posted in: Personal, The Weekly Blog, Travel | 7

Hello and happy weekend! How are you faring this cold and windy Sunday? Have you been hit hard by Storm Arwen? Been out in some snow? Or has your geographical location protected you from it all? Whatever the weather is throwing at you at the moment, I hope you are well, happy, and can find some time to get outside (safely) today.

I’m a little behind on my weekly blogs thanks to a super busy time at work. Two weeks of running large events in my day-job means I’ve not had time for anything else recently, but such is life sometimes. So, I’ve decided you’re going to get weekly blogs 90 and 91 in quick succession… or that is the plan.

Splodz Blogz | Weekly Blog Episode 90
Cleeve Hill as the sun rose this morning.

In this episode – Weekly Blog Episode 90 – I’m heading back to earlier in the month when I celebrated my birthday (happy birthday to me!). And then I’ll bring you more up to date in Episode 91 in a day or two.

Celebrating 41 Years

I still don’t do well with birthdays. There is something about marking the passing years that I struggle with. It makes me feel very mortal!

We celebrated my birthday with good food and long walks when we were in London the previous weekend (read Weekly Blog Episode 89 for more on that). And so, on the big day itself, we ate Shepherd’s Pie from the freezer made by past-Zoe while watching Black Widow on Disney+. It was a lovely way to spend any Friday evening, and I was very happy spending my birthday that way.

I am once again feeling very blessed to have some amazing family and friends, and am humbled that they remembered me by sending treats my way.


An End to the iPad Experiment

After thinking about it for the longest time (I wrote about my laptop experiment back in Weekly Blog Episode 84), my husband surprised me with a MacBook Air, on which I’m writing this Weekly Blog now. It’s lovely, it’s quick, it’s light enough to travel with when the opportunity presents itself, and I’m very happy to have it. I’m still getting used to it, of course; I’ve not been a Mac user for many years now, and so I’ve got some catching up and re-learning to do.

I spent that weekend getting it set up as I want it, with my chosen software and such installed, and I’ve been using it for all my computer-based tasks since then. I love the keyboard, it’s so nice to type on, and I’m getting there with the Mac shortcut keys and quirks. There are things that I’ve not worked out yet, such as how to add shortcuts or favourite folders to Finder so I don’t have to navigate deep into OneDrive to find things. But the list of things like that I need to learn is getting shorter. Have you got any Mac hints and tips I should know? Great resources I should look at? Let me know.

I also received a really nice wireless mouse, a gift from my mother-in-law. It’s one of the Microsoft Modern Mobile range, a low profile, slim Bluetooth mouse in mint green. It’s very nice indeed to use, very responsive, nice to hold, and because of the design, easy to carry around with my MacBook.

I also received an adapter thingamajig, so I can plug in USB-A, HDMI and SD cards into my laptop… MacBooks are beautifully slim and clean in design, but they only have a couple of USB-C sockets and so that adapter is very much needed.

With that, my iPad Experiment (Weekly Blog Episode 84) has ended. Normally I would sell on a device once I’ve upgraded. But on this occasion my iPad is so old and slow that it’s worth nothing and no-one would want it, so I’m keeping it for YouTube watching in the bath and the like. When Apple decide it’s no longer supported (it’s the iPad Air 2, so it won’t be long), I’ll recycle it.


Keeping Clean

Both I and my outdoor gear will be very clean thanks to some other gifts I received this year. Never underestimate the joy of receiving things that smell nice or make other things smell nice!

My parents sent me (along with a voucher for Cotswold Outdoor which I intend to put towards some new walking shoes in the New Year) a goody bag full of Nikwax products. It’s this Nikwax Dry Bag Bundle, which came complete with a bunch of their cleaning products, a shoe brush, and a blue heavy duty dry bag. You know it will all be well used! This set really would make a great gift for the outdoor lover in your life, and has reminded me I haven’t written my annual outdoorsy gift guide yet (my Gift Idea Starters for Outdoor Lovers post from last year is still valid if you need some ideas?).

With clean gear, that just leaves me… and I am very grateful to my sister for sending me a box of Lush goodies! Oh the sweet smelling joy of bubble bars and bath bombs! I genuinely love nothing more than a soak in a colourful soapy bath after a hike, or even just a long day at work. There’s a right mix of soapy treats in the box, along with my favourite shampoo bar, too. It’ll keep me going for a little while.

Thoughtful Parcels

The thing about birthdays I like the best, both when thinking about other people’s and my own, is how you can make someone smile inside with something small and thoughtful. This year, a bunch of my friends did just this for me, each in their own way, sending me smile-inducing parcels that really did make me swell with internal happiness.

