Juneathon Day 24: the one with some technical hydrological conundrums

Good morning. When this blog is published, weather permitting I’ll be working from the Reading office. I’ve got a CIWEM meeting this evening in the Reading office, so I decided to spend the day working with some of my hydrology colleagues. If I get stuck in Reading for whatever reason, Wallingford is only a short bus journey away 😉

So, how did Day 24 – I’m so pleased that the end is in sight – of Juneathon go? Did I have a productive day in the office? Did I find somewhere to sit? Did my new travel pass work? Did the trains behave?

I’m not sure if I went to bed too early, but I woke well before my alarm. I’ve no idea what woke me up, but I struggled to get back to sleep. I think I was in autopilot during the walk to the train station and journey into Birmingham New Street. I got to the barriers and was relieved when my swift card – Birmingham’s answer to an Oyster card – let me through. The train to Solihull was running on time and I reached the office an hour after leaving my local train station.

The morning was quite technically demanding. I spent an hour working my way through some rather vague setting up work phone instructions. Only I could end up with a work phone exactly the same colour and model as my personal phone. I’m pretty much guaranteed to get the two mixed up. I also did my best to answer some quite technical hydrology conundrums. I have a feeling this new job may be slightly too technical for me, I’ll have to see how I get on.

Shortly after midday, I headed down to the canteen and grabbed myself a sandwich. As I didn’t recognise anyone I decided to do something that would have been frowned upon in my old office; I ate my lunch at my desk. I made sure that I had a break from work and spent some time catching up on the news and cricket.

The great thing about getting in so early is that after lunch it feels like it’s more or less time to head home.

I got home after a slightly warmer than anticipated walk, made myself a cup of tea, turned on my computer and finished packing my FleaBay sales. I made sure that I walked to the Post Office before I sat down and chilled out. Parcels dropped off, I grabbed myself something to eat from Local Sainsbob’s. I got home and had a quick nap.

Nap complete, I cooked and ate the potato skins I’d bought in Sainsbob’s. Not the healthiest of meal options, but slightly better than another takeaway, watched Casualty and remembered to do the washing up #adultingwin

By the time I’d tracked down some references to add to my will-it-ever-be-finished manuscript and written this masterpiece, it was time for a shower and then bed. I can’t help but think I should be doing more with my evenings. Perhaps I should ban weekday TV or something?

Random Photos from Day 24

I didn’t take any photos #bloggingfail so here’s a sneak preview of some of the content in my next rants and raves post.



Can you tell I’ve already had enough of hot desking!

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 24

This tweet made me instantly want an ice lolly. I clearly need to work on the balance between quality food and treats.

At the moment I’ve nailed the treats. Perhaps I should do a ‘What Emma eats in a day’ blog.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 19.07 km


Juneathon Day 23: the one with some peace and quiet

Good morning and happy Monday! I hope that everyone who reads this had a great weekend. I can’t believe it’s Monday morning again. The weekend seemed to fly by, let’s hope that Monday does too.

So, what did I get up to yesterday? Did I have a productive day? Did I manage to make protein banana bread? Did I spent far too much time staring at a computer screen?

My Sunday started with me sleeping through my alarm. Impressive considering I sleep right next to my phone, the excitement of Saturday clearly wore me out #grannyEmma

I had what can only be described as a quiet Sunday morning. I remembered to wash my bed sheets and put them out to dry before it rained. While the washing machine was doing its thing – I have so much appreciation for whoever invented washing machines – I worked my way through a basket of ironing. Getting these two rather tedious chores ‘ticked off’ meant that I could spend the rest of the morning doing what I wanted. I was minutes away from heading out for a walk when the heavens opened.

My Sunday afternoon could be described as boring but productive. I spent a couple of hours working my way through some of the manuscript corrections I’d been sent earlier in the week. Once I’d reached the stage I could no longer concentrate and my brain had stopped working, I did some research and drafted out a couple of guest blog posts. Have you ever deleted a blog post? I always write my posts in Word and then copy and paste them into WordPress. Yesterday, I somehow deleted a more or less complete post. So frustrating!

My evening was equally as unexciting. I watched the first half of the England v Cameroon match but switched over when Andy Murray’s doubles match started. I packaged up some FleaBay sales and relisted all the items that didn’t sell. I packed my bag for work, made myself dinner, wrote this epic blogging masterpiece and then spent an hour catching up on Holby City.

