▨ Jamie McHale

February 2021

Snow and spring

The days are getting longer here in Edinburgh. February was a snowy and cold month, but in the last week it seems like spring has finally sprung. My parents got their first dose of vaccine at the end of January and Harriet got her second dose last week, so things are looking a lot more positive.

It’s fantastic that the UK has made good progress with vaccination. It feels like there is (a fragile) light at the end of the tunnel. Still, further and faster please!

Crocuses in the Meadows
Spring is arriving in Edinburgh


In the first week of February I attended the Interintellect “Reading the Greats” Salon where we discussed Antigone. I had read a couple of translations of the play, and have since followed up with some further reading on Greek myths. I recommend Natalie Haynes “Pandora’s Jar” as a good exploration of women in Greek myths. I’d also recommend the Open Yale ‘Introduction to Political Philosophy’ course and associated book.

It has been good to have this series of Salons to prompt and guide me in reading these works, not to mention the benefit of being able to discuss the ideas with a group of interesting people. March sees us discussing The Last Days of Socrates and the philosophy of Plato. The Salon series is also coinciding nicely with my Open University course on the Arts and the Humanities, where we are reviewing a Plato dialogue, and will be moving onto Antigone in a few weeks.

I attended a Salon on ”Perfectionism: Facing the Inner Critic” by Anwar AlKandari. I wrote a tweet thread summary, and Lukas Rosenstock has written a blog post on the event.

My Duolingo Chinese streak continues past the 320 mark, so I’m hopeful that I’m going to make it to a year. I haven’t taken any more iTalki lessons this year, as language-learning is lower priority than the various pieces of reading I’ve committed to. Hopefully I’ll maintain a familiarity with Duolingo until I can devote a little more time to it later in the year.


I have continued with the 52 Frames weekly photo challenges. I took photos on: a single focal point, golden hour, cinematic “roll credits” and details. I filmed videos for most of these which you can find on my YouTube channel.

Blackford Hill in Winter light
Blackford Hill in Winter light
Golden Hour recedes over Edinburgh
Golden hour recedes over Edinburgh

Running and Cycling

I ran every day in January, so decided to take a few rest and recovery days at the beginning of February. Those rest days accidentally turned into two rest weeks. In the last two weeks of the month I turned it around, got back on the wagon and ran or cycled every day. I’m still ahead of plan for my 1250km annual target.

Highlights included breaking a little out of our local area and heading to Portobello a couple of times for a cycle and a run at the beach. I also made it back up into the Pentlands for a run over Allemuir Hill. Lockdown means no travelling outside Edinburgh, and that’s likely to be the case for the next couple of months. I am so looking forward to freedom again!

Cycling in the Innocent Railway Tunnel
Through the Innocent Railway Tunnel to Portobello


I’m still working freelance for Shelter and Mosaic Tasks in March, but might be looking to pick up a couple of days of work per week from April onwards. If you need help setting up either websites, or web-based applications (internal or external) then please do get in touch - twitter is best to reach me!


In an attempt to get better at making videos, I’m now recording and posting an accompanying Monthvlog for each of my Monthnotes. Here is the video for this month: