Mon 28 May – Sun 3 June 2017
The last week before this wretched, unnecessary election and another terrorist attack. The polls seem to say things are turning against May but I haven’t got that feeling going around doing campaigning. I think she’ll win but the key is whether we can ensure the other parties win enough seats to stop her having a massive majority and running the country the way it has been run for the past couple of years. When she says ‘enough is enough’ (on the day national campaigning was supposedly suspended) does she not forget she has been the Home Secretary and Prime Minister? That she cut police numbers? That she threatens to take us out of the European shared security network? Or that she cosies up to the Saudis and Qataris including selling them arms? And as for her stupid references to the magic money tree… Presumably it’s the same one used to give tax breaks to the rich?
As Cicero said, always ask ‘who benefits?’
— Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) June 4, 2017
I was out again last week doing stuff for the Lib Dems because I think they are the most sensible political option at the moment. Leafleting down in Clapham against the vile Kate Hoey, round by where Dave lives, and in my own ward where we have a council by-election. The latter is annoying as I would like to be doing more in the target seats. But we’ve got to put up a good show locally. Did get some negative feedback as I was campaigning. One guy told me to take my leaflet back as he would not be voting Lib Dem because ‘Tim Farron is a homophobe’. I totally disagree but not somebody worth arguing with. Also been doing data-inputting in may spare time. Every little helps.
Health and Efficiency
Another week where the election, work, and general busy-ness combined to screw up my health and fitness regime. Though I also had to take time out to see the Nurse Practitioner at the hospital on Tues to check all was OK with my new HIV meds – no probs as far as I can see. So another month’s supply and back to see my regular consultant in a month’s time.
Gym, yoga, food and inspiration
Gym twice on Mon and Sat mornings. Decent workouts, nothing major to report.
Did yoga again at work on Thurs morning for 45 mins. Indeed, I wasn’t at work that day and went in specially for it. I’ve also been bold and booked in for a yoga course starting in the evenings for 5 weeks from 15th June. I see yoga as key for me in the future to try to remain supple and avoid joint pains. Couple of times last week I was awake in the night with back/neck and knee pain.
Worth also saying that I am trying to eat more healthily / cut down alongside the exercise. Putting it crudely I saw an absolutely stunning guy when I was having a coffee last Fri. He was chilling before the going to the gym opposite. He looked magnificent and I thought ‘I would like to look like that’. Probably ain’t gonna happen but might as well die trying.
Did my jog-run on Sun rather than Sat because the latter clashed with the dress rehearsal for Changing the Guard. I had forgotten how nice it is to run on a Sun round Dave’s way where so many roads are closed to cars. The tweet below says it all. An OK 5K time (though still not below 30 mins) and I pushed on afterwards. Slowly making my way back to doing the 10K.
Jog-run done. Around 30 mins 30 seconds at 5k. Felt good so carried on to do 9k. Decent enough pace. pic.twitter.com/YqDzIurdp0
— Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) June 4, 2017
After the jog-run me and Dave walked up to Soho (and back again) to attend our friend Michelle’s 60th party. It took place at the legendary patisserie she runs, Maison Bertaux. A fun event (almost a street party) and good exercise.
Tech for Good
Attended the ICT4D meet-up on Tues night at Newspeak House in East London. A great event (and a great venue) with various presentations about data related to supporting international development work. For instance, enabling relief agencies to be better able to co-ordinate their efforts and so avoid waste or duplication.
Bits and pieces
And lots of important ‘bitty’ stuff in which I have been aided by wonderful colleagues such as Martha, Claire and Donna:
- Ensuring good ongoing support to the current Tech for Good projects – details about them here
- Getting things sorted for the final wrap-up event on 24th July when the projects will share their learning and present what they have created with the funding
- Finalising things around our new crowdfunding programme including the two workshops taking place in June
Also had a quick catch-up with Sam Applebee on Thurs who runs the social enterprise SuperGlobal. He is still matching up corporates wanting to work with tech for good projects and we discussed how I could help him progress. Nice to meet someone with energy and drive who isn’t afraid to push himself forward.