I didn’t manage to protein banana bread; I was missing a vital ingredient, eggs!

 I hope that everyone else had a more exciting Sunday.

Random photo from Day 23

I spotted this gem of a photo on Farcebook on Sunday morning. The new apricot parkrun t-shirts are definitely brighter than I’d realised.

I've no idea

I’ve no idea what I was doing or why I look so confused, but I’m hoping that the second photographer didn’t capture any more action shots.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 23

I love Andy Murray so this made my Sunday.

I’ve no idea how Lopez was standing up at the end.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 19.07 km

A rather random question but what do you think of the updated parkrun website? I’ve seen mixed reviews. At least the map now appears to work.

 If you had the option of watching either women’s football or Andy Murray play tennis, what would choose?  I obviously went with the Murray match but it sounds like the slightly controversial women’s football match was a more popular choice.

Juneathon Day 22: the one with a spot of parkrun volunteering and Hidden Heights tour

I’m writing this while suffering from a spot of DOMS. I’m not sure of the cause; it could have been running past some cows at a slightly ambitious pace, it could have been walking up a lot of stairs. I must remember to keep moving today.

So, what did I get up to yesterday? My Saturday started with an attempt at running (with walk breaks) to the start of Sutton Park parkrun. I’d volunteered to marshal so had to be at the start by 08:30. After a slightly warmer than I’m used to run, I reached the start with plenty of time to spare. Does anyone else always overestimate how much time they need to get somewhere?

I was positioned at the first marshalling spot. This was great as I got to walk back to the finish once everyone had come past me. I spent a good hour at the finish congratulating runners and generally trying to support people as they finished. Sutton Park parkrun is challenging and I know I appreciated the support when I finished. I somehow found myself volunteering for finish tokens next Saturday and time keeping *gulp* the following Saturday.

I rewarded myself with an ice cream on my walk back home.

I got home, drank a couple of pints of water in an attempt to rehydrate myself, and then headed to bed for a quick nap.

I woke up at 13:45 feeling totally disorientated. Like where on earth was i!? I just about had time for a quick shower and something to eat before I caught a train into Lichfield. I made the start of the Lichfield Cathedral Hidden Heights tour I’d booked with 10 minutes to spare.

The Hidden Heights tour was amazing and well worth the £8 I paid. I was the only person not carrying a professional-looking camera and felt a little out of place with my iPhone. We got to explore parts of Lichfield Cathedral that are generally closed off to the public. The views across Lichfield were amazing; my photos don’t do it justice. The tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable, and I ended the tour knowing a lot more about the history of the Cathedral and of Lichfield.

I’m definitely going to keep a look out for similar tours. Now that I’m back in Four Oaks, I want to get to know more about my home city. I mean I haven’t even stepped inside the Library of Birmingham. Apparently the views from the top are amazing.

What was left of Saturday was more chilled out. I got back from Lichfield and found myself trying to follow the tennis and cricket at the same time. Not easy. I made myself something to eat, updated my ‘things to do list’ and headed to bed at a sensible time.

I must have needed the sleep as I didn’t wake up until 08:00. I feel a lot better now.

Random photos from Day 22

These aren’t very random…the first few photos were taken on the way to and before the start of yesterdays parkrun.

The rest of the photos were taken during the Lichfield Cathedral Hidden Heights tour. I enjoyed the tour so much I’ve just booked a place on a hidden library tour.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 22

I’m going to have a go at making some protein banana bread later.

I’m no Delia Smith so my attempts may well end in disaster and possibly food poisoning.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 19.07 km

Have you ever handed out tokens at parkrun? If anyone has any hints and tips please share them. I’ve got visions of tokens getting dropped.

If you could visit one place that is usually closed to the general public, where would you go? This is going to sound a bit random, but I’d love to spend a few hours inside the signal box at Birmingham New Street station. I’ve heard rumours that long distance trains get priority over local services, I’d love to know if this is true.

Juneathon Day 21: the one with productive working from home and disappointing cricket performance

Good morning and happy Saturday. When this masterpiece of blogging waffle is published, I’ll hopefully be walking through Sutton Park after a spot of parkrun volunteering. I hope the rain stays away.

So, what did I get up to on Day 21 of Juneathon? Did I get a lot of work done? Did I manage to make a start on my manuscript corrections? Did I procrastinate? Did I run?