There were fluffy socks with an important under-foot message, a very relevant book on women in adventure, a little (very soft and huggable) hot water bottle for cold camps, a box of most excellent chocolates, and a citrussy scented candle that’s already had some burn time in my home office. These things are all “me” in different ways, and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, so thank you to the wonderful people in my life who sent them. No doubt they’ll all feature in a future Currently Loving post, so watch this space for that!

Of course, birthdays are not all about material things, but rather what the afore mentioned gifts represent – love. Thank you to everyone who sent gifts, cards, messages, or simply took the time to ask me how I was doing around the time of my birthday. It means a great deal to be surrounded by people who care about me.


A Bent Side Stand

Okay, back to normal non-birthday ramblings… and the fact that I had my motorcycle MOT a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know what it is about MOT time, but it always fills me with a little bit of dread, even when I know the machine being tested is in perfect working order. Do you get that feeling?! It passed without any issues, no problems there. Thankfully.

What I already knew though, is that I have a bent side stand. My bike leans over much more than it did previously. Something I was gifted courtesy of some over tightened ratchet straps on the journey home from Iceland back at the start of September.

The dealer reassured me that the stand is still working fine, appears structurally sound, and is not a problem to either the MOT or me riding my bike. Unfortunately, at the same time they couldn’t offer me any advice on how to make it right again. We just can’t work out how it’s wrong… Other than the bike leaning over to far, which is clear, we don’t really know where and how it’s bent in order to fix it. The stops are in place, there is no obvious misalignment, and there is nothing missing.

The only thing for it, is to find a replacement stand. If you happen to have an original F650GS stand for the 2008 factory lowered model, then do let me know. If not, I’ll be hitting up eBay in the coming weeks to find one. Wish me luck!

Splodz Blogz | F650GS and a Rainbow in Iceland's Westfjords
A rainy day in Iceland.

Risking Morocco

Have you planned any travel for 2022 yet? I guess I now have a deadline to get that side stand sorted, and that’s because the other thing we did around my birthday this year was book our next motorcycle overland adventure.

After having such a great time with Globebusters in Iceland this summer (which I promise I will write about very soon… honest), we have bitten the proverbial bullet and booked another tour with them for 2022. This time we’re going to Morocco.

It’s a bit of a risk given the situation with Covid, which has clearly gotten a lot less clear this weekend, as well as the political issues around the ferries between Spain and Morocco, which haven’t run for quite some time now. But after Globebusters looked after us so well with all the uncertainty around travel Iceland, we felt it was worth booking now and seeing how things unfold. We trust Kevin and Julia and their planning, and will see what happens between now and April.

Unlike Iceland, which involved sea freighting our bikes and flying to meet them, this trip is a ride-from-home affair. We’ll meet Globebusters in Portsmouth for three weeks (yes, three whole weeks), first riding through Spain for heading over to Morocco to ride through some world-famous scenery.

Not only will I get to re-ride some of my favourite roads in Spain (see you soon, Ronda!), but I’ll also get to ride in the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara Desert, and a heap of other amazing places in North Africa. I hope you’ll keep everything crossed that the pandemic and politics allow the trip to take place. I will try not to go on about it too much between now and then!

I think I’ll leave Weekly Blog Episode 90 there, and will pick up with some other updates in Episode 91 in a day or two. Watch this space…

This week I want to know… What did you get for your most recent birthday?

And don’t forget to get your One Hour Outside today… whatever day you happen to be reading this on!

Splodz Blogz | Weekly Blog Episode 90

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7 Responses

  1. Laura Wright

    I switched from Windows to Mac a couple of years ago and to be honest i’m still getting used to it (especially using Windows at work still! Oh the minefield of switching between keyboard shortcuts on a daily basis!!!) Top Mac tip from me is to use the coloured tags for your much favoured files and folders (and add shortcuts to them to the left hand menu thingy). I often loose stuff in amongst the odd Mac filing system but I use red “important” tags, and green “useful” tags for all the stuff I want close to hand, no matter where they actually sit in the “filing system”!

    • Splodz

      Yes I’ll be the same with using Windows for work, I hope it’s not too confusing for my poor brain!
      Oh is that what the coloured dots are for in finder? Okay – great tip – I’ll definitely do that. Thanks 🙂

      • Laura Wright

        Haha, yes even cutting and pasting takes a bit of brain power sometimes now! Yup, that’s the coloured dots in finder, you can somehow even rename them for you own purposes. Enjoy your new toy 🙂

  2. Roddie Grant

    My birthday is just a few days before yours but I wish it was just for 41 years!

    I’ve been using Macs since the mid 80s (which is not far short of 41 years – Horror!). If you have any questions let me know and I’ll try to answer. When I have to use Windows I find it so frustrating 😉

    • Splodz

      Ah happy birthday for earlier in the month. And of course we both know that age is just a number…
      I think it’s just what you’re used to with Mac vs Windows, isn’t it? I’m hoping I’ll get the hang of it very soon!

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