And Nissa popped in with little Freddie on Tues
I managed to catch some time with her before getting off to the hospital. She looks OK but says she feels so tired. The little one was lovely and wonderfully quiet. I don’t do screaming babies. All the women in the office were loving holding him. I was too scared I might drop him. Agreed with Nissa that I would come and visit her on one of my days off down where she lives.
Also fun to have a team lunch with our old colleague Esteban on Wed who was in the area. He joined us on secondment for a few months from a large corporate partner and that finished a while ago. It was great to work with him for a few months as he investigated more support we could be giving to our projects.
The importance of safeguarding
I had to attend internal staff training on Safeguarding on Tues. You know (if you are genuinely honest) the way you always feel with internal training, ‘here we go – let’s get it out of the way’? Well this one was really interesting and useful. We went over all the issues related to safeguarding children and vulnerable people. Then had discussions around some of the points and practicalities it raised. Quite harrowing as well. Every week in the UK 2 women are killed due to domestic abuse and 1 child is murdered. How often do we hear about this or remember it. We’ve become acclimatised and the media feeds us other things to think about.
Did DuoLingo nearly everyday. Big failure was on Fri when I spent most of the morning leafleting then crashed out in the afternoon because I was absolutely worn out. I really am trying to prioritise language learning. And I have also spent more time than normal trying to practice coding. Indeed I found out about the very interesting ‘100 Days of Code’. This is basically where you commit to do a fixed amount of time coding every day consecutively for 100 days. Seems a bit daunting to me at the moment, perhaps in the future. But there is an interesting reflection on doing it here.
Books and Reading
‘Mr Loverman’ by Bernardine Evaristo
I read this book for the Velvet Page book club. I didn’t start it till the previous weekend and thought I wouldn’t finish it by the meeting on Thurs night. But it’s a great book and an easy read. The story of an Afro-Caribbean family where the father and his best friend have been in a secret gay relationship for decades. The wife doesn’t know but thinks her husband is having affairs with women. The two daughters are also quite estranged from their father.
We all agreed at the book club that we really enjoyed this book. Ultimately it was a story of a wasted life with the wife having thrown away her best years. You feel sorry for the husband who has lived a lie but he has also used his wife as a beard. But then she had an affair once and she is surrounded by unpleasant friends. And the two daughters plus the grandson aren’t really characters you have sympathy for. All in all, a wonderful story about a modern family.
Dr Who audio adventures
‘The Butcher of Brisbane’ (fifth Doctor Peter Davidson + companions Nissa, Turlough & Tegan)
This is an interesting story. It is the prequel to the TV Tom Baker classic The Talons of Weng Chiang. Basically we are filled in on how a future human war criminal and his murdering homunculus end up in Victorian London. It’s not an easy audio adventure and made much more sense when I listened to it second time around. Primary issue is the time-travelling element. But once I got to grips with it, a clever and entertaining story of mad scientists, dictators, and failed peace negotiations.
- The unnecessary general election takes place and we can move on with it over. Hopefully the Lib Dems have survived and can build for the future.
- Be spending Thurs night / Fri morning watching the results come in.
- Off to Belfast on Tues and staying over till Wed night so I can see presentations by some local Tech for Good projects
- Ongoing prep for our crowdfunding workshops and programme
- Aiming for one two gym sessions, one yoga session, and a jog-run
- Continuing to keep on top of emails
- Perhaps a massage (God I deserve one and it’s been ages). Plus also a trip to the cinema?
- Duolingo/language learning every day and some coding practice
- Another couple of books to be read – I have two on the go at the moment
- Listening to at least a couple of Dr Who audio adventures
As Winston Churchill said, ‘Carry on buggering on’
— Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) June 4, 2017