Creativity, Sketchnotes and Maps: TestBash Manchester 2017

The air outside has a crispness to it and I catch my breath when I step outside my door. My dragon scale gloves are on my hands and the trees have lost most of their leaves. It’s November. The month of creativity, acting on wild ideas and sharing stories. The weather turns cold and the days grow dark, but there is a sense of magic in the air with thousands of people working on NaNoWriMo all over the world. I love this time of year: creativity goes hand in hand with community and it dares me to let go of the fear of perfectionism and just create and enjoy. It is only one week ago that I returned from TestBash Manchester where I enjoyed an early sense of the magic that comes with November. A welcoming community of testers, who were happy to embrace their sense of creativity together with Read More …

Polish Testing Cup 2017: Submarines, pointy selfies and crazy stories

From submarines to spaceships, and testing stories to solving puzzles, I am still slightly dazed with the awesomeness that was the Polish Testing Cup 2017. As I am typing this, the WhatsApp group we created is still buzzing away with crazy ideas, encouragement and pointy-selfies. There’s just something about being surrounded by testing enthusiasts, sharing stories and listening to inspiring people that makes me love conferences. That welcoming feeling some conferences exude started before the flight to Poland after a crazed run to the airport. All train traffic was suddenly redirected away from the airport and I had to hop onto another train & then quickly grab a taxi with a whole bunch of strangers who were also stranded. Frantically rushing to the gate, I found myself warmly greeted by Beren van Daele, Ard Kramer and Andreas Faes, who I’d met at TestBash, DEWT7 & the Romanian Testing Days. Upon arrival at Read More …

Eurostar 2016 – A Newbie’s Experience: Down the Rabbit Hole We Go

After four full days of meeting new friends, stretching ourselves and sharing our experiences in the whirlwind that is Eurostar, I find myself wanting to stay in this wonderland world. Luckily, I do not have to go back through the looking glass as the Test Huddle is alive and kicking online, my newfound friends have social media accounts and Eurostar 2017 is less than a year away. As memory is fickle and my handwriting tends to become illegible over time, I thought I’d preserve my summaries and thoughts on this Eurostar 2016 As a newbie to Eurostar, I nervously approached the early registration desk on Sunday. I need not have worried as I found myself greeted by the lovely Eurostar staff. That night, glancing sideways during a conversation with a colleague, we spotted some actual real-life Eurostar Speakers close by. We couldn’t gawk too much, as they immediately waved us Read More …

French

Although my New Year’s Resolutions state that I wanted to pick up my German this year, I have in fact been focussing more on my French. For five years, I studied French in high school and I cannot remember anything beyond: ‘Je ne parle pas français’. French has always been an incomprehensible language to me and I have never felt any kind of mastery. The website and app Duolingo has been instrumental in my new-found confidence in the language. I’d still struggle immensely if I wanted to talk to a French person and I don’t believe I have enough basis yet to have a conversation beyond ordering bread for breakfast or asking people to speak English, Dutch or German with me, but even that small amount is more than I have ever been able to say. Phrases such as ‘Qu’est-ce que’ no longer frighten me. In fact, I can write Read More …

Pip Utton’s Churchill

‘It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen’ — 1984 by George Orwell When the clock strikes thirteen, the statue of Winston Churchill comes to life. For this one night, this single hour, Pip Utton‘s Churchill reflects on his life, his various achievements, and his three loves: whiskey, cigars and his wife Clementine. In the space of an hour, Pip Utton paints a convincing and intimate portrait of Churchill. Starting with little jokes about his fellow statues – when it is Abraham Lincoln’s time, he always attempts to go to the theatre forgetting he will never get to see act two – and the fact that Nelson Mandela is the only statue cast in his actual colour, although the pigeons are trying to remedy this situation – he sets the tone for a humorous but serious evening. Drinking from a glass canister of whiskey, Read More …