Chris Worfolk's Blog


Finland trip 2018

July 29th, 2018 | Travel

Not content with simply having a picnic, we also jetted off to the country itself earlier this month to attend the wedding of Elina’s brother, Henry.

It was Venla’s first time on a plane, and her first trip to Finland. She was mostly fine on the flight (a toddler is going to get bored anywhere after three hours) and very much enjoyed spending the week with Elina’s mum.

We did the usual stuff: swimming in the lakes, swimming in the sea, pottering around both of the shops in Laitila and, of course, eating plenty of ice cream. Nothing beats tar flavour. Apparently. I stuck with suklaa.

The wedding was nice. A brief ceremony in the village chapel and a party at a lakeside summer house, including copious quantities of big being served.

It also gave Venla a chance to meet her cousins.

I did, as usual, get eaten alive by biting insects, though. I think they lie dormant waiting for me to make my semi-annual pilgrimage.

Finnish picnic 2018

July 28th, 2018 | Events

July means the annual Finnish summer picnic in Leeds. Last year was Venla’s first and this year she was armed with new skills, including walking and talking.

Both Elina and I failed to do particularly well in the molkky tournament, but better in the welly throwing, with us both coming second in our respective gender competitions.

I’m pretty sure we won the wife carrying by default when I was the only person physically able to lift their partner.

And, of course, we filled out boots with Karelian pasties.

2018 World Cup in review

July 27th, 2018 | Sport

I enjoyed this year’s World Cup. It all flew by so fast, though.

Almost as soon as it has begun it seems like the three games a day awesomeness is cutting down to two. It’s not like I could watch three games a day with university, work and family commitments, but it was nice to know I could in theory.

England didn’t win, and that was disappointing. But at least they went out the correct way. Whenever England score, I always bet on the other team to offset the potential disappointment of fluffing it up. Thus, when Croatia did manage to overturn England’s lead, although I was heartbroken I was also at least in profit.

Football will come home. It was originally invented in England under the name “foot waff”. But, admittedly, it is not coming home for at least another two years.

France were worthy winners. They played a lot of great football and it was entertaining to watch.

This tiny protein could solve climate change forever

July 17th, 2018 | Science

Human-caused climate change, commonly called global warming, is perhaps the biggest threat facing our time. But some scientists believe they have a solution that could solve the problem forever. And the planet’s saviour could be one of the simplest building blocks of life.

It’s called a prion disease and it is fatal to humans in 100% of cases.

“When it comes down to it, we know what is causing climate change and we know how to stop it”, explained Professor Ben Roberts from the School of Climate Science at Castleford University. “We just need to kill all of the humans and the planet will be fine. And this protein could be the key.”

Members of the campaigning group Save Our Climate recently started a petition that has so far gathered 11,000 signatures, calling for the government to begin a mandatory introduction of the protein to the population.

At a press conference on Monday, former foreign secretary John Borison said he lamented the red tape currently imposed by the European Union that would prevent such actions, which technically count as genocide. “Once we’re free of those over-dressed health-and-safety-mad European twits, we’ll be free to introduce these proteins everywhere”, he told reporters.

Castore’s Facebook ad

July 11th, 2018 | Business & Marketing

This advert popped up in my Facebook feed recently and I thought I would re-post it as it is an excellent example of an advert.

It’s great for two reasons. The first is that they pick a really specific pain point and promise to take that pain away. In this case, it’s literally a pain point: no more bleeding nipples.

If you’re a runner, which is their target audience, you will probably know how sore and painful your nipples get after a long run. And having to vaseline up. And forgetting to vaseline up and running along thinking “it’s just a matter of time until this gets unpleasant”. They promise to fix this problem.

They could have talked about loads of different things. The material is designed to keep you cool, to wick away sweat, dry quickly, etc. But they don’t get distracted by that. They keep it for separate adverts. They pick one specific point to get people hucked and then sell them on everything else later.

Second, it’s an excellent offer. Try it for 100 days and if you don’t like it, send it back. It takes all of the risk out of buying with them.

Allerthorpe Sprint Triathlon

July 10th, 2018 | Sport

Allerthorpe is a village about ten miles outside of York. They are hosting a series of triathlon over the summer, including this one, the Allerthorpe Sprint.

The swim wasn’t great. Few venues have the luxury of the beautiful clear waters of the Blue Lagoon or the size of Waterloo Lake. In this case, the lake was small, requiring two laps for the 750-metre swim, murky and shallow: you could walk a large amount of the swim.

