Sun 7 – Sat 13 June
The title is a great quotation from Churchill, certainly an irascible old git at times but also a truly inspirational leader (and boy do we lack those these days). One of my other favourite quotations from him is ‘if you are going through hell then keep on going’. A week where it has been all about just getting on with everything and looking to what might be. Regular readers will know my belief that if we don’t enjoy the present and make amazing plans for the future then we might as well just give up. Problem at the moment is that I am waiting on others before I know the direction my future can move in.
The home alone weekend continues
So the previous Sunday I was still home alone in London whilst Dave was visiting his mum. And another day of summer weather. Up around 7am and out for my pre-exercise warm-up coffee then a decent jog-run followed by a lovely chilled day. Had pleasant time wandering around the Pimlico car boot sale spread across the school playground picking up some books, CDs, and clothing. Treated myself to new shorts at Gap with a one day discount email before checking out the local charity shops getting some more books and a DVD. Intermittent reading with coffee or a smoothie plus haircut and a nice pizza in the evening. Finished off with TV: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell after Antiques Roadshow.
Physical and mental challenge
Monday saw a welcome re-connection with Sara, my former work colleague and now a qualified personal trainer. We hadn’t seen each other for nearly two months due to each other being on holiday, bank holidays, and work commitments. After that to www.nesta.org.uk (a charity that actively promotes innovation) for a lunch-time talk by Cesar Hidalgo entitled ‘Why Information Grows’. A plug for his new book but I was interested because I wonder how we encourage the development and spread of new ideas and ways of thinking? Didn’t totally get everything he said but basically I think he was explaining how diversity within an economy and society goes hand in hand with more developed information networks which also leads onto economic strength. Thus why diverse manufacturing and service economies lead to better nations than ones dependent on just agriculture or mining. His opening line was great – ‘the universe is matter, energy and information, and it is only information that makes it interesting’.
Daily poo reports
No need to worry about mum this week as she is staying over my brother’s place to look after his dog whilst he is on holiday. I’m still phoning her every day sometimes a couple of times but she is basically constantly indoors with the beloved pooch. I do get daily updates on how many poos the dog has had and I am pretty sure he is being overfed. Talking of overfed and pampered… my partner went swimming on Monday evening and observed an outbreak of ‘lane rage’ in the crowded pool.
Work days last week were all day Tuesday and Wednesday then Thursday and Friday afternoons. No big external visits for a change. Had a catch up with Young Minds about the great youth campaigning project I have overseen the grant for www.youngmindsvs.org.uk. Pleased to see their funding being picked up by another funder. Also a virtual walk through a new digital platform, a very good way to understand how it works. And in the afternoon an excellent meeting with a big tech company about possibilities of working together though it was funny how sometimes one has to refer to stuff their competitors are doing as examples of better practice. Tuesday was a long day, started at 8 (and my normal crazy gay Italian café wasn’t open for breakfast) with no lunch break and ended around 5.15.
The non-such singers take me out of my comfort zone
Tuesday evening I went to St Martin in the Fields for a concert performance by a colleague who is in the choir www.nonsuchsingers.org.uk A quick bite to eat in the very busy Crypt café and then up to the lovely church. A good crowd and an interesting performance of jazz choral stuff followed by more traditional jazz numbers. My colleague had a solo on ‘Summertime’ and performed excellently. Choral stuff isn’t normally my thing, as neither is classical nor jazz, but there is something lovely in just listening to a live concert. Out of my comfort zone in a good way. My mind drifted off to my favourite task and place – planning for the future.
Forcing myself to go to work
Wed morning I actually awoke and really didn’t want to go to work. I rarely have this feeling but when I do I know it is depression again. I haven’t actually had a day off sick for over 18 months (despite chronic health problems and caring responsibilities) and key is just to get there then everything kicks in as I immerse myself in work stuff. A desk day trying to clear emails and lunch with my colleague who is on the edge of his retirement – I am so envious as he will be heading off to Spain. In the afternoon was the root of my depression, a big strategy/consultation meeting linked to a the departmental reorganisation so lots of theory talking without doing anything real. I am a person driven by getting things done rather than just talking about them – if it is not practical then for me it’s not worth bothering with. I opted out of the meeting deciding to go to the repeat session the next day. Arrived work at 8am and got away about 5pm so not bad. Wine at the local Portuguese cafe and coffee then I met Dave for nice catch up meal and to talk about changes at both our workplaces.
Oops I might have been too honest
Thursday morning off and good weather so I walked to the gym and dealt with a work phonecall (regular readers of my blog will know I work part-time but work oozes into my own time). A good gym session then into the office. Again, hard work to get motivated because today I had to attend the repeat three hour discussion. It went OK and was nice to be with people I don’t normally work with however when my boss asked what I thought I was brutally frank. One of the good things about getting older is realising time is precious and not to be frittered away; make a decision and move on. Over in the evening to see some friends who have moved into a new flat with a massive garden. Both good though one worries me because I think he is drinking too much, I tried to raise this but he became very defensive-aggressive. Hopefully the seed is planted in his mind and might lead somewhere.
Like an episode of Vicious
The end of the week was quiet. Friday, I spent the morning in the gym and the afternoon working remotely. Lots of walking to get to a meeting in Exmouth Market stopping off at Drummond St for an Indian lunch then Gay’s the Word to check out the secondhand books (I limited myself to only buying three) and catch up with Jimmy the owner; we lamented the situation with our mutual friend who is ill and doesn’t seem to want to see friends at the moment. Then meet with Cassie Robinson cassierobinson.net of The Point People thepointpeople.com who is going to be involved with supporting the Tech for Good projects to be funded. Nice meeting but she was knackered just having come back from Moscow and New York. Back to Dave’s in amazingly humid weather and spent the rest of the evening dossing on the sofa and watching TV before bed and reading around 9.30. Saturday wonderfully chilled. To gym then back to the flat to see our friends Patrick and Stephen. They had been to Trooping the Colour and are always a good laugh – me and Dave with them is like an episode of ‘Vicious’. After they left, it was really quiet. I had a doze then spent the evening reading and playing on the pooter. Saturday night TV is truly awful. Some problems sleeping because of my snooze earlier.
Health, exercise, and personal development
Real problems with my hayfever kicking in this week; sneezing and eyes constantly itching. Never sure what I can take for it without affecting my other meds. Interestingly my psoriasis is getting worse as well – I wonder if they are related? Jog-run went well on previous Sunday morning. Ran to a longer distance (5.6km), slower than normal time but not too bad. Felt good but my achilles did ache over the next couple of days. Good session with Sara on Monday – legs and core. Gym on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day 5km+ on the rowing machine plus various weight training exercises. Bad news on the weight front, weighed myself on Friday morning and put on a pound to become 13-8 🙁
Nothing really to report on digital development though I did good Duolingo sessions on five of the seven days gone.
Books and reading
I finished reading Le Guin’s ‘The Dispossessed’ which had quite an impact on me – see the separate blog. I moved onto something completely different, a Susan Hill collection of (very) short stories ‘The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read’. She is an author I admire but this was disappointing – more a collection of ideas for books rather than short stories in themselves. Since then I have been reading a book that was read for a Velvet Page Club meeting that I missed, ‘Boxer Beetle’ by Ned Beauman. A psychedelic book but also very engaging -basically about a gay Jewish boxer caught up with fascists in the thirties. I could certainly understand the uncertain response to it of the other book club members. And I listened to a couple of Dr Who stories on my ipod including Bloodtide featuring the Silurians and Charles Darwin, what a combination.