The day got off to an earlier start than planned. After a couple of weeks of early starts, I now seem to automatically wake up at 05:30. At least the sun was shining. I stuck on my eye mask and managed to sleep for a couple more hours.

Once I remembered how to access the office remotely, I spent the morning working through some of the hydrology assessments I didn’t have time to complete when I worked in Wallingford. I also got three loads of washing done and put outside to dry. I enjoyed working away from the office and managed to complete a few tasks on my things to do list.

Just after midday, mum collected me and we headed to the Chase Farm cafe for lunch. After spending a lot of time not being able to make a simple decision, I decided to order the potato skins I spotted on the Specials Board. When the ‘potato skins’ arrived I was a little disappointed; if I’d wanted a jacket potato cut in half I would have ordered one. Enough moaning, this isn’t one of my rants and raves blogs!

I got home, switched my work laptop back on and spent a couple more hours working.

Work completed for the week, I immediately went into weekend mode. I watched England lose to Sri Lanka in a cricket match they probably would have been expected to win. I did a spot of housework – why do houses generate dust? – and completed a review post. An email from parkrun reminded me that I’d volunteered to marshal, so I laid out some running gear ready for the morning.

My Friday evening was so dull I won’t bore you all to tears with the details. My clubbing and partying days feel like a lifetime ago.

Random photos from Day 21

I took a photo of my slightly disappointing ‘potato skins’ and tried and failed to take a couple of arty shots. 

I don’t think my photography skills are getting any better. Is there such a thing as an iPhone photography course?

Best thing spotted on the Internet

I cannot get my head around this event!

Just reading the article made my fragile right knee and dodgy left foot twinge.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 16.5 km

Do you wake up automatically or does your body clock let you have a lie in at the weekend? I’d love to be able to switch off my internal alarm clock.

Did you manage to squeeze in a parkrun this morning? If you didn’t, are you racing this weekend?

Juneathon Day 20: the one with a return trip to Exeter

Good morning and Happy Friday. I’m working from home today which is awesome because I was able to have a bit of a lie in. I also needed a break from trains.

This will be quite short as I’m writing it after spending seven hours on trains. I’ve never worked out why I find sitting on trains so tiring but I’m feeling shattered. Only getting four hours sleep last night wasn’t ideal.

Day 20 of Juneathon didn’t get off to the best of starts when I tried and failed to withdraw some money from a cash point. Slightly worrying on payday. After what felt like a long train journey involving a manspreader and ‘Bob’, I reached Exeter just after 09:00. I knew I needed money to pay for a taxi to the office, so I tracked down what appeared to be the only cash point outside the station. I had a mild panic when I discovered it was out of order. Fortunately, I found a taxi driver who was willing to take me to a cash point en route to the office.  Problem solved.

I got to the office, tracked down the right floor and department, and had a productive few hours meeting some of the colleagues I’ll be working with and finding out more about my new role. Although I don’t think I’ll be able to head down to Exeter on a regular basis, it was definitely worth the early start and lengthy train journey.

And then after not actually getting to see much of Exeter, I had to head back up to Birmingham.

The train was pretty much empty until it reached Bristol Parkway, and then I found myself squashed in the corner by a manspreader.  The manspreader got off at Cheltenham and was replaced with a slightly entertaining (not in a good way) man who I’ll call Bob. Bob spent the whole of the journey between Cheltenham and Birmingham New Street wedging me into the corner. I’ve never felt so trapped and claustrophobic, it wasn’t great. Bob also seemed to be wearing Eau de Mothballs. I was very pleased when we arrived at Birmingham New Street.

When I got home I headed straight into to kitchen. I had completely missed lunch and was getting hangry. I watched a bit of news – always so gloomy – and then watched the return of Andy Murray.

He was amazing.

Random Photos from Day 20

Most people would have taken a few photos in Exeter; unfortunately the cashpoint saga meant that I completely forgot.I can’t even remember why I took the first two photos, possibly because it wasn’t raining. 

I am looking forward to the day I can stop travelling on Cross – limited leg room – Country trains.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 20

I’ll just leave this video of Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins here.

