Thursday, 1 January 2015


Looking back over the posts for 2014 it seems this blog has been rather neglected. In fact I've made just 14 posts. It isn't that I'm not blogging as much as I used to but that my posts are now spread across three blogs. In total I've actually written 167 posts; six over on my code and electronics blog and 147 on model railways. I also joined Twitter at the end of 2013 and so have posted some items there over the last year as well. It does mean though, that I have a fair amount of catching up to do on this blog, so just as I did last year, I'll fill this post with brief glimpse of the rest of my 2014 adventures.

Looking back over the year the most interesting things (from a blog post of view) have probably been the trips away with work, as I've had the opportunity to visit some really great places. I visited four new places but only blogged, briefly, about the trip to Kaiserslautern. The first trip of the year though was in February when I went to Luleå in northern Sweden.

One of the main reasons for holding the meeting in Luleå in February was that there was a chance to see the northern lights. Unfortunately the weather was rainy rather than very cold and clear so I'll have to wait to see the northern lights. I did, however, get to experience a 15km ride over an ice road from Luleå out to the island of Hindersön. The trip was at night (we had dinner at the Jopikgården restaurant on the island which included reindeer steak and cloudberries) so there wasn't much of a view, which was probably a good thing as it was scary enough as it was. As we left solid ground and were driven onto the ice we were told to undo our seat belts as it's easier to escape from a sinking car without them on! If that wasn't bad enough part way over there was a little moment where the car wasn't pointing the right way, and our driver admitted he'd never driven an ice road before and it wasn't his car. It was certainly an interesting evening.

The following morning, before the meeting started, a small group of us managed to also make it out to Gammelstad which is a UNESCO world heritage site just outside Luleå. Apparently it's the best preserved church town and consists of 424 wood-built houses around the central church. Traditionally the he houses were only used on Sundays and during religious festivals by those members of the congregation who couldn't return home the same day due to the distance and travelling conditions.

After the icy cold of northern Sweden a trip to Turin in June made a nice change. It being Italy there was an awful lot of good food and coffee, although strangely I didn't have any pizza, but the highlight of the trip had to be the evening visit we made to the Egyptian Museum. Apparently it houses the worlds second largest collection of Egyptian artifacts after the museum in Cairo; it certainly was very impressive with lots to see and take in. Certainly well worth a visit if you are ever in Turin.

October saw the final work trip of the year to a new destination, this time Istanbul in Turkey. This was my first trip to Turkey and was certainly interesting. First of all Istanbul is HUGE. I don't think I've ever seen such a large sprawling city, which means I saw only a very tiny part of it, but what I saw was great. It's the first time I've seen the boundary between two continents. We had dinner at a restaurant on the European edge of the Bosphorus looking across the water to Asia. I also managed an afternoon of sightseeing and with a colleague in which we visited both the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia as well as sampling the delights of Turkish ice cream which is chewy and doesn't melt in the heat!

I've already blogged about some of our holiday on Skye in August including dolphins, seals, and Loch Coruisk but it's also worth mentioning that we had a wonderful lunch at the Kinloch Lodge Hotel; the first time I've eaten food that comes with a Michelin star!

Strangely I also seem to have spent quite a while fixing things this year, I even spent about 45 minutes on Boxing Day replacing the door lock on a dishwasher. My favourite fix of the year had to be the new bracket to fix the fridge door. I've already blogged about this, but I thought it worth mentioning agin especially as it made Shapeways review of the year blog post!

I also fixed a toilet using a piece of gaffer tape after it stopped flushing. It turns out that part of he mechanism is a rather flimsy plastic sheet, which can easily tear over time and when it does it can no longer lift the water to flush the toilet. Fortunately it's easy to repair... if you can get the toilet apart.

So it was an interesting year even if I didn't blog about a lot of it. Hopefully 2015 will be just as fun for us all!