Elaine’s 2,000 km Challenge – Day 47 Update

Elaine’s 2,000 km Challenge – Day 47 Update

An urgent job disrupted my plans for an early start and thus an early finish for today’s 40 km. Since I’d decided not to eat until I’d duly completed today’s quota of kilometres I was feeling more than a little peckish by the time I staggered to completion.

Urgent work

Sadly, I had no time to bask in the glory of completion as the urgent job rebounded for more attention after lunch. As if that wasn’t enough I had a second important task that needed to be completed by start of business tomorrow. It was starting to look like an even later late night than usual would be needed 😱

This was especially so since there was a Mass at All Saints tonight. Fr Ned had handed the reigns to a visiting priest who had managed to find the biggest chalices I had ever seen for the Eucharistic wine. I have no idea where he found them (Buckets ‘r’ Us maybe?) but boy they held a lot of wine! Not an issue except when you’re on duty and need to consume what’s left over afterwards. And I don’t drink! Let’s just say I swayed gently back to my seat afterwards!

Said alcohol consumption made for an interesting time completing the rush job required for tomorrow morning. It was duly completed the right side of midnight but I decided to leave sending it until I’d fully recovered and was sober enough for a final read through before signing it off!

1880 km done, 120 km to go.

Elaine’s 2,000 km Challenge – Day 46 Update

Elaine’s 2,000 km Challenge – Day 46 Update

Doing what I do best this morning … geeking out! This time it involved MacGyvering a cross platform solution for managing text notes. An application for the Mac called nvAlt was duly installed and configured before I realised it didn’t want to play nicely with Dropbox to synchronise with my other computers. Handily it did synchronize with the SimpleNote cloud based service. So what I hear you mentally yell? Well the big deal was that in doing that it meant said MacGyvered solution was instantly extended to synchronise with my iOS devices. So I was one happy tech bunny today!

The day took a downward turn as I contemplated that all this geekery was merely delaying the inevitable call of my bike and I could defer my duty no longer.

The 40 km was split into two 20 km sessions completed either side of a foliage heavy lunch but it was when I returned to my desk that the day’s fun really began.

My computer did not take kindly to being abandoned for the duration. When I finally returned to it I discovered it had crashed spectacularly. Whilst not responding to any cajoling I tried to placate it while it was flashing dialog boxes up across all three screens faster than I could read them and beeping alarmingly. The mouse was possessed and thus useless in calming the system down. There was nothing else for it but a forced P-RAM reset reboot … there went at least 30 minutes while I coaxed it gently towards some sense of normal behaviour.

We have lived in hope of an Apple event announcing new iMacs for the best part of 3 years, hopefully this month will see the great event finally scheduled. Note to Apple: I have money to give you … BUT … I NEED a new Mac not iOS toys or watches or the even more ludicrous AirPods. I need a genuine powerhouse of a Mac. Hopefully, Tim Cook will take notice of my plea

I also spent the day freezing, I simply can’t get warm which is most unlike me. A couple of years ago I recall spending Christmas Day with the windows blissfully wide open and welcomed the icy artic blast.

You’d think after 40 km I’d be in need of cooling down but, without getting too graphic, it’s more the case of a speedily cooling clammy t-shirt sticking to you in a most inelegant fashion … and with that image I’ll bid you farewell until tomorrow!

1840 km done, 160 km to go.

Elaine’s 2,000 km Challenge – Day 45 Update

Elaine’s 2,000 km Challenge – Day 45 Update

A good start to my day when I finished all 40 km before doing anything else!
I think my incentive to complete the bike duty was avoiding the search for a transcription solution. I thought transcription was dead given we can now speak to our tech and on a good day it understands the odd request and acquiesces to it. However, it seems there is still a need for a solution similar to that I deployed back in my first role after university. Back then it was micro-sized tapes and foot pedals and to be honest it hasn’t moved on that much! The micro-sized tapes have given way to digital recordings but amazingly foot pedals are still de rigueur for controlling those recordings while they are transcribed.
I actually managed to find two alternative applications for the transcription part of the job and testing those took the majority of the afternoon.


Uppity tech was a running theme today as WhatsApp played havoc with dinner later in the day. I know what you’re thinking; how on earth can a messaging app upset culinary plans? Personally I had a supplementary question too; why had it never happened before?
Well it all started as the vegetables and fish were loaded into the new steamer. Mike set the timer and all that was left for me to do was make the caper sauce. If you ever tried to make perfect caper sauce you’ll know just how tricky it can be. Not long enough and the butter doesn’t brown, too long and it’s an inedible charcoal infused mess. After much trial and error we have it timed to the second.
So when the timer on the steamer announced we were at the half way mark with the fish and vegetables I got the caper sauce going. As it neared completion Mike expressed some concern that the fish was still looking somewhat anaemic and the vegetables alarmingly raw. How could we have been that far out in our calculations though?
That was when we discovered that the notification sound on Mike’s phone for WhatsApp and the timer bell on the new steamer were identical! We discovered this as the steamer pinged its half way mark … as the caper sauce completed its transformation into a treacly tar-like substance serenaded dulcetly by every smoke alarm in the house!
Lesson learnt: change the notification sound on WhatsApp to something unique like the 1812 Overture or keep your tech out of the kitchen … that alternative is so NOT happening!!

