Had an appointment this morning to check on my knee. I was taken back to my childhood, when I practically glowed in the dark from all the x-rays I had taken. Back then I would turn up for my appointment at 2pm (the same as everyone else – the doctor’s time was more valuable than ours, so have a stock of us waiting meant not having to bother with any of that Poisson nonsense), wait for half an hour or so to see the doctor, who would barely look at me before sending me for an x-ray (more waiting), before I returned to wait again for the real exam. This time I arrived and they sent me off for an x-ray straight away, speeding up the whole undertaking.

But that only goes so far. I’m a huge supporter of the NHS, but one of the things it doesn’t do well (or does exceptionally well, depending on how you look at it) is spinning out appointments. I’m going for an MRI, and the process is so speedy that they’ll let me know by mail when it will be (probably 6 weeks). In the meantime, here’s a picture of what my kneecap looks like:


The doc thinks that there’s inflammation behind the kneecap, and the dodgy shape probably isn’t helping. So at least six more weeks of swimming (I hate swimming, and I don’t use the word ‘hate’ lightly) before I can get back on my bike. And to make it harder, I’m getting a new bike tonight.

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Feed Stats

There’s a new feature in Google Reader that lets you see how many subscribers a blog has. If you try to add a new feed, using its name rather than the URL, it provides a page of likely matches including the number of subscribers through Reader (not the overall total).

The reason I mention this is that I have 5 subscribers through Reader. Not only is this around 4 more subscribers than I knew about, but I didn’t realize that anyone I know is using Reader. My testosterone levels have been boosted by this fame so much that, if my in-laws weren’t visiting, I would ravish my wife on the sofa. As it is a game of Dice Mogul will have to do.


Josh has reproduced! I think the initial decision was inspired by the range of gadgets for kids that he was missing out on, but it looks like Evelyn will earn a place in the house on her own merits. Congratulations to the proud fathers!

That reminds me, I didn’t blog that our friends Emma and Andy have similarly duplicated, providing a sister for Toby called Dara. For some reason it didn’t occur to me to blog that at the time – I guess Josh lives so much of his life digitally that it seemed natural to, whereas Emma and Andy are more clearly fixed in meatspace for me. In a nice way.

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I Like Big Butts

There are so many minor things that you can do to help the environment and yourself, from turning the thermostat down a degree to switching your lightbulbs to CFLs. Something we’ve done recently is install a water butt, which is a great example of something that is a good thing to do purely for yourself, and helps out the earth at the same time.

The benefits for us are simple – we get enough water to keep our entire garden ticking over without having to use a hosepipe, and most of the time there’s enough to wash the car with it as well. As we’re on a water meter that saves us money, and the rainwater is better for the plants.

That leads to an obvious environmental benefit – we use less ‘processed’ water – but there are others. In the UK almost all rainwater is channeled to drains, as there isn’t enough space to let it soak away as is common in the US. Although it’s rare, this system can become overwhelmed by heavy rainfall (and sadly it’s become less rare due to climate change and overcrowding). A waterbutt provides a buffer between the time the rain falls and when it enters the drainage system, as well as diverting a little more into natural drainage and filtering through the garden. One waterbutt makes almost literally no difference, but a million one waterbutts can tip the balance. In addition a reduction in the use of mains water cuts down power requirements for the processing station, reduces wear on the delivery and removal systems, and ultimately uses less of a rare resource.

All of that is great, of course, but none of it need influence your decision because you personally will benefit from spending the few minutes and few pounds/dollars required. Honestly, why wouldn’t you do it?

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