2018 Geocaching

So 2018 was pretty much the year I started geocaching and it’s been a good year - however, we’ll see if 2019 can beat 2018! Avro Round Walk The first day of my Christmas holiday saw me undertake the Avro Round geocache route around the old Avro factory and airfield in Poynton. It was a bit of a muddy walk in fairness as the image below shows! It was a nice route, especially as it was aviation themed (and builders of the two most recognisable British bombers, the Vulcan and Lancaster).

Brompton in Switzerland

At the end of November, I had to go to Geneva for work - a one day workshop at CERN on fire risk. Considering it was the area I completed my PhD in and work were paying, what was not to like? Anyhow, after some serious thought, I decided that I’d take my Brompton with me to Switzerland and that I’d enjoy some cycling around Geneva collecting some geocaches. I say serious thought, as it would mean that I would have to pay the Easyjet baggage fee to get there and back again!

Bitlocker vs Cryptomator

I carry around a USB drive with me - usually a Sandisk Ultra USB, but occasionally a SSD drive1. It usually comes in handy, as I either want to carry around my documents and images or need to transfer files between devices. However, the most common use, is for work files so that I can edit/continue working whilst I’m away from the office and I cannot connect to the VPN or to overcome the poor VPN speeds.

NValt on Windows

One of the few programs I really miss from macOS is nValt. I used that (rather than Notational Velocity) for a number of years for storing notes and stored everything in it from blog posts, to research notes and paper reviews. It worked well and I preferred it to Evernote. Since then however, I’ve discovered Zim Wiki and I use that for storing my data that where I may need images, as at the end of the day, it saves data as a text file still, so I’ll be able to access it at a later date wherever.

Zim Journal Continued

Zim is a notebook type software - think Evernote or Onenote. However, it’s free and open source and saves data locally. It also saves all files as plain text, so you can access the files however and wherever you want. I’ve been using it for a journal for a period of about three years now and I’ve written about it before. I did for a time switch back to Day One and tried the new syncing service, but when they had syncing issues earlier this year which exposed private data, I made sure I was back using Zim (syncing between my devices with Resilo Sync and stored on my own devices).

TALBOL Geocaching Series

With some spare time at the weekend, I thought that I would get some practise in for my LEL award and I wanted to team this up with a geocaching trail that I’d seen. This way, I could go out and enjoy a day hike, whilst getting in some geocaching. Route I’d done some hikes in the Peak District for cadets recently and had seen a number of caches with the acronym TAL - on a bit of digging, this appears to be short for The Alien Landings.


My cycling has seemed to have dropped off somewhat since moving to Manchester. A downside to moving away from the London Brompton Club perhaps as I’ve not found a club up here that I’ve fancied doing much riding with as it’s not quite as welcoming and social as the LBC has been. I think that also weekend training exercises with cadets isn’t helpful to getting rides in at the weekend either!

Smart Plug Showdown

Intro I’ve recently started using smart plugs throughout the home - initially stemming from the fact that I bought a TP-Link HS110 because I wanted to measure the charging rate and total capacity of my new plug-in hybrid. However, after using it for a while, I found I was using it more and more elsewhere within the house (or knew of locations I could use it) so I bought myself a few of the cheaper models (HS100 - the same plug but with no power monitoring).

New Brompton

I’ve had my Brompton Loki for over three years now. It has served me well. However, it’s had a number of changes to it since owning it after I figured out what I wanted: A dynamo and lights were fitted. The Shimano hub and lights have served me well, but made things easier in terms of lighting - I was never left without lights if I had gone out and I don’t have to worry about batteries at all.

Berlin Cycling Again

The past few days I’ve been travelling around Europe - through Amsterdam and Berlin. I decided to do the same cycle tour as I’d previously done when I was in Berlin two years ago. I’d done it before but I did enjoy it, and whilst the sights I would see again would be the same, I would have a different tour guide and therefore the tour would be slightly different.