I should preface this blog post by saying that the main reason for this blog post is to try out my new mechanical keyboard. Most keyboards (your Logitech keyboard, your laptop keyboard) have membrane switches — where a bit of rubber is popped down by each key press. A mechanical keyboard has real switches under each key, resulting in a very different tactile response — and a much louder, clacky sound. I thought about shooting a video, where you could see (and hear) me typing at 150 words per minute, but I thought that might be a little too nerdy.

Anyway, with that out of the way…

I guess the most exciting thing I’ve done in the last month is visit Bristol — the hipster/artist/cool capital of England. Bristol is famous for creating Banksy, the Concorde, and Wallace & Gromit, amongst other things. I went to Bristol to do some research for a business I’m hoping to open in the next few months, to see a friend, and to experience the famous Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. The Fiesta is basically just a big orgy of hot air balloons and hot air balloon nerds — and at night, they do a night glow, where about 20 balloons inflate and then fire their propane burners in musical synchronicity.

Bristol itself is a lovely city. Some very nice buildings, including a huge cathedral. Lots of big, open spaces too — and of course it has a harbour! If it wasn’t for the fact that everyone there is about 5000 times cooler than me, I wouldn’t mind moving to Bristol.

A (crappily) stitched together mobile phone panorama of i46 LAN party

Also, last weekend, I was at a very large LAN party — the largest I’ve been to, actually. There were around 2500 computers, split between two (connected) rooms. I was there for 5 days — and by the end of the LAN on Monday, I was very ready to head home. We played lots of games — and even got kinda half-drunk a couple of times! (A first for that group of friends). We even played poker and smoked cigars. I won the poker.

I’ve got two other trips planned for the next month or two: Belgium first, and then a long trip to North Carolina. In Belgium I’ll be visiting the romantic city of Bruges (at last!), and the trip to the USA is primarily for my cousin’s wedding (Neil’s son)– but I’ll try to make a bit of a holiday out of it, too. I’ve already done mid/east North Carolina before, so I’ll probably do a road trip out west — to Tennessee maybe? (If you have any suggestions for what to see/do in and around NC, please let me know).

Other than that, the chickens are doing well. Three of them keep laying double-yolk eggs. I don’t know if this is a good thing, or just a sign that they’re genetically a bit wonky. Poppy, the rebel that she is, refuses to lay eggs in the coop — and moves her nest every few days. So far we’ve tracked her down four times. The first time I found her nest, this is what she was sitting on:

Poppy's haul of 13 eggs

Also, it seems that all the food/treats we’re giving the chickens is attracting other wildlife to the garden. We’ve easily doubled our number of squirrels, and a couple of ravens have recently moved in. One of the treats we give the chickens is a cooked corn on the cob (ear of corn for you Amurkans, I think). Today I caught a squirrel picking up a cob with its teeth and taking it about 50 feet up a tree before tucking in. I didn’t hang around, though — didn’t want to end up with a terminal velocity cob knocking me out, and then coming to, surrounded by worried-looking chickens.

A squirrel, eating an ear of corn half way up a tree

Judging by that rather delusional comment, I should probably go to bed now…

Chickens and Ireland
Blue Ridge Parkway


I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.