Liverpool 2024

The first few days of 2024 saw me in Liverpool for the Anatomical Society winter meeting. I had a presentation in with Alan Boyde on the topic of developmental collisions in teeth.

I’d heard on the news of floods, but the train journey north really highlighted the flooding, either side of the train line was pretty much just a duckpond, stretching from somewhere north of London to just north of Birmingham. Canals, rivers, and fields, all just merged into one shimmery, grey, wet mess.

The conference was good slightly out of my field with lots more information on how to peel faces off than I was expecting. Luckily the face peelers seem to be fully well-adjusted very nice humans.

All in all a good excuse to meet up with some old friends make some new ones and explore Liverpool, place I’ve not been too for far too long.


I started 2023 with some plans, but then life happened and some of the plans were disrupted. Let’s see where I got to.

Walking Dagenham:

My plan to walk every road in Dagenham. I had planned this would take about six months, if I walked at weekends and holidays. It soon became obvious to me that I had under-estimated the time I’d need, and so I allowed myself to cycle as well as walk. I had planed that the final leg of the journey would be a north-south walk from the northern-most point in Dagenham to the Thames, I’ve yet to make this trip, as I’ve yet to tackle much of the eastern side of Dagenham; I’m planning to continue in 2024.

One side effect of this walking plan is that I was introduced to Street Complete where I have been busy recording road widths, pedestrian crossing heights, shop opening hours, bus-stop facilities and postbox collection times, among other things. I’ve got over a thousand verified items now.

Weekly updating:

I managed 17 (plus this one) posts in 2023. This is somewhat less than 52, but more than some years and less than the peak covid lockdowns when there was little else to do but stay home and write.

I did manage to get my other website up and running again, it has even had a few updates this year. I moved it away from mediawiki to a static website generator with a bunch of tinkering under the bonnet so I can type words in my current favouite text editor and have them appear on the web.

2023 Weather

I’ve been running a small weather station at home for just over a year, 2023 is the first time I’ve had a whole year of data (ignore the gaps where power ran out and I was away).

Temperature in 2023 (approximately)

There were about 10 days where the temperature fell below zero, mostly in the early part of the year, but there were also a few in early December. It has been positively balmy since the last free, with the temperature never falling lower than 5C and averaging around 8C.

The wettest period was between 8am on 14th July and 8am on 15th July where I recorded 19.1mm of rainfall. On the whole, the second half of the year was wetter than the first.

Rainfall in 2023


Since April I’ve been recording birds on my local area with a bird-Pi setup, it’s not the most accurate or most complete recording, there a definitely some false positives in the data, and the software only seemed to recognise parakeets since September – they are active all year here. The software also gets horribly confused by the absolute cacophony of sparrows, and can only pick them out when there’s just an individual nearby – it’s why they are under-represented in the data. It’s a fun little thing to leave running with just a small microphone pointed down into the garden.

Birds detected in my garden in 2023

Bonfire night 2023

Perhaps it was just the weather, or perhaps it is indicative of a trend away from colourful explosions, but bonfire night was a bit of a damp squib – at least in my area.

There were whistles and bangs most of the night, but nothing like as frequent or concentrated. This year for the first time, I didn’t even bother going out to watch the sky.

Can I provide any evidence for my assertion it was a bad year for fireworks? Well, for years I’ve been looking out for spent rockets and shells on my walk to the station. I always go the same way, and have a general idea of what I’d see in a good year – typically tens of spent firework cases, bits of rocket stick and colourful plastic shells from something that exploded high above.

This year, this morning in fact, I counted two items, one rocket stick and one burned tubular cardboard case. This was after I had decided to specifically look out for items, if I hadn’t I’d have probably missed the stick – it was embedded in a privet hedge.

Spent single use vapes were scattered in abundance, I stopped counting at 15. Many of these had been damaged, and their battery exposed with the potential for a brief burst of flame.

Anyway, that’s all anecdote, not data.
Bonfire night 2023 was a damp squib. That’s an assertion and one I’m holding to.