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Nerd Immunity 
Greetings from my shed...
Writing this dispatch is a part of a larger creative process. For example I just accidentally destroyed a perfectly good 32” UHD monitor. But I shall call the resulting piece ‘Art Brut’ and you can buy it for £299. It’s 3840x2160, backlit and comes with its own stand and frame. The image also evolves with whatever operating system you currently use.
Welcome new folk. I’m Christian Payne, or @Documentally online. A former shepherd, photojournalist and technologist. This email is a curious journal in search of novelty. In amongst the distractions (when i’m not dropping monitors) I like to explore what we share, how we share and where we’re going. Every other week is free but all the content I share here and access to the back channels costs less than a beer a month. So please consider subscribing. (…as I need £299) for a new monitor.)
Church buildings for many are a place of reverence and worship. But not being religious I don’t get inside them that often. I like to feel the awe of the vaulted space and its hewn stone architecture. For me they are places steeped in history and stories spanning generations.
This week I was honoured to be invited to the licensing of the Revd David Sheppard. An old internet friend who will be living and working locally for a while. We sat in a packed church with everyone singing trough masks, a bishop with his crook on a throne and David being sworn in. It was a wonderful ceremony for a truly lovely guy.
Afterwards, while everyone filtered out and over to another building for refreshments, I saw the entrance to the steeple was unlocked. I knew there were some folk on the bell ringers balcony so headed up to check for photo opportunities. But I couldn’t resist the temptation to ascend further. Instead of exiting at the first door, I continued climbing. Pushing matted cobwebs aside, the dusty spiral staircase finally opened out into the steeple.
For a structure approaching it’s 700th year it was stunning. Magestic. I stepped out onto a creaky wooden platform and momentarily considered the headline should I fall through the floor. ‘Christian Pain - Man dies falling through the roof of a church.’ Changing my stance I spread my weight and climbed a little higher.
Checking the altitude on my watch I could see I was at around 55m above sea level. (That’s high around here.) Not wanting to miss an opportunity. I took a radio out of my pocket. I’d planned to join in the weekly 4 meter amateur radio net on the walk home but this seemed like the perfect opportunity to tell them i’d be late. While fiddling with the radio I heard the slam of a door below and decided it might be best to descend. I gingerly felt my way down and back to ground level. But that was as far as I could go. The door was locked.
In the cramped, dark, freakishly warm space, I crouched to look through a hole in the ancient door. Outside I could see David greeting the last few folk exiting the main building. I thought about calling to him but didn’t want to create a scene. So instead I contemplated possible exit strategies.
Perhaps I could use some bell rope and climb out onto the church roof. Awesome fun but too spectacular. Someone is sure to see and then how might I explain that away. Plus I’d still need to find a way down from there. I had a multitool on my belt, maybe I could pick the antique lock. Also fun, but I opted instead to message West, a friend who had been live-streaming the ceremony.
More time passed. West doesn’t check his phone that often so I watched the world go by outside the hole. Like a gargoyle in storage. I contemplated how places of quiet are disappearing, on how little time I had previously spent in churches, and now I was here being held prisoner by one.
It took a phone call to finally get his attention so he could grab the churchwarden. As they both approached I could tell that in all his years, the warden had not had anyone get locked in the steeple. I heard keys jangle and the suggestion that this was a prank, that there was no one behind the door. So I struck a pose and as the door cracked spreading light into the sweaty gloom I said. “Nope… I’m most certainly here.”
Thankfully there was laughter and smiles. And we all went to find the wine.
Let us travel back in time when there was much more space on the road for bikes.
This film features a train station I know very well indeed. Some of my first big adventures started there.
This is the must watch this week. What an amazing human being.
More great work from Improv Everywhere.
This guy claims he has not spent any money for 18 years.
Subscribers would have read this bonus post from last week. Thanks for the comments.