1800 km done, 200 km to go.

Elaine’s 2,000 km Challenge – Day 44 Update

Elaine’s 2,000 km Challenge – Day 44 Update

Porridge! Who invented porridge? While I can just about stomach it, calling it food is a reach. The worst thing with it is the griping hunger it causes within 90 minutes of eating it. I’m sure I’m less hungry if I don’t bother eating at all. Sadly that wasn’t an option today as we were on raffle ticket selling duty again this weekend.

So all too early we were off for the second Mass of the weekend at All Saints. We debated the logical approach of assembling the gazebo prior to Mass but decided the wind was such that we could well end up running up the road after it. That meant a race against time between the end of the Eucharist and the final hymn to get it assembled, take a table outside and set up. Tight but it could be done … if the gazebo was in a compliant mood that is.

I did contemplate changing the hymn number to the longest one in the book but I think I might have been rumbled so we worked with what we had and legged it out before the parish prayer.

Well, despite one leg putting up somewhat of a fight we managed it and were a picture of calm serenity as the congregation departed. We even managed a quick tea at the Parish Centre before heading off for Mass number three of the weekend at Our Lady of Lourdes in Partington.

The gazebo put up a good fight but resistance is futile and despite its best attempts to forestall assembly it was soon up again and we were off on the second selling spree of the day.

The boys showing their colours during raffle ticket selling duty

After that we dashed back home for a quick lunch and for me a 40 km sprint of biking today’s quota.

You know what was next don’t you? Yes, Mass number 4 of the weekend back at All Saints … Flagging? Us? Never!

At 5 pm Mass selling raffle tickets takes more cunning preparation since there are no hymns. This is an issue when you have a gazebo to erect in record time! We elected to take leave of our pew before Eucharist time and as the gazebo had given up any form of resistance by this stage we were ready in good time.

I’m happy to report the gazebo finished the weekend with all its legs attached but I’m not so sure we did! We fell unconscious at a ludicrously early hour and realized that should we ever be in need of inspiration to sleep in the future counting raffle tickets instead of sheep is a seriously viable option!

1760 km done, 240 km to go.

Elaine’s 2,000 km Challenge – Day 43 Update

Elaine’s 2,000 km Challenge – Day 43 Update

Today was an early start at MacBites HQ. Mike headed off to a local cross country running tournament, never fear though as you’ll doubtless be pleased to hear he wasn’t participating but merely stewarding. In even better news I wasn’t participating either, nor was I stewarding!

I had my very own date with today’s 40 km. So while Mike socialised the morning away I completed today’s quota to the music of my choice having beaten Spotify into submission earlier in the week. I elected a leisurely 50/50 approach and broke the 40 km into two 20 km sessions meaning I actually managed to stop for breath in the middle … luxury 😂

Once I’d recovered myself, and Mike had returned, we prepared for our next job of the day. Raffle tickets at Mass 1 of the weekend at St Margaret Ward!

Raffle ticking selling in the rain!

It seems every time we set foot outside the house it rains and today was no exception.

While assembling a gazebo in the midst of a barmy sunny day might be considered effortless I can assure you attempting the same in the middle of rain soaked howling gale in March is anything but! Luckily we have had the gazebo up so frequently in the last few weeks we have developed a proven technique. Unfortunately, said proven technique proved futile when Mike managed to detach one of the legs from the rest of it. While it might have been possible to continue and deal with the errant leg later this wasn’t an option once I managed to detach a second leg from the other side only moments later! It may have stood on three legs but I doubt it would have been so obliging with only two! Quick triage was needed, and given we could hear the final hymn emanating from the church, the quicker the better.

I now know more about the inner working of gazebo architecture than I ever expected but at least the gazebo is back up to a full quota of legs!

With only seconds to spare it was done. While we were soaked wet through at least the prized MUFC shirt and presentation box were nice and dry. That only left the actual selling of the raffle tickets to be done. Once again people were incredibly generous although I never realized we had so many City supporters in our parishes. Let’s just say I have been apprised of several suggestions for what they’ll do with the shirt should they win. Don’t tell Fr Ned but the most popular suggestion was to keep it for his Christmas present! (For the uninitiated Fr Ned is a huge blue 😂)

1720 km done, 280 km to go.