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Tagged “connection”

Volunteering at Edinburgh Western General Hospital

Today was a nice break from the old routine. Rather than working at a computer, I and some teammates went to Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital to do some gardening.

My employer supports the charity FACE (Fighting Against Cancer Edinburgh), part of NHS Lothian Charity.

FACE provides the ‘little things’ which can make a real difference for patients undergoing treatment for cancer. These things help make the time spent in hospital as comfortable as possible; the environment and experience as positive as it can be.

Our job today was to tidy the area surrounding the FACE garden. The garden serves as a quiet outdoor space where patients, visitors and staff can find solace away from the hospital wards.

Supervised by the conservation charity TCV, we tooled up and set about weeding the garden and paved areas. It was a sunny day, we chatted while we worked to colleagues we hadn’t met, and by the end you could see we had made a significant dent.

I hope we made a useful contribution and I certainly enjoyed doing it and would do so again. Thanks to my employer for the opportunity.

Talking to kids about being a software engineer

I’m not the most confident public speaker these days. So I had mixed emotions when my neighbour asked me to talk about my career at Pollokshields Primary School where he teaches.

However, I liked the theme of helping the kids to expand their horizons. And I’m keen to be involved in the local community, so this was a good opportunity.

I also had my fears dispelled somewhat when I heard that although there’d be lots of kids they were all around 11 years old. I’m working on my presenting and workshop facilitation skills at the moment so again, a good opportunity with – hopefully - a captive and gentle crowd!

I’m pleased to say it went well and generally gave me a warm glow. On reflection I think I prepared well, my nerves were manageable, and I communicated clearly. The kids were lovely and asked lots of questions! What characteristics do you need to be a good software engineer? Did my parents support my career choices? And so on.

They also gave me a lovely certificate and a large Dairy Milk bar (something that’s always welcome in our house).

My message of thanks from the kids and teachers at Pollokshields Primary School
My message of thanks from the kids and teachers at Pollokshields Primary School

Recently read: Lost Connections by Johann Hari

When chatting with a consellor in January about some bouts of low mood and mental fatigue, I described one symptom as a strange sense of disconnection. And while the recent lockdowns during the pandemic were obvious contributors to that, they didn’t feel like the full story.

Creating websites with prefers-reduced-data (on

Even though more and more people get access to the internet every day, not all of them have fast gigabit connections or unlimited data. Using the media query prefers-reduced-data we can keep our sites accessible to everyone.

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