▨ Jamie McHale

April 2021

Birthday month, and Scotland re-opens
Spring blossoms on Canaan Lane

I kicked off the month with an Interintellect Book Club Salon on Beowulf. As I write this update in early May we’ve just had the Canterbury Tales salon too. I’m enjoying reading “the classics” to get a better insight into history and literature. If you are interested, then please do take a look at Tommy Collison’s Literary Forge blog for frequent posts on some of the topics we are discussing in the book club.

From reading around the works we are discussing, I recommend Marion Turner’s Chaucer biography. It’s an interesting way of presenting the history of England and Chaucer through the places and changes related to his life.

I finished Hobbes’s Leviathan in April. I’m glad I made the effort with it, as it helped me understand the concerns of someone who lived through the English Civil War, and some of the tensions with the Church. I plan to flesh out my knowledge by reading more political philosophy as part of my current reading project.

“Working Backwards” by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr was a good look at the culture and processes at Amazon. No matter what you think of them, it’s clear they have driven dramatic growth and set standards for logistics and consumption. I particularly liked the “PR/FAQ” approach to product development, where you start with a Press Release and questions. I recommend this for anyone who is interested in business.

I managed a few bike routes this month. First is a loop around Torduff Reservoir from Morningside, Bonaly, and then back via the Water of Leith. It’s a great ride and can be done in about an hour and a half without too much effort. At Clubbiedean Reservoir there is a small coffee shop that is open at the weekend. I have posted the route on Komoot.

Torduff Reservoir
Torduff Reservoir

Later in the month I rode out to Gullane, east along the coast from Edinburgh. The route was mostly on cycle tracks, but there were some narrow and busy roads towards the end. The weather was great, and the beach was lovely. I picked up coffee and a cake from Goosegreen Bakery in the center of town. I have posted the Morningside to Gullane route on Komoot

Gullane Beach
Gullane Beach
Port Seton boats
Boats at Port Seton

It was my birthday at the end of the month. Harriet got me the Peak Design “Everyday Sling” camera bag that I have been lusting after. Hopefully that will make it easier to keep a good camera with me at all times. I have kept up with the 52 Frames weekly photo challenge, including “fabric”, “trapped” and “freeze-frame”.

Harriet jumping off a fence in a field
My "freeze frame" photo entry

Scotland re-opened a little on the 26th of April, with hospitality open in general, and pubs for outdoor drinking.

The weather has been good enough to sit outside, so I was pleased to catch up with several friends who have recently moved back to Scotland. This socialising included getting in for a quick swim at Portobello beach before grabbing pizza from the new Civirinos down at the front, followed by a few evening beers at the Black Ivy.

I really appreciate being able to see people again. I’m looking forward to the vaccine getting on top of the virus, and socialising being more flexible later in the summer. There are still a lot of people to catch up with!

Chips at the front
Gordon and Amy at the beach with some cake