Published: Tuesday November 25, 2014.

The Cornwall bubble

It was frosty at 730am on Monday when I went for a walk. I had playful verbal abuse (“there’s no wonder you got a cold when you go walking in shorts in this weather!”) sent my way by a local school teacher who, driving to work in a pre-heated car, really should know better. A text message from me to her (“thanks for the drive-by abuse, enjoy your warm car”) and her subsequent response (“welcome!!!!!”) cleared everything up. We’re still on talking terms, despite her early-morning, totally uncalled-for rudeness. Harrumph.

I picked up a head cold about 10 days ago when I did my twice-yearly jaunt Up North to see family folks. My safe arrival on Friday afternoon was upgraded to a sore throat on Friday evening, in the midst of my consuming copious litres of water to stay hydrated in a house as warm as a furnace and TALKING CLEARLY AND LOUDLY BECAUSE OLD PEOPLE. Clearly driving for hours and hours in a car isn’t the ideal thing for any immune system, but having left the Cornwall bubble for a few days it’s just something I have to contend with.

The sore throat turned into a head cold on Monday and by Thursday, it’d gone. Late nights had taken their toll on me, as has late(r than usual) starts to my work day. I don’t like just falling out of bed and starting work at 9am, then being glued to a screen for n hours. Today, I took action and flipped the switch back. A brisk walk was nice. The self-loathing and frustration has subsided to a point that I’m getting things done on my terms. Lots of ideas are buzzing around and old projects are being revisited. Some are not.

There’s a period of change going on, mostly down to me spending a couple of years living alone, honing my routines and and then abruptly having to contend with Jen’s arrival as my housemate, complete with the associated disruption and crazy. Don’t get me wrong, life at Penwarren will never be straightforward, but the transition phase is underway and I have no earthly idea how long it’ll last before The Way Forward is figured out. Shrug.

This week is looking promising. A new client — a big multinational — has been added to my roster and I’m keen to make a good impression with them. It’s clients like this that help me handle the Cornwall bubble. I was reading a bio recently for a self-employed person I know. This person described themselves as ‘hiding in Cornwall for a few years’, or thereabouts. I won’t name them because the text has changed to something distinctly more businesslike in the time since then, but that got me thinking: I’m hiding in Cornwall, too. From what, I don’t know. Why? I don’t know that, either. Do I want to get out and show my face in another bubble? No, not really.

I read Hacker News, likely too regularly for someone in my position. A lot of the HN activity takes place in another bubble: the west coast USA entrepreneurial/startup/tech scene. I once read elsewhere that if you’re smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. When I figured out I was in the wrong rooms too often for my liking, I switched rooms to HN. In the HN-o-sphere, I’m the most naive in the room. I’ve found book recommendations, tutorials programming languages I’ve never heard of, motivation to make myself better and insights into startup/entrepreneurial culture that, while valuable to some folks, are perhaps too much of a distraction for me.

I’d love to put Cornwall on the map for technology in some way. It’s perversely ironic that, thanks to the government- and EU-funded high-speed broadband initiative there are some of the highest speed Internet connections in the country down here by the sea. The beach down the road — Widemouth Bay — has a bunch of submarine cables that connect the UK to other countries. It’s a goldmine for this Internet technology stuff, and one day I’ll figure out how to harness that. Until then, I have lots of reading to do to figure out the bubble that I’m in. And walking. Lots of walking.