So recently I ended up involved with a project where we were looking to build a drone of some kind, the people involved were smart and watching one of the quadcopters being flown using first person view (FPV) goggles got me really interested…

…and now here I am trying to learn to fly my quadcopter.

The building side of it was relatively easy, and I’ve already got some thoughts on how to improve the current drone. Firstly by cutting out a load of wiring from the battery to the ESC loom I used, and also adding in some tail LEDs, the latter will hopefully make it easier to keep track of orientation when I’m flying it without using the goggles.

Now it’s a case of practicing the flying and always ensuring I have a stash of spare (balanced) props.

France 2015

So a while back I had the “great” idea that it would be nice to take the girls down to France for a few days holiday during the summer on my own, no backup for the journey!  It would great to spend some time with Grandpa, Jane and Amelie, and in the course of the travelling between us we would record a few firsts:

  • First time I had spent more than a day (where a day is probably about 6 hours TBH) with any of the kids on my own.
  • First time either of the girls had been on a plane.
  • First time I’d used the hold luggage on a Ryanair flight, would it turn up?

In the end it all worked out pretty well, the first couple of days the weather wasn’t so great but that gave me a chance to upgrade the computer with a new hard drive, max out the RAM and install Windows 7 (old build was XP!) without taking time out of the good weather.  Gradually the weather cleared up and normal service was resumed with time spend in and around the pool and generally take it easy.

We all had a great time and I have to say it was actually surprisingly relaxing, the girls loved their time in the pool and enjoyed playing with Amelie.  I enjoyed spending time at Les Grand Coudrais (as ever) the girls behaved really well, and tried all sorts of food you would never get them to eat at home.

To be honest I should also write more here about it all, but to do that I should’ve probably written it on the way home, or just after getting back – I meant to ;-) (no really I did)

I’m very jealous of the lovely part of France that Dad, Jane and Amelie have made their home and if you’re looking for a great place to stay not too far away then I certainly recommend it, but if you want to go in summer 2016 you better book it quickly!


So having helped SBrick on Kickstarter I thought it was probably a good idea / excuse to pick up a powered Lego kit, so a quick hunt around Amazon turned up the 42030.  A model of the Volvo L350F Wheel Loader.

So it took a few session and quite a few hours to build, certainly longer than the Camper Van I built last year, and for the first time ever there were two missing pieces, nothing vital but an annoyance none the less.  Quickly hitting the Lego website got me to the replacement parts service.  Amazing, enter the relevant details and pieces arrived free of charge within a week.

Anyway, the model is now complete as can be seen in the pictures and has been used a couple of times to tidy up tipped out Lego, the next step is to add in the SBrick and also a couple of lights that I have…. (then the key decision is what to build next)


Have had to recently update my bio for a pitch document, clearly I’m getting better at this sort of thing (until the grammar police catch up with me) as this was my first attempt to make a more relevant, high level summary of my professional life.  I’d hire this guy, would you?

“David has worked with internet related technologies for over 15 years, from small CGI scripts for the BBC to the worlds first package collection service with TNT.  David has worked with various programming languages and database technologies to enable small and large organisations use the internet for business.  Projects have included working with TNT, Acer, Sky, Unilever, GSK, British Airways, Colgate Palmolive, BAT.  Technologies have included PHP, Python, JavaScript, MySQL, Postgres, MongoDB, various Cloud service providers and use of API based services including YouTube, Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook as well as building mobile applications using PhoneGap.”

2014 by the (lack of) training numbers.

So 2014 wasn’t the best of year for training (following on from a fairly lack lustre 2013 if I’m honest) so how did I do – let’s look at the numbers.

