February 2019

I did quite a bit of work travel in the first weeks of February including a stopover on Holbox in Mexico. The Hobie Cat in the beach garden was tantalising, sadly unseaworthy amidst that beautiful environment with nice even onshore winds.

And this past week back in the UK I did a RYA Dinghy Instructor course (yep, passed 🙂 ). We were super lucky with the weather which was mild and apart from one day had enough of wind.

Photo credits Gill Richards

The DI course week was pretty intense with very packed days and homework in the evening. It feels a meaningful qualification to me, you can’t fake time on the water and sailing experience.

Apart from learning to teach sailing itself, the RYA instruction methods are excellent with much attention being paid to different learning styles, session planning, communications, feedback and everything else that goes into teaching effectively.

Not to mention learning new sailing and power boat skills, a lot on safety, protection of children and vulnerable adults, organising your training fleet and conducting sessions on land or water. All good stuff and also a nice consolidation of my own sailing skills where more advanced manoeuvres need to be at demo level and work every time.

As always, especially with sailing there is so much still to learn (it’s endless) and this stage still feels like the beginning. I’m grateful to Swanage Sailing Club for sponsoring the course and our great instructor during the week and coach/assessor on the final day.

If you’re in the UK and want to learn to sail check out the RYA website. It’s a great scheme to learn with, consistent in method across the country and you might be surprised to find a training centre not too far from where you are be it sea, river or lake.

Shell Bay 25th December 2018

These little birds are members of the sandpiper family and called sanderlings. We saw them on a visit to Shell bay (Dorset, UK).

They run along the shoreline at speed avoiding the waves, seem to like standing on one leg and even hop along at speed on one leg.

More views from Shell Bay.

I never tire of looking at the sea regardless of the weather. 🙂

How to create a fancy Apache directory index listing with .htaccess

Sometimes you don’t need a CMS and want to keep things as simple as possible. For my use case I wanted sailing club race officers to be able to upload Sailwave race results and display them in the most simple way possible.

To achieve that and ensure isolation from the website’s WordPress CMS I added a subdomain and configured a pretty Apache directory listing. Users now just upload files via FTP.

Assuming your website is running on the Apache web server, you can achieve the same with .htaccess and few tweaks.

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See above example here, see the code which you can easily alter to suit on github.

More about this the Apache docs:



How I’ve started using Gutenberg. Ramp!

If you’re familiar with the world of WordPress you’ll know that the next version of WordPress will ship with a new editor called Gutenberg. You can read all about Gutenberg over here and try it out too.

I confess I’ve been a late adopter till now; sure I’ve experimented with Gutenberg locally but I haven’t used it on a production site, mainly because on the one public site I currently personally manage, I simply didn’t have the time to be concerned with Gutenberg  compatibility and also I didn’t want all post types edited with Gutenberg.

What is Ramp?

I work within WordPress.com VIP at Automattic and today we released a new plugin to help with Gutenberg testing and transition called Ramp.

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Ramp basically let’s you control how you enable Gutenberg on your site. From the wordpress.org download page it says. Continue reading “How I’ve started using Gutenberg. Ramp!”