Other things

Some of the things I do when I’m not working or volunteering. Or sleeping. Or writing blog posts.

Web sites

There’s a separate page showing how I made some of the web sites I’ve built if you’re interested in the mechanics of it all, but there are links to some of the live, personal ones below.

Family tree

My entry in the family tree web site.

I’ve been doing research into my family tree since 2004. This used to involve spending a (Satur)day looking up births, marriages and deaths in the India Office collection held in the Asia, Africa and Oriental Collection Reading Room at The British Library at St Pancras, but now ‘just’ involves searching the on-line database.

Wanting to share what I’d found with the rest of the family (and to practice my WordPress skills), I built a web site.

Baked Beauties

Baked Beauties site home page.

This is a small, home-based baking company run by my sister and a friend of hers. I host and built their web site – it was revised at the end of 2016 and now uses a free, responsive, mobile-friendly template which I adapted for their needs.

They can then add new cakes as and when. Jetpack from WordPress is also installed to help with social sharing and related posts (cakes).

Don’t tell her I said so, but she’s quite talented in the cake-baking department.

Random things with Google Maps

Zoomed-in detail for Marsden Rail Station.

When I was working on the Rail North / franchising stuff, I couldn’t quite visualise the extent of the two franchises, so I plotted the stations on a Google Map.

Then I decided to do it ‘properly’, and pulled together lots of freely-available data into one MySQL database. One table holds the station information, a second holds patronage data for the last decade or so. A .php file joins them together to produce a .kml file, which I zip up into a .kmz file and upload to my server. I’ve started converting the pins to show company logos rather than just colours, so you can see who manages each station, and I’ll ‘soon’ be adding a table for the political data (MP, local authority, etc).

Leisure time

Yes, I do go out once in a while, and sometimes I enjoy myself. It largely depends on who I’m with.

I’m a Leeds United fan – 15 seasons as a season ticket holder, up to the year that we escaped from the Third Division and got priced out. Also a follower of Borussia Dortmund and whichever teams the former Leeds United / Leeds Carnegie Ladies players are at.

I’ll listen to anything once, but not so keen on modern stuff. Anything from last century is fine, which probably explains why I listen to BBC Radio 2 so much. You can’t beat a bit of Trevor Nelson, Clare Teal or Moira Stuart (when she’s on). And Nemone’s Electric Ladyland on BBC 6 Music, just to be different.

I love cooking. Or trying to cook. It’s very relaxing and therapeutic (see also the Radio 2 listening and James May The Reassembler). But, cooking for one is difficult unless you halve the recipes, then freeze half of what you cook. So I bake as well, which means I have lots of goodies to share at work or with family and friends. I haven’t killed anyone yet, although that might explain the weight gain. Never got the hang of omelettes though. I’ll never be as good a baker as my sister and I’ll never be as good a cook as my friend Christina Soong, aka The Hungry Australian, but that won’t stop me.

Drink? If you insist. The best alcoholic drink invented is the Zombie. Light rum, dark rum, golden rum, orange juice, pineapple juice and ice. The worst alcoholic drink is anything with spiced rum and coconut. Or any foodstuff with coconut.

And I do a bit of writing, which is also very therapeutic (but not always as relaxing). Go have a look.