Swim Bike Run
Count 2 1 41
Distance 0.8 km 28.68 km 274.44 km
Time 00:25:00 (h:m:s) 02:16:50 (h:m:s) 36:30:35 (h:m:s)
Elevation Gain 146 m 1,859 m
Avg Speed 1.9 km/h 12.6 km/h 7.5 km/h
Avg Cadence 58 rpm 150 spm
Calories 1,016 25,352
Swim Bike Run
Count 33 11 60
Distance 48.88 km 428.75 km 368.57 km
Time 20:25:21 (h:m:s) 23:28:15 (h:m:s) 37:39:18 (h:m:s)
Elevation Gain 3,022 m 9,903 m
Avg Speed 2.4 km/h 18.3 km/h 9.8 km/h
Avg Cadence 71 rpm 162 spm
Calories 5,019 15,332 30,600
Swim Bike Run
Count 9 14 40
Distance 7.63 km 277.51 km 259.31 km
Time 3:39:37 (h:m:s) 11:33:00 (h:m:s) 28:40:39 (h:m:s)
Elevation Gain 1,393 m 2,131 m
Avg Speed 2.3 km/h 24.0 km/h 9.0 km/h
Avg Cadence 78 rpm 160 spm
Calories 1,776 8,386 22,499
Swim Bike Run
Count 1 83 55
Distance 1500 m 445.97 km 229.58 km
Time 0:37:35 (h:m:s) 27:17:04 (h:m:s) 28:17:46 (h:m:s)
Elevation Gain 2,015m 1,305 m
Avg Speed 2.6 km/h 16.3 km/h 8.1 km/h
Avg Cadence 75 rpm 158 spm
Calories 412 5,020 2,1374

Ok so stupidly I’ve included 2012, when I was “training” for the Escape from Alcatraz just to really show how badly I’m doing, 2013 was a bit of a surprise, it doesn’t feel like I’ve trained since June 2012 when I crossed the finish line in San Francisco, but clearly I did a few bits and pieces.

So 2014 – the cycling is a line as it covers a lot of commuting on a Boris Bike, perhaps not the best training, but better than nothing and certainly better than the underground, and I would imagine the average cost of my gym visits was in the region of £50 a visit! (if not more)

And on to 2015, well I start the new year working from home for a few months which should give me some training time, been to the gym once already, which is a positive start, in fact since finishing work I’ve done 3 gym sessions, which is probably more than the last 6 months.

Target weight is considerably lower than the 92.1 Kg I was this morning, ideally back under 80 Kg but that will require a major effort. So I’ve sort of set my major goals, now to work out the smaller goals that get me there

Marlow Santa Fun Run

Sunday morning was time for the annual Marlow Santa Fun Run, except this year as well as the logistical challenge of doing the run with three kids (Iona and on scooters, Hamish in a buggy) there was the additional logistical challenge of a Party we needed to get Iona to.  The party of course happened to be at a cinema so arriving fashionably late wouldn’t be the done thing.

We managed to get a free parking space at the Marlow Sports Club which was handy and do a fast trot over to the park where the race started just as we were rounding the corner, having managed to get everything in order on the way to the park we were good to go, the mission was simple, I would run with Iona and go as fast as we could, once finished I would then get her to the party, Octavia would run with the buggy (and Hamish) and Nell on her scooter.  Getting to the race slightly later we pushed through the crowd watching and with a shout over my shoulder of ‘good luck’ Iona and I joined the steady stream of Santa’s running past (just 2000 all dressed up)

Iona was on a mission, knowing there was a party to get to she set a fast speed, whilst pushing the noisiest scooter in the world to record pace we based out the first couple of kilometres in 5 min 30 second pace, yep I was at max HR the whole way round (more junk miles)  We had some great shouts of encouragement as we went around the course, my favourite being “Keep up dad!” as Iona led the way round with a big grin on her face.  In spite of swiping my beard and wearing my Santa hat Iona was recognised by a few people which was nice.  Counting off the kilometres was good fun and there were a couple of times where I had to ask Iona to slow down as the pace she was setting was blistering.  We stopped for a couple of minutes at the water station to give me a chance to catch my breath, and allow my pace maker a chance to drink some water without wearing it, and then we were off again, heading back to Higginson Park.

The only time Iona slowed down aside from the water stop was when she spotted a Santa being sick by the side of the road, amazing how kids can always spot things like!  As we entered the park and the final 200 meters Iona pulled ahead by 5 seconds, enough of a lead when she crossed the line that she’s been saying ever since that see beat, which I guess she did.  Having completed the warm up race, it was time for the race to the party, and here it was that Iona finally slowed down as I carried the scooter back to the car.  In the process of heading to the cinema we of course got stuck behind every Sunday driver in the area, but thankfully made it in time for Iona to join her friends.  Now I just head back to Marlow to pick up the rest of the family ;-)

Marlow Santa Fun Run Hearth Rate chart.
Marlow Santa Fun Run Hearth Rate chart.

Oh and my time? 29 minutes 48 seconds, Iona of course was 29 minutes 43 seconds ;-)  According to the GPS the course was 5.25km and we both stopped at the water station, so a pretty pleasing time, even if the effort felt like it might kill me!!