Mon 17 – Sun 23 Oct 2016
Working my paid hours and having time off
Finally last week I moved into a proper routine of only working the two and a half days I am paid for. Well, sort of. In work all day Tues and Fri plus Wed afternoon. But still with work going on outside those hours. Basically I am not sure my job is actually do-able in the time (so true for many jobs now) even with a brilliant job sharer like Nissa. The usual problem dominated of simply dealing with emails. But extra busy because of promoting our new Tech for Good fund and needing to read tenders that arrived on Mon afternoon with the meeting to agree the shortlist for interview on Fri morning.
Non-work day on Monday but too knacked to do much
I had big plans for Mon – the gym and then perhaps see a movie. However woke up at 6.30 and just felt knacked. Probably the after-effect of my Sat long jog-run then Sun gym. So I decided to have a chill day. Twas a day of coffee, pootering, and reading. Indeed I managed to finish both of my (long) reading books (kindle & paper) and started new ones. My new paper book is the diary of a woman in Berlin just after the defeat of the Nazis and Russian occupation. I love reading about alternative environments and that certainly describes the chaos of Berlin in 1945. Mon also turned into one spending a lot of time with Dave. He found me having a coffee (so much for my peace and quiet) and we had lunch together trying out a local noodle bar I had wanted to try for ages. Dave is a fussy eater and hated it – ho hum. Stayed at his place so together in the evening.
Non-work day and to the cinema to see Almodovar’s ‘Julieta’
Thurs was another chill day. I stayed over at mum’s on Wed night with Dave to keep an eye on the flat. We went out for a lovely Turkish meal. Mum’s flat is definitely colder than his. In the morning, collected some stuff from the sorting office that was too big for the letterbox. Then coffee and emails (personal and work) before going to the Institute of Contemporary Arts ICA. I renewed the annual membership previously won in a competition. And went to see the latest Almodovar film, ‘Julieta’. A definite return to form after the dire ‘I’m So Excited’. In many ways classic Almodovar – female-centred Spanish language melodrama with gorgeous shots (darling) that could be used as individual artistic photos.
Mum is dog-sitting…
Mum continues to dog-sit for my brother and his girlfriend. I check in with her every night but she has Tracie’s two children in the flat so she is totally safe. The flat is quite difficult if you don’t have a car. It’s a totally residential area with no real nearby amenities. I have encouraged mum to do a walk each day to help her knee’s recovery. Glad to say she’s doing the walks. And the dog is fine. I think mum’s actually getting to a point of looking forward to returning to her normal home as the hours drag a bit.
…and Dave is gallivanting
Meanwhile, apart from Mon and Wed evening, it doesn’t feel like I’ve seen Dave a lot of last week – though I think he would disagree. Tues evening he was doing stuff linked to the Olympic heroes’ parade and reception. Thurs he was off on a boat party for someone he knows who is leaving her job. Though unfortunately he missed the boat. Fri night he went out of London to see a play that he really wanted to catch. Over the weekend we pretty much did our own thing with me spending lots of hours pottering around charity shops and pootering around the internet. Sat night he was out at somebody’s 40th celebration. We did manage lunch together on Sat and Sun as well as Sun night in together watching Antiques Roadshow and the Strictly results. You gotta love Ed Balls purely for entertainment value.
Tech for Good deadline draws nearer
Everything is busy, busy, busy at work with our approaching Tech for Good programme.
Deadline is 1 Nov and suddenly as we get near to that all the phone and email enquiries come in plus some one-to-ones. A month to apply and everyone leaves it to the last week. Lots of interesting stuff but not always relevant to what we want to fund. In particular digital inclusion / literacy and simply covering organisational running costs to keep them going. What we want to fund is digital innovation and transformation leading to better services for beneficiaries. If you are interested you can understand more via the six projects we funded last year under our pilot programme www.techforgoodhub.org
Tuesday in the office: Rowena, HullCoin, and a culture of co-operation
Also on Tues our new, within the Grants Directorate, ‘Cuppa Chance’ kicked in. That is where two people are randomly connected to have a coffee and a catch-up. Mine was with the person I used to manage, Rowena, and she is interested in pushing tech so a good natter. Then a check-in with Dave at HullCoin about their innovative project to use blockchain to reward volunteering and then use the rewards (HullCoins) to exchange for goods and services so boosting the local economy – video explanation below. And a team meeting in the afternoon centred particularly how the four teams in our directorate can work together better. Mainly focused on creating a culture of co-operation rather than formal processes and procedures. Remember culture eats strategy for lunch!
