The long road back to health

A nice wee stop in Kingsbarns to update my playlist

On 6 June 2018, I made the decision to leave my two roles—web architect within the digital communications team and warden of Agnes Blackadder Hall within student services—at the University of St Andrews and strike out on a new adventure.

My plan, such as it was, was to take a few months out to focus on my health before plunging back into gainful employment. The previous two years had been rather brutal on my health

Disc breaks

Those plans came to a shuddering halt two weeks later while my (now late) mother was visiting. As I got up off the sofa I felt an excruciating pain across my lower back and I dropped to the floor in agony. I couldn’t stand up; I crawled upstairs to bed. I knew that something terrible had happened. A few days later my physio confirmed that I had herniated a disc in my spine. L5.

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Using Zoom polls for planning poker in Agile teams

Planning poker cards
Planning Poker cards from Mountain Goat Software

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about using planning poker in Agile teams, for estimating user story size. But that was when we were all sitting in the same room and not shielding from Covid-19.

Things have changed now. Here are a few options that I’ve tried.

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The police visited me following up a possible Covid breach that wasn’t

Original photo of Police Scotland officers in face masks by AFP on BBC News

Last night, around 17:30 there was a chirpy knock on my door. I opened it to see two police officers standing a pace back from my doorstep.

“Hello, we’re following up a possible Covid breach.”

Continue reading The police visited me following up a possible Covid breach that wasn’t

Shenandoah by NYCGB Alumni lockdown virtual choir

Over the last two months, I have been involved in a project with the NYCGB Alumni to record one of our favourite pieces, the American folk song “Shenandoah” arranged by James Erb.

We asked 404 (or so) singers to video their part of the piece, singing along to a backing track created by the tremendous Will Dawes. Then we had a technical team piece it all together, Ben worked on the audio, Tom on the video.

We thought we started this because we wanted to have some fun. We thought that we could possibly use it as a fundraiser or to encourage more people to take up singing but then we realised:

• We did it because we love singing.
• We did it because we love our alumni family.
• We did it because we love this piece of music.

I hope you love it too.

Feel free to share it far and wide.