Julia is 103; I’ve now stopped worrying that I’m too old to get my running back on track.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 16.5 km

Juneathon Day 19: the one with a lot of emails and an afternoon nap

When this blog is published I’ll hopefully have made it to the Exeter office. If I’m still on a train when this goes live I have a problem as my meeting started at 10:00.

So, what did I get up to on Day 19 of Juneathon? Did I avoid the rain? Did I have any train related issues? Did I run? Did I have an afternoon nap?

The morning got off to a slightly wet start. I’ve reached the conclusion that the weather is taunting me; the second I stepped out the door it started to rain, again. I was doing a great impression of a drowned rat when I reached the local train station. I experimented with the 06:20 train. This train was surprisingly busy but meant that I didn’t have to rush between Birmingham New Street and Moor Street. It also meant I had a bit of time to take some photos of Birmingham Moor Street station.

Work was okay. I spent most of the morning deleting over 1000 emails relating to my old job. Seeing an email reminder about ‘Beer and Bants’ made me feel quite gloomy. For the first time since moving offices I wished I was back in Wallingford. People in my new office don’t seem to have lunch as a team; I’ve already got back into the bad habit of eating lunch at my desk.

I was ready to leave at 15:30 and back home just over an hour later.

I got home and headed straight to bed for a nap. A waste of the late afternoon, but I felt mentally and physically exhausted. I woke up an hour later feeling like a new person, prepared and cooked myself a reasonably healthy meal and did some work on my paper corrections. I had a shower, got my ‘stuff’ ready for my trip down to Exeter and then went to bed at sensible time.

It’s just a shame I struggled to get to sleep.

Random Photos from Day 19

The first three photos were taken inside Birmingham Moor Street station…

…the final photo was taken on a virtually empty train; I miss London so much I was tempted to stay on the train.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 19

Ok, so isn’t free to view but after watching Skid Row Marathon last summer, I’ll be dusting off my credit card.

If you haven’t already watched Skid Row Marathon I can 100% recommend watching it.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 16.5 km

Juneathon Day 18: the one with some PhD admin and more rain

More observant people may have noticed I’ve updated my blog header.  My long term aim – knowing me this will be in 2020 – is to go self-hosted and to get myself a slightly more presentable theme. I was just about to use the blog migration service offered by Pipdig when it all got a bit heated online. I’ve said it before, but sometimes being lazy does have advantages.  I’m writing the first part of this Juneathon update on a delayed train at Birmingham New Street. I’m not complaining because the slight delay meant that I was able to get on an earlier train; fingers crossed it moves soon.


It’s taking me longer than I’d like to adapt to getting out of bed at 05:30. I still need to refine my morning routine as I found myself faffing quite a lot this morning. I just don’t seem to be able to function when I first get out of bed. Hopefully practice will make perfect. Despite my grumbles, I think getting in early is the way forward as it means that I can leave the office at 15:30 and miss both the morning and evening rush hours.

Work was what I’d describe as busy but in a positive way. I remembered to book train tickets for my day trip down to the Exeter office on Thursday. My wireless mouse and laptop bag arrived, it’s just a shame my work phone appears to have gone AWOL. Someone apparently signed for it last Wednesday. The only parcel that arrived for me last Wednesday was an encrypted USB stick. I’m sure the phone will make an appearance at some stage.

In between phone calls, reading through an application form for an ex-colleague in Wallingford and training sessions, I tried to respond to the emails I received about a paper which will hopefully be appearing in a special issue of the academic journal my late PhD supervisor founded. It’s great that the paper is finally progressing but the timing is a little unfortunate.

Phew, the train has finally made it to Four Oaks, I can escape the sound of a toddler having a tantrum.

My plan to have a productive evening didn’t quite work out. I spent a few minutes researching running groups in Birmingham and was reminded about the existence of GoodGym. I walked the short distance to the Post Office and got soaked. My waterproof jacket clearly wasn’t very waterproof. I got back from the Post Office and watched the final few overs of the England v Afghanistan cricket match. Once I sat down and relaxed it was game over; one minute I had plenty of time to run, the next I’d had a nap which lasted a little longer than planned and it was almost time for bed. I was also hungry and knew that I had to eat.

Random photos from Day 18

I wanted to take some photos outside Birmingham New Street but didn’t feel completely safe getting my phone out. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 18

I love Susie Dent’s ‘word of the day’ tweets.

I’m going to see if I can incorporate cockalorum into my next team meeting.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 16.5 km