Alicia and I met last weekend just opposite the library in Ely where her husband Paul was helping at a Code Club session. She is a quiet member of the PiWars team but has been doing loads in the background with the social media side of things all despite having two children and working as a scientist.

She and her family became members of Ely Makers because of the dearth of family groups available in Ely. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since we met and I can see that this is not merely a matter which is of import in Ely but everywhere… We all know that joining clubs is brilliant not only because it gives us somewhere to go and something to do but also because of the social side of spending times with other people. I guess I mentioned this when I talked about meeting Arvind but joining a club is just about one of the best things you can do to increase your level of happiness and longevity.

Alicia mentioned that they’d investigated lots of other clubs including martial arts classes but that they all had separate sessions for young and old people. (I did say that I once attended a Judo club in Royston which had mixed ages and was throttled by a 12-year-old girl to almost the point of unconsciousness – but that’s far too embarrassing a story to relate here… oops). At Witchford Archers we have some younger people but rather than having sessions for younger and older people, we dictate that no child should attend without a responsible adult also being present… This restriction has meant that we have often gained adult members once children discover other things. Alicia found that one of the few clubs which had members of all ages was Ely Makers and this is something that goes almost without being remarked upon.

She is also one of the few people I know who is as enthused as I am with Web Development and she has studied extensively with Udacity. Not only has she graduated from a Nanodegree with them but she is also becoming a Mentor there, and I can only envy her prospective mentees as she’s kind as well as extremely knowledgeable. I’ve been working in the field for nigh on a decade, and her fierce intelligence and breadth of up-to-date knowhow put me to shame. I think that this is something that ages people: those who have learnt Front-end Development recently are lucky regarding the sheer amount of improvements to standards since I initially dabbled with HTML… It’s no longer a matter of asking how to do something, but rather a matter of choosing how to do something. Should I use a grid-based layout or flexbox… ho hum?

It’s the science that gets me interested though. I know a few scientists, and I’m always a little in awe of them, I put that down to reading far too much old Sci-Fi and having thus developed an unreasonable respect for people who know how the universe works. Along with that she and her children are also able to speak Spanish and are learning Japanese.

It’s the concentration of families that I took away from our conversation… that and an appreciation of the place games play in the social interactions of children. My kids used to talk to people all over the world, usually while shouting, “Noob”, or, “Head-shot”, at the top of their lungs. It seems that the communication which starts at school continues into the evening while playing games. Those without access to the games seem to be almost ostracised, and the circle of people who you play with has shrunk to those you already know socially. Having never been a gamer I’d not know, but that seems to be a shame, I think I’d prefer to belong to a “Clan” which was widely dispersed and allowed me to have an appreciation of a wider world. Oh, and Fortnite is so last week; all the young kids are playing Apex Legends this week.

Dom’s PiWars contribution – Alicia