Currently reading The Great North Road by Steve Silk…
This week the A1 turned 100 years old and I’m now contemplating that as I live on it, I should have ago at riding some of it’s history. I’ve been getting some kit together for some bike packing but wasn’t really sure where to go. I’ve not really done many long days in the saddle and certainly don’t have 11 whole days to spare. Perhaps I’ll start in London and see how far north I can get. Or maybe I can zigzag across the community map and visit any of you who might put me up for the night. ;-)
The Aliens have a new album out on Bandcamp.
On long car trips there is a bit of a battle between the kids and the grownups as to what’s on the stereo. Recently though we have all been able to agree on Brian Regan ‘Standing up’. It’s on Spotify.
My daughter gave this plant based vegan burger a 5.5 out of 10 and my lad gave it a 6.5. I gave it an easy 7 for the texture and feel.
The following day we tried the vegan hotdogs (also from Aldi) and they fared better.
We didn’t ask the opinion of the dog as she’s not fussy. She’d eat the box.
Thanks to those Twitter folk who told me the secret ingredients they add to their potato salad.
You know how most modern pens hold the ink on the inside? Drillog holds the ink on the outside.
Nope. I don’t know why either. I guarantee I’d end up grabbing the wet end.
My clothing purchases are definitely function over fashion. I pretty much thought I’d got all bases covered but cycling has shown me a few gaps in my wardrobe. If you are cycling for less than an hour then pretty much anything will do. Any longer and internal seams or a loose fit can chafe. I also thought I’d be fine with my existing lightweight waterproof jacket, but the hood acts like a parachute in a headwind.
I’ll use any old shorts for quick trips and just put up with the builders bum. But longer rides are more comfy with a little padding and a decent fit.
That’s when I realised why cyclists wear bibs. Back in the day it was wool, silk and braces. And I totally get it now. Hunched over your handlebars any restriction around your waist can not only rub, but also constrain breathing.
After earning a fat voucher completing a Strava challenge, added to a first time buyer discount, in addition to an intro link from my my Brother in Law Will, I recently splashed out on some gear from Le Col. With all that discount it was still bloody expensive but if i’m going to test out being a Mamil I’d rather do it in what a few experienced cyclists have told me* is ‘top clobber’. (*Some said it was overpriced.)
[Le Col of course sent me a special offer link to share. This link will get you a free Le Col sport gilet with your first order over £100. I’ll also get a reward. Should you have more money than sense, £100 should get you a t-shirt and a pair of socks. Unless you do what I did and peddle for discounts.]
And my new gear arrived this week. Boy is it fitted. They may as well have given me a spray can of black paint and a logo to stick on a nipple.
I will be sure so share a photo of said gear, but only in the full subscriber feed next week. I’m not sure it’s appropriate for public consumption.
So instead here is an image of another cycling purchase…
Only the initiated friction loving athlete will know what ‘Muc-Off Athlete Performance Luxury Chamois Cream’ is. I’d never heard of the stuff till last week and now I’m considering smearing it all over my nether regions.
This week I must thank a mentor to many, whiskey fan, foodie, founding subscriber and good friend Paul LeBlanc. Paul is a two time President. He is not only the president of SNHU but also holds a similarly prestigious position in the international motorcycle club the ‘Hells Nerds’. ;-) Thanks for subscribing Paul!
You too can support this dispatch and become a paid subscriber. You’d be in great company.
Might England be the first country to lose two world Heritage sites due to damaging development?
Did you patch your Apple devices?
Are you anywhere near the Uk’s A1 (formerly the Great North road)? If so add yourself to the Documentally community map as I may ride some of it.
Stanford Uni make a small breakthrough that could enable drones to be charged while in flight.
Did you know the Emperor of the United States was born in England?
Twitter is testing downvotes. Experts are split on how they would affect the platform.
This video finally has 1 Billion views.
I should have a better idea of what adventure looks like by next week’s email. I might only have my phone to hand on my pushbike, but will endeavour to post a few bonus instalments for supporting subscribers. Have a great week!
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." ~ H.G. Wells
See you out there.