▨ Jamie McHale

October 2020

Autumn in Edinburgh, contract renewal

Autumn has arrived in Edinburgh, the leaves have turned and we’ve been treated to a series of crisp and fresh then damp and misty days. We’re back into semi-lockdown in Scotland, with most bars and restaurants closed. We cancelled our trip to the Lake District, out of transport concerns, and as of the end of the month, we’re not allowed to travel outside of the city, so my long-awaited trip to Skye has been cancelled too. Still, there is a lot to do in Edinburgh, and I’m grateful that my friends and family are all in good health.

A view over the Pentland Hills, Edinburgh

I managed to get out into the Pentlands for a few runs this month. I took a video at Threipmuir Reservoir:

I finally took the plunge and bought a new bike. I went for the Kona Sutra. It seems robust enough to handle the roads and trails in the winter near Edinburgh, and also be suitable for longer distance touring. Hopefully I’ll get good use out of it over the next few months.

A view from my bike saddle, down a road with yellow leaves on the ground


My contract with Shelter as a freelance developer was due to come to an end, but they renewed at the last minute. I am now working for another of my long-term clients on an assessment platform for most of the week, whilst maintaining a couple of days with Shelter.

Reading and Learning

I read Breath by James Nestor, and Atomic Habits by James Clear. Breath is an interesting book, perhaps more prompting several leads to investigate than presenting hard scientific evidence. Atomic Habits was a good introduction to habit formation to those who haven’t read about the topic before. If you’ve read other books on the topic then you probably aren’t going to learn too much that’s new.

I attended the Interintellect Salon on Liberating Liberty: How to Think About Freedom in Our Lives. The Interintellect has been a great place to connect with people looking for interesting conversations. I recommend you take a look.

I also had my first Italki Chinese Lesson. Italki is a service that connects you with native language speakers for tutoring or informal conversations. I took a short Chinese language course last year at the Confucius Institute, and have been practising on Duolingo during lockdown. I’ve not got any aim in particular, so a couple of 30 minute sessions a week is a way to keep it fun and practical.

Finally, I launched a new alt-Instagram for my photography practice. I love taking photos, so this is a place to re-post older images, practice editing, and motivate me to go out and take more. Please do follow along. I’m keen to connect with others doing similar projects.