

May 10

A trip to Worcester

This was the first half of my weekend away, a chance to go and tick two cathedrals off my list. Worcester is only 40mins by train from my base in Gloucester, but trains were only every 2 hours, so I had to make sure I kept to good timings.

Worcester

I was hoping to take a quick look at the Guildhall, built in 1721, but it was closed for a private function. I only got to see the statues of the Charles 1 and 11 outside.

Worcester Cathedral

A short stroll down the High Street to Worcester Cathedral and it turned out I was just in time for a guided tour. It was a quiet day and there were only 3 of us on it, but we got a good trip around the history of the place. Although weirdly, the tour guide missed out two of the key burials in the building which was surprising given their impact on British history. First of all, Arthur, Prince of Wales was buried there, who died in nearly Ludlow. If he hadn’t there would have been no Henry VIII, no reformation, no Church of England and no Elizabeth 1. It would have been a very different country.

Worcester Cathedral

The second burial was of King John (well, most of him, his heart was buried in Newark where he died). Without him here would be no Magna Carta. I’m pretty sure that the changes associated with that may have come about eventually, but John was the catalyst. Arthur had a very ornate chantry for his burial, but John was placed right there in the chancel in front of the alter.

Worcester Cathedral

Although the foundations are Norman and a lot of the fabric is medieval, the cathedral has been extensive restored and there is a lot of George Gilbert Scott around the place

Worcester Cathedral

Just round the corner from the cathedral, there was the remains of the Royal Worcester Porcelein works, with a shop and a museum but it looks like the rest of the place is being turned into houses.

Worcester

Heading back into town, I took a Tour around the Tudor House, run by a local community group, with a series of rooms set up to illustrate the house through various ages as it was occupied by a variety of trades such as weavers, tailors and bakers. In the 1800’s, it even had a bowling alley.

Worcester Tudor House

The final visit of the day was to the town museum, which had a lot of interesting displays, including one of Worcestershire Sauce through the ages. I was disappointed there was no history of Worcester display, as I tend to like learning about the towns like that.

Worcester Museum

May 09

2015 Week Notes 16

Doing

Thames Towpath 10

  • I had a physio appointment and a fracture clinic appointment, for the consultant to take a look at my finger. She wasn’t too happy and started talking about joint replacements – in, what appeared to me at least, a slighly gleeful as was she discussed a new type of joint she could try. Next appointment made for June, so we’ll see what my progress is by then.
  • Drinks out with the team and with clients. Over some red wine, we discussed running and marathons, leading to 4 of them deciding to sign up to the Brighton marathon next year and nominating me as ‘coach’. they followed through the next day and we now have Tuesday morning running club :-)
  • Went to watch the new Avengers film. I did enjoy it, but still think the first one has the edge. Also, even though I can suspend my belief to go with superheroes with special powers, some of the silly things they did with straightforward physical rules were annoying.
  • I marshalled at my local club run, spending the morning handing out numbers and then clipping off timing chips. A good day

Reading

Just the one book read

  • What we can learn about runners from public data. It’s marathon season, it was interesting to read this analysis about runners who post information (often from apps) to public social media channels – with a focus on those who started running in Jan 2014 as their New Year change. Apparently, sales marketing and PR (that would be my profession then) is over indexing amongst runners. And keys to success (ie keeping running)? Maintaining regularity and going out on weekday mornings apparently
  • What the West can learn from Japan’s ‘lost decades’. Continuous growth is supposed to be the key to success. But a look at Japan’s economy takes the stance that not doing that is not that bad.

Running

None, absolutely none. But a pleasant few hours planning training and races for the rest of the year

May 05

2015 Week Notes 15

Marathoners at Arc de Triomphe

Doing

A marathon was done. And a very slow trip home was made. Well, Eurostar was fast, my legs weren’t. They didn’t feel too bad, so no need to walk down stair backwards!

My agency ran an event this week, field.work, lots of different views on data. I spoke on the first panel of the day, about readiness of business for the world of big data but couldn’t stay for the rest of the day with workload, but by all accounts, it was very successful and had a lot of great press, including a mention of me on Contagious. It looks like we may be running more

I had a lovely dinner with a friend at Helene Darroze at the Connaught, a lovely 2 star Michelin experience. Write up will follow. But I did love the menu, you had to take a look at the list and decide what you wanted using the game.

DSC_1155

Reading

3 books read, lots of train travel!

  • A look at why Millennials are moving away from traditional banks by the co-founder of LinkedIn Max Levchin. An interesting take, although it does not make it clear what they are after, just something different. I don’t have issues with my bank, so maybe this is just a US perspective.
  • Running

    i ran a marathon, I think that’s enough. I also did a full write up.

May 04

2015 Week Notes 14

This was a pretty quiet week.

Doing

A relatively quiet week, with a lot of work to get in to the 3 days in the office. On Thursday, I went along to a London launch party by Datasift, a company I’d watch Nik Halstead grow for years out of the early London start up scene. The party was held in canary Wharf, which had a wonderful view

Sunset over the city

It was wonderful to meat up with so many people from those days, many of whom I’d not caught up for years. I ended up going to dinner at the end of the night with Nik, Suzanna and a few others, which was a great. definitely not an early night, but didn’t need it to be as the only thing planned on the Friday was a trip to Paris.

