Normally during this week in August I pack my bags and wander up to the British Aikido Federation Summer School up in Chester, but at the last minute I chickened out this year. I didn't feel adequately prepared for my next grading (having cut my training down to twice a week since Christmas, almost by accident), and given that my only other holiday this year is 2 weeks in the US incorporating a visit to Burningman, I fancied some time off to actually relax.

Tower in Queens ParkAnd it's been lovely so far. The weekend came and went in a flash, as weekends do, and on Monday Soph and I got up at a lazy hour and drove over to Barcombe. We've been meaning to get out to the country again for ages, and despite her enduring car problems and vandalism, Streetcar came to the rescue and got us out to greener pastures: a pub lunch in the middle of nowhere and a wander along country lanes.

Bike trick kidsTuesday was more of the same: a late start, wander down to the beach for lunch at the Oh So Social (food: nice, service: OKish), then took a bag of books up to Queens Park and sat in the sun, alternating reading and dozing. The subject matter wasn't exactly restful (me: Robert Fisks The Great War For Civilisation) but the environment almost managed to make up for it. Then back home for a snooze and out to dinner at Mae Ped Ped Ped (food: very good, service: rubbish) followed by a cocktail or two at Valentinos whilst we watched the local youth mucking around with their bikes in the pedestrianised streets outside.

Today was a bit of a step backwards, as Devi and I got the train to Sussex University to see the MSc poster presentations. I was a bit disappointed this year - only 3 students actually did a presentation, and in the past I've found them much better attended; but there was still some good stuff there, and it's nice just to get out to the campus and chat to academic types. A visit to the office followed, and a 10-minute "I'll just reconfigure that router" turned into a 2-hour stressathon, which I've now completely forgotten thanks to sunshine, cats, and ginger beer.

Tonight: the coding dojo (and popping of my Ruby cherry), a chat with local agile-ish folks, and maybe some noodling with things that I have meant to noodle with for far too long. And tomorrow I'm thinking of dusting off a pen and paper (even if virtually) and actually writing something. Something non-technical. After that I'm half-planning to drive to Wales and go for a clamber around Snowdonia, but that'll depend on the weather and my accumulated lethargy....

Meanwhile, news from Chester: all the Airenjuku students passed their gradings with Marisa rokkyu, Yvonne gokyu and Steve sankyu. Nice one guys :)