So my task is to make sense of quite a crazy week. The key features of last week were finishing Folsom in Berlin, having a midweek trip to Edinburgh, and spending time in London on my own as Dave had to go to his mum’s for a family funeral. And it was a manically busy week with work commitments plus I had another little head wobble.
The previous Sunday came and because I didn’t have a wild Saturday night out so I could get up and walk to Tiergarten again, stopping off at Romeo und Romeo for coffee on the way. This place had been a gay bar for most of the twentieth century though the Nazis as a statement converted into a party office – photos are available of this horrible time. It returned to being a gay bar but became quite seedy (rent boys, etc) before it was converted into a cafe about 3 years ago. Good weather and a chill day including pottering on my pooter and having coffee with cake in afternoon. Evening out for burger and ice cream. And I showed Dave one of the amazing things I had found earlier, a plaque showing where Christopher Isherwood lived 1929-33; on Nollendorfstrasse, a street with lots of old grand Berlin apartment blocks. He probably drank at Romeo und Romeo when it was a gay bar.
Scotland for work on Thursday. An important digital meeting before travelling at lunch-time. Everything was extremely tight in terms of timing but it worked – bus to Victoria, train to Gatwick, plane to Edinburgh, bus to hotel, quick shower and then to reception at the Scottish Parliament for SeeMe – the national campaign against discrimination and stigma based on mental health. A friendly reception and good to catch up with the staff and volunteers of SeeMe; ‘Walk a Mile in my Shoes’ Chris giving a rousing speech. After had a nice curry then back to the hotel and fell asleep watching the television. Up the following morning and flight back.
Health and efficiency
A crap week exercise-wise simply because I was too busy. I only managed the gym on Saturday morning just gone and some long, purposeful walks (i.e. around Berlin) but nothing major. 13-5 weight mid-week so I stayed the same yet again (story of my life LOL). However I did have two patches of health problems, one physical and one mental.
I have always had a dodgy tummy, think it runs in my family. And stomach trouble kicked in Sunday night leading to very poor quality sleep. Meant I didn’t eat anything for most of Monday. But I was exhausted by the time I got back to London (flight delayed due to poor weather). I was supposed to go to an art party in the evening but was just too tired. Dave went alone and bought some art – he assures me it wasn’t too expensive and I will like it; it has been created by a friend so I may have to remember that when I see it and if I am not mad keen on it.
My self-imposed insistence on doing a good job is often a key part of my mental health problems. Our planned work restructuring has been postponed but meanwhile people have left without being replaced including my lovely colleague Laura who I started off doing a job-share with. We left are taking on more duties especially reading applications, writing assessments, and signing off other people’s assessments. I am going away on holiday next week so there is a mass of stuff to get through before I leave. I am so looking forward to the break though I suspect I am going to have to do some work whilst I am away to keep up. And the pressure of work means limited progress in other parts of my life, for instance on language development with no time to even do DuoLingo last week.
The wobble during last week I put down to pressure of work and lots of rushing about. It happened in the digital meeting before my lunch-time flight to Scotland. Early in the meeting I paniced because I didn’t have my diary which is an absolutely key item for me – it goes everywhere and is key to everything I do. I knew I wouldn’t be able to cope until I located it so I calmly left the meeting and retraced my steps. No luck and couldn’t find my mobile as well. I went back to meeting and it was pointed out my phone was on the table. But I still couldn’t relax so left again, did another search and found the diary. I was then able to rejoin the meeting. I worry how this appeared to the other people in the meeting but I had to get it sorted and I did manage to keep my calm.
Dave, family and friends
It was really weird last week because Dave wasn’t there once we got back from Berlin as he had to attend an important family funeral. Strange to not have him around. Tuesday I stayed with mum because I had not seen her for a while as well. Great when Dave came back on Saturday evening and I had gathered a small pile of presents to welcome him back including a new picture he loved.
Generally I am fine with my own company and not at all an anti-social person. However, when I travel I like not to talk to people simply because I like the time to read. On my Scotland travels I had several people talk to me and I actually took the occasion to enjoy those conversations and learn about the other people. I met a couple of ladies from California holidaying in Scotland whilst having a coffee in Starbucks, a Navy officer travelling down to London whilst in the plane queue to board, and a man going down to a wedding who sat next to me on the plane back. Only thing was on Friday, when this was all happening, I was so tired after my busy week that I don’t think I was performing at my best. Got back to Dave’s, who was still away at the funeral, then went to my favourite charity shop to relax and picked up several vintage magazines.
Monday in Berlin I met up in morning with Iris who works for Apps for Good, a great organisation getting young people into coding. I first met Iris about two years ago when she was based in London. She has now moved with her family to live in Berlin and run Apps for Good’s international work.
Tuesday and Wednesday were my two main office days last week. Tuesday morning, Nissa and I met with a group of academics to consider doing a digital design challenge where we get third sector organisations and students working together to develop new digital product/service ideas – exciting. And a lot of work was still going into the planning for the upcoming digital exploration day around financial inclusion as well as checking on the progress of our latest Tech for Good projects.
Books and reading
Most of my reading time in Berlin was spent on Arturo Perez-Reverte’s ‘The Dumas Club’. I have raved about him before in my blogs as he is a very good Spanish thriller writer who incorporates clever twists. This book would suit best people like myself who intrinsically love books and literature for themselves. Also a great plot about how we impose solutions and connections that sometimes don’t fit (a theme he’s followed in other books alongside the idea that the reasons for terrible things are often very mundane.). He’s an author I have recently discovered and want to explore more.
Then the rest of the week (when I had time beyond reading work stuff like grant assessments) I was reading Terry Pratchett’s ‘A Blink of the Screen. Collected Shorter Fiction’. A collection of Terry’s various short pieces put together just before he died, including some from when he was a school kid and others before he became a successful novelist. Some interesting things to note: early touches of brilliance but also some weak early writings and ideas that took more than two decades before they were worked up into better book ideas. Very heartening to us ordinary mortals. And some fab new drawings by Josh Kirby, famous for his iconic covers of the original Discworld books.