DSC_1132

It was a smooth trip over, then I dropped the bags and made my way to the expo to pick up my number. And that was it for the Friday, apart from starting the carb load. On the Saturday, I took a trip to Notre Dame to take a wander around that cathedral to add to the list. Magnificent building. Then back to hotel again for more leg resting.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Reading

Only the 2 booked, one of the Outlander series and also the new book by Ben Aaronovitch, Foxglove Summer. The latter is one of the authors I buy the physical book instead of the digial version. And I managed to make it last 2 days :-)

Running

Nothing happening – it’s all about saving the legs

Apr 29

Marshalling at the London Marathon

London Marathon 2015

Last April I entered the Paris Marathon as my target for the year, but I still put my name down for the London ballot, just in case. I didn’t get in, but as a result of finally joining a running club I get did get an option to marshal the race. Having being very grateful to people who have marshalled the races I’ve run, I thought it was time to give something back.

London Marathon 2015

The day started early, with a group of us meeting at 7am at the Tube station to make our way to Shadwell for our briefing. West 4 Harriers have for years being part of the team that marshall on the Highway, which is from Tower Bridge mile 12.5 to Limehouse (mile 14) and the reverse route miles (21.5-23, or near enough). it’s a great piece of course as we get to see the runners twice.

London Marathon 2015

Briefing done, we spread out onto the course for 9am and then our job was waiting. Not too long, as we had a series of elite racers come by. The wheelchairs, the IPC championships, then the women elite and finally the men elite, who were followed by the trickle, stream and then flood of the masses.

London Marathon 2015

We were there for safety, to answer crowed questions and most importantly for the runners. We started off with a security role, keeping an eye out for left bags and then an eye out for anyone who may decide that jumping out in front of the elites would be a good idea. Luckily, nothing like that happened on my section, although the section along did have to call in the police after a woman had left her suitcase next to the course as she went to the toilet (there were long queues, she was gone a while).

London Marathon 2015

Later, it was all about supporting runners. On the way out, most runners were going along fine. On the way back, the effort was beginning to take its toll. Last year, with the heat, there were apparently a lot of collapses in the area that needed support. This year, I had to deal only with one person who had a very heavy fall and knocked the wind out of her. She did get up and carry on, hope she finished.

London Marathon 2015

So as it was quiet, I had the chance to take a lot of photos (you can find them all on Flickr) and chat with a BBC spotter, who was set up to spot celebrities (and great fancy dress) for the camera that was about 200 years up the road. So celebrity spotting and cheering was the rest of my day. Along with freezing as it was very cold – I ended up having to dance a lot to the music just to keep warm.

London Marathon 2015

This was the first marathon I’ve watched end to end and the difference from start to finish is huge. I think London, with its large emphasis on charity places and fundraising, may be slightly unusual on the people it attracts – it has a 7 hour cutoff time but there appeared to be a lot of people running who would not make that.

London Marathon 2015

As time went on, the stream reduced back to a trickle as the slower pens got to the 13 mile mark. The the sweepers came by, the car that told everyone that the course was closed, that they had to move to the pavement. Followed by the street cleaners, the rubbish collectors and the course demantlers. I felt for the people who were being overtaken at that point – at what point would they decide to stop if they are overtaken by course closed at 13 miles? People who had taken on the challenge but had probably not realised what that meant!

London Marathon 2015
As the runners went back the other way, the sweepers turned up again. This was at 22 miles, you’d got a mixture of people who had obviously suffered an injury or had hit the wall. it was all walking and at this point the stare of death had set in. I’ve been the, I know it. It’s one step at a time, just pushing forward to the finish, knowing about but not having the energy to acknowledge the comments. this is the point I made sure I was loud and encouraging, this is the point it is needed. 4 miles out, I would assume that everyone who was passed by the sweeper would keep going to the finish, I hope they got a medal! I aslo saw a lot of family and friends joined them at this point, just to keep the march going.

Overall, a great day, well worth it. Would I do it again next year? Only if I’m not running!

London Marathon 2015

Apr 18

2015 Week Notes 13

Head of the River Race 2015

Doing

  • After an early wake up to watch the F1, headed to the river to watch the men’s Head of the river race. The weather was a little rough and cold but the race went ahead. Caught up with friends from the Army rowing.
    Head of the River Race 2015
  • Had dinner with friend at Hawksmoor, definitely my favourite steak house. We went to the Knightsbridge branch, which I’d never been too. Raw sliced sea bass, huge steak and this ‘Ambassador’s Reception’ dessert :-). Monday’s are bring your own wine night, for just £5 corkage.
    Hawksmoor: a tribute to the Ambassador
  • Visited the parents for Easter Weekend, which had one day working, one day visiting Tatton Court up towards Manchester, a couple of meals out and all the family around for Sunday dinner. A really good weekend!
    Tatton Court

    Tatton Court

Reading
3 books read this week, the advantage of some train travel. Still working through Outlander. No articles recorded!

Running

Just the one short 5miles today, leg wrapped up. Went well.