Sun 13-Sat 19 March 2016
My relationship with Brighton is well described as challenging. I lived there for 12 years and moved from loving to hating it. Still gives me bad feelings to go back but a lot of my best friends are there. Two of these are the two old chaps I keep an eye on. They make a reason for me to visit Brighton each month to catch up with them and check they are OK. Down on Thursday lunchtime and had a burrito then checked into my hotel.
Weather was very Spring-like so took a walk along the sea-front catching up on the changes including most of the upper walkway being closed off, new beach volleyball courts, and some hideous blocks of flats in the Marina. Evening I caught up with the partner of my best friend who recently died. He is doing OK though suspect it will take him a year at least to work out what to do next with his life.
Bar in the hotel was being refurbished so that stopped me having a late night drink and I was asleep by 11. Woke on Friday feeling very refreshed. Coffee and messaged by an old friend who had seen me in the coffee-shop window as he was on his bus to work. On to visit the first old chap, Bob. Big notice on the nursing home front door saying no visitors due to a vomiting outbreak. I argued I had come from London and it was agreed I could enter at my own risk. Bob was fine though he had had the bug. It was cold with cloud and no sunshine, so different to yesterday. Thus we agreed to stay in his room and chat. His TV was playing up, I tried to re-tune it but I think it was an aerial problem. Onto lunch with Brian in St James St. He is doing fine though most of the conversation was about his beloved dog. It’s scary how much he spends on vet’s bills. The manager of his sheltered accommodation is leaving which is a shame as she was good. To the train station and back to my beloved London.
Books and Reading
This section usually comes at the end of my blog. But last week was dominated by a single reading book. Normally I try to get through two books per week but I was caught up in reading the monster that is Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life weighing in at 730 pages and ultimately taking me two weeks to read. Finally finished it last week and was left with very mixed feelings. An impressively grandiose fictional study of somone’s whole life, a person who faced huge burdens and carried them through his life leading to deep unhappiness. Very sad and beautifully written as it sweeps along. However, it also felt incredibly fake in parts especially the childhood and sufferings of the main protagonist. And at the same time it ultimately is a book about a bunch of rich (spoilt?) Americans. Some real stereotypes here including rich artists and film stars, court action to satisfy any litigatious appetite, and lots of wishful thinking. People live in beautiful homes, have amazing jobs, and life-long friendships. Definitely worth a read but take it all with a pinch of salt. Guardian interview with her can be read here
Moved onto a trashy short novel by Nick Maes Not Dark Yet This was another ex-library book I picked up cheap and I was largely attracted by the recommendations on the cover. Basically short enough to be a novella and an interesting plot about a man going on holiday with a woman with cancer. One of those novels that was OK but could have been so much better with more territory to be explored. I think many saw this as a promising first novel but, alas, seems he was a new author who didn’t live up to his potential.
Carried on listening to my ipod as I moved about and appreciating my eclectic music selection as well as Dr Who audiobooks. On the latter, listened to a new story and a couple I had heard before but enjoyed listening to again. The new one was Neverland featured Paul McGann and his assistant Charley Pollard who he saved from death but in doing managed to cause a time rift. The adventure was grand featuring ‘war tardises’ and President Romana but ultimately felt a bit of a disappointment. First old favourite was The Fires of Vulcan featuring Sylvester McCoy as the seventh Doctor and the extremely annoying assistant Mel played by Bonnie Langford. Doctor visits Pompeii (again) and thinks this is where he dies but, of course, is wrong. Second was Primeval an adventure featuring the fifth Doctor Peter Davidson who takes Nyssa to her home planet Traken (in a period before it was destroyed) – a curious little tale. Also caught up with a short new story featuring the first Doctor (William Hartnell) and his grand-daughter Susan. The Hunters of Earth explores that fascinating period between the two Time Lords arriving on Earth and then going off with new companions Barbara and Ian.
Another feature of last week was ‘dossy Monday’ when instead of going to the gym, I had a pottering day. A big part of the day featured me taking some books and DVDs to the Notting Hill Exchange. There an amazing coincidences happened. One of books for exchange was a biography of Rufus Wainwright I had always meant to read, never got round to and so I decided to just pass it on. The guy doing the exchange pointed out he had written the book! So I got him to autograph it and have kept it. Apparently he got a good advance but it didn’t sell well as Rufus’ people weren’t keen on it. With my vouchers I got a new Doctor Who comic book as well as Star Trek, gay, and ghost story DVDs.
In the office briefly on Tuesday to talk about the exciting HullCoin project I will be visiting next Monday. Then off with my new line manager to the launch of this year’s Tech4Good Awards at the BT Tower. Inspiring to see demos by past winners like What3Words (giving everyone and everywhere in the world an address) and Rachael Moat, the amazing volunteer of the year for 2015. Nice networking including catch ups with people not seen for a while and the chance to go to the top of the Tower to look out over London. If you have or know a great Tech4Good project then please enter these awards, entry closes 6 May.
Wednesday went to the briliant Impact Hub in Birmingham for an event by the very clever people at FutureGov on making the business case for digital and design in public services. A bit of lateral thinking for me – third sector situation is different but also has many similarities such as how to create and maintain a culture of change. Made some good new connections and had a catch-up with Ben from Stoke-on-Trent’s Wavemaker about the interesting things they are up to in encouraging young people to get more involved with digital especially around creating as opposed to just consuming.
Good train journey there and back then in the evening onto a new meet-up group.
Health 2.0 brings together people interested in technological innovation in the healthcare sector. A large group though with an emphasis on development by the for-profit sector. Generally a friendly crowd particularly of enterpreneurs including an interesting one I met concerned with promoting women in health technology. Though also a few venture capitalists looking for a way to make big profits including one I had the misfortune to strike up a conversation with who then cut me dead when he realised I wasn’t offering a new product to exploit. Will definitely give it another couple of goes.
Health and Efficiency
Gym only twice last week because of being too busy – same old excuse. Sunday and then following Saturday morning just gone (and followed by a catch-up lunch with Dave on both days). Had planned to do last Monday as well so would have been three days in a row but knackered and decided to give my body a break. Actually set off on Monday (not a work day) stopped for coffee and published my blog then thought ‘actually I don’t want to go to gym!’. Some other exercise during last week like the walk back from the Exchange on Monday (Notting Hill to Olympia) and a long seafront walk in Brighton on Thursday.
Weight down a pound to 13-10. GP on Tuesday to get meds renewed and reported my calf muscles not hurting since stopping my statin as it reacts wth the antibiotics I am taking for my sinusitis. Doctor agreed to investigate with my hospital consultant regarding taking a new statin – she needed to make sure it won’t react with my antiretrovirals. Meanwhile continuing with the nose drops and antibiotics to tackle sinusitis though the former does leave a constant bad taste in my mouth.