Friday: back-to-back inter-action and seeing Philip
Similar stuff on Fri in the office with added dealing with more queries. Though the big thing was a conference call first thing in the morning to agree the shortlisted organisations to be interviewed to do a piece of research. That research is to look at ecosystems that nurture and sustain social tech / tech for good in Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s being commissioned by Comic Relief, Nominet Trust, and Indigo Trust – should be really interesting. Then at lunch-time met up with my old colleague Philip (don’t call him Phil). The same guy who now lives in Torrox in Andalucia I stayed with a couple of weeks ago. He’s over in London for about 5 days.
Wed afternoon was interesting
For three reasons:
- Tech for Good Me and Nissa met with our colleague Jacqui to sort out the application form to be filled in by shortlisted applicants at the second stage. Remember the first stage is via a 2 minute video, a one page infographic, and a 100 word summary.
- Pensions A talk at work as part of Personal Finance week. Infinitely depressing and reinforces my belief that the current baby-boomers have never had it so good (so why do they treat everyone else so badly?). I had 3 take-aways from it:
- Things change and by the time I retire they are likely to be different (like the age you qualify for a state pension)
- The wealthier you are then the better pension you will get
- If you are wealthy then there are loads of ways to avoid paying tax
- Founders and Coders Me and Nissa paid a visit to Founders and Coders in east London. This is a social enterprise that offers the opportunity for people to learn coding for free. They do this by enlisting graduates from the previous cohort to teach the new intake and involving the trainees in projects for charities and social enterprises that Founders and Coders and their agency dwyl get paid for. Useful for us particularly in directing charities to use as the developer to deliver digital change.
Some good political news
Great to wake up on Thurs morning to find out the final presidential debate was a win for Hillary. Trump was awful particularly in his refusal to say he would accept the outcome of the vote if he lost. He’s a scary demagogue with fascist tendencies (same as Farage, Le Pen and Putin). Hopefully Hillary will win but Trump has planted a cancer in the American political system that will cause problems for years. Interesting the misogyny against Hillary for simply being strong – a ‘nasty woman’. Then the by-election results on Thurs morning. Great swing to the anti-Brexit Lib Dems in Witney and all the extremist fringe parties in Batley and Spen lost their deposits. Still some fascist barracking of the winner as she gave her victory speech. I can’t help but feel Jo Cox’s death was in vain.
Health and efficiency
It’s getting like when the Head of the IOC used to say after each Olympics ‘this has been the best one ever’. Currently, each week my jog-run is improving in terms of distance. 8.5 km on Sat with a decent time and pace plus mega calories burnt. I was aiming for 8 km but felt good so just carried on. No bad joint or muscle problems though my left calf felt tight and my right knee was hurting a little bit.
No gym or other major exercise on my two days off for reasons detailed above. I did think about swimming on Thurs. Actually I don’t like it but it is good exercise and would take me out of my comfort zone. Basically went to the cinema instead. Perhaps another week.
Managed to get there twice last week – Wed and Sun morning. Former included 5 km (just over 22 mins) on rowing machine. Whereas latter was more about stretching and gently pushing muscles, especially in legs, after my very good jog-run the day before.
Books and reading
Last blog I said I was going to do a separate blog on books I had read and audio-books listened too because the blog itself was long enough without those. Well I didn’t do that simply because of being too busy. As Harold MacMillan said, ‘Events dear boy, events’. And this blog is also long enough without any extra. So I am going to do a separate books and reading blog – promise.