T1 wasn’t smooth, either. I got everything done and then realised that I hadn’t vaselined my toes, so I had to take my shoes and socks back off, do some toe care and then put everything back on.

Once on the bike, things started looking up, though. I was really pleased with my average speed of 28.6 kph that I set at the Evolve Quarter and at the start of the bike section here I thought to myself “if I keep training hard, I’ll hit 30 kph eventually”. As it happens, I did just that. Faster even, as I managed 31 kph.

T2 and the run were smooth, also. I was about 25 minutes in the run, which clocked in at a little over 5km, so I’m happy with that given the heat.

In the end, my time was:

1:30:17

My spreadsheet predicted I would be around 1:33:11, so I was pleased to be ahead of that. But it was disappointing that if I hadn’t made the mistake in T1 I would have gone sub-90.

I am happy enough with Allerthorpe as a venue, too. Which is good news because I am back racing there at the start of August and again at the start of September.

Leeds Anxiety Clinic opens

July 9th, 2018 | News

We’re pleased to announce that Leeds Anxiety Clinic has opened its doors. Here are my personal thoughts about it.

I’ve been working in mental health for around five years now, running the charity Anxiety Leeds, blogging over at Worfolk Anxiety and conducting research into mental health technology as part of my master’s degree. Getting involved with a company like this seems the next logical step.

The feedback we’re getting at the moment is that Leeds IAPT has a 9-month waiting list. Therapy takes time to work, so if you’re looking for help, realistically you’re looking at more than a year of your life before you can see any change. That’s too long.

And whether you go via the NHS, or you go via private therapy, you will usually get a generalist. Some organisations run “mental health” group sessions, for example. You might be a high functioning anxiety sufferer but you find yourself sat next to a schizophrenic. They’re both very different conditions that require different skills. Or your counsellor also does bereavement or addiction, and sidelines with anxiety. They don’t have the specialist skill set. It’s like taking your boat to Kwik Fit because “all vehicles are pretty much the same”.

We’re aiming to fix both of these problems by providing specialist care, with a range of options to suit different circumstances. Including some educational events that we’re planning to announce shortly.

All of this runs alongside my existing commitments to research and Anxiety Leeds, which will be unaffected by anything we’re doing here. Although, I very much hope that what we do at the charity will be informed by anything we learn at LAC, so that we can continue to improve the group.

Brompton announce first TT bike

July 6th, 2018 | Distractions

Brompton, the company famous for making folding bikes that you can take on the train with you, have this week announced they are releasing their first TT (time trial) bike with integrated folding aero bars.

“Now that TransPeninne Express have banned bikes, the demand for our foldable options has never been higher,” explained Managing Director Andrew Spin. “But what happens when you have a national time trial championship, and the only way to get there is by train? We think this bike is the answer.”

The new bike could also help commuters running late, allowing them to sacrifice the safety of themselves and pedestrians in order to shave a few seconds off the cycle leg of their journey.

NHS overwhelmed as millions hallucinate England winning a penalty shootout

July 4th, 2018 | Distractions

NHS mental services have admitted they are “overwhelmed” after millions of people sought voluntary admission to psychiatric hospitals, claiming they vividly experienced England winning a penalty shootout.

“It was so real,” explained Michelle Herbert. “I felt like I was actually happening. Obviously, it didn’t happen, because it’s England, so it seems like I am no longer able to tell the difference between imagination and reality.”

“Our services are already stretched beyond capacity,” an official for NHS primary care mental health. “Thankfully, we’ve received expert assistance from the Swedish medical authorities, who assured us that the episode would pass by the end of Saturday.”

Health secretary, Jeremy Cunt, released a statement confirming that the lack of capacity to deal with the current crisis had everything to do with the unpredictable nature of healthcare and nothing to do with him having cut 15,000 in-patient beds across England & Wales since 2012.

Flossing

July 3rd, 2018 | Life

I’m trying to improve my flossing technique. The dental hygiene kind. Apparently, it is a dance, too, which makes it more difficult to find the content I want. I had a similar problem when searching for “oral”.

My first stop was YouTube. Here is a helpful video on what to do.

The problem? My teeth are in my mouth. That spot where her hand is: that’s where my head is in real life.

Here is another video demonstrating the technique.

Look how far that fake mouth is open. No wonder dentists are constantly telling us to open our mouths wider if they think that people could open it to 90 degrees like a cartoon character.