I’m feeling much better. I don’t have a cough any more. My nose only runs every time I go out into the cold, as usual. The ezcema that broke out all over my face simultaneously with my cold seems to be on the mend. On the downside, where I thought I’d pulled a muscle coughing, it now seems more likely that I’ve cracked a rib. But it’s on the side and it doesn’t hurt unless I lie on my side. Or roll onto my side in the night and wake up in pain. Or fall on my side ….

I went climbing for the first time in a few weeks. My rib didn’t really cause me too much discomfort, except for when I fell off and rolled onto my side as I landed. I noticed that.

We met up with a few friends for a game of French Tarot in the pub. A couple of us used to play it together a few years ago. I’d forgotten how the game works, but quickly picked it up again and came out of the evening with the highest score. The French game is simpler than the Austrian version, Königsrufen, which I played with colleagues even more years ago, in two significant respects: there are fewer contracts, and the suits all have the same cards in the same order.

I built an envelope filter effects pedal using the Mewtron Micro V kit from Jeds Peds. It was a nice, easy, relaxing build for me. I drilled the enclosure myself to save a bit of money. This is easy if you have stepper bits, and hard if you don’t. I do. I used some letter punches to label it, with a chaotic result that I rather like:

An effects pedal in a raw aluminium enclosure. The knobs and switch are
labelled with letters stamped haphazardly into the enclosure.

My finished Mewtron pedal

It works well on guitar. I tried it on bass too, but haven’t yet found a setting that I really liked. But on guitar, it’s excellent.

I found a way to make Duolingo a bit less stressful: take Mondays (mostly) off. The league ends on Sunday, but your cohort for the next week’s league is chosen from people who take their first lesson at the same time as you. Leave that until Monday evening, and you’ve ruled out some of the keenest people. I had a much nicer time last week and came in 9th place with only a reasonable investment of effort. I’m trying it again this week.

This is the most British thing I have ever read: some contractors working on a Royal Navy submarine overtightened some bolts and snapped off the heads. Instead of replacing the bolts, they just glued the heads back on, on the cooling system of a nuclear reactor. It’s just like when your buy-to-let landlord’s cousin bodges the leaking plumbing with gaffer tape and a plastic bag until the whole ceiling falls in, only on a nuclear reactor.

At least it was caught in time.

Here’s an interesting explanation of how UK barcode rail tickets work. No, you can’t fake your own. But you can read what’s on them.