The tumultuous last fortnight is over and my head is in a better place with a greater degree of certainty about the way things will pan out at work. I don’t think till one’s been through a negative period that you appreciate how much your life sits on hold and there is the need to get everything back in working order afterwards – message here for the UK with the coming negativity that will come with the EU referendum whatever the final outcome. I suppose the big incentive is to try to make things better than they were before, basically to innovate.
Back to Brighton
A feature of getting back to normal was going to Brighton to see my old chaps, a monthly duty. Down previous Sunday lunchtime and met up with my old work colleague Alison. She’s having a hard time at the moment but it was lovely to spend time with her and her kids in the children’s library where they were free to move about and make noise along with the other little ones. My friend Rob couldn’t meet in the evening so I decided to spend time on my own fundamentally just to recharge my batteries. Used the free hotel wi-fi then out for an underwhelming studenty Chinese meal before finishing the night with a drink in the hotel bar and my latest reading book.
Out the next morning to see Bob in his nursing home. It was cold and raining but he still wanted to go out like an ‘Andy in the wheelchair’ sketch from Little Britain. Wrapped him up well and pushed him down to the local cafe to sit undercover and watch wet people scurrying past. To Tesco’s and then back to his room. He’s OK though is going to be moved to a smaller room almost certainly without the nice garden view he has at the moment – sad. Then a bus to meet Brian for lunch at our usual cafe. He was fine with lots of the conversation concentrating on the tribulations at his sheltered housing unit and tales of his beloved dog’s illnesses.
Mum, Dave, and Eurovision
Spent Monday night after Brighton with mum and then saw her again on Friday morning. Her knee is still bad, pretty sure we are looking at major surgery later this year. Evening meetings after work on Tuesday and Thursday meant it was easier to stay over at Dave’s place on those nights. And on Wednesday we met up for dinner at the nice Portuguese Cafe Tejo nearby to him. Friday night together was spent watching Eurovision You Decide. I love Eurovision and my two favourites for our entry were Joe & Jake and Bianca. Pleased to say J&J got it. Nice, modern song though I don’t think it can win – to be honest don’t think any of the six up were capable of that.
Living legend – Jimmy Choo
And then on Saturday night Dave and I went out for dinner with a living legend – Jimmy Choo. As ‘wow’ as meeting Dame Barbara Windsor a few months ago. We went for a meal in a restaurant organised by Dave’s artist friend Annie and there were other guests including another very successful businessman. Fascinating to catch up with Jimmy about how he stays so fit and healthy – a big part of which is centred on proper breathing and inner energy. Chinese and Malaysian culture are fascinating, must go to visit one day.
In the office all day last Tuesday and Wednesday plus Thursday and Friday afternoon. A couple of internal review meetings to examine how we fund projects rather than just what we fund. OK but I’m always wary about too much introspection. A lot of my time was spent sorting stuff out for the meeting of my wonderful abstinence-based recovery projects next week. And then the wrap-up event for some of the Tech for Good projects the week after that. Did manage a catch-up lunch with Harry Harold of NeonTribe on Wednesday. Harry, Rupert and the team at NeonTribe are good guys and have played an important role in developing our Tech for Good work. They helped create DocReady (a tool to help young people talk to their GP about their mental health) which last week passed 50,000 users.
Strangely much of my digital emphasis last week took place outside work. Pleased to say that I re-started on Code Academy (and Duolingo) – using the former to continue to explore HTML and CSS but also start on JaveScript. Then on Thursday night went to a meeting of WordPress London – a group found via MeetUp. I used to attend a group called WordPress User Group London but that seems to be sadly defunct since the previous organiser Eugene gave it up. wpldn has been going for a while but always felt a bit too techy. Decided to give it a go and glad I did but it was quite techy. Not unfriendly but made me realise I’ve still got so much to learn.
On Tuesday night I also had a digital outing after work by attending a social event for the Digital Charities group on slack.com (organised by Unleashing Potential). Nice to catch up with colleagues from the Tech for Good sector and get to know some people better. Finally, I also started to develop my profile on LinkedIn I’m not looking for a new job but it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for ages and it will be something I develop over time rather than trying to get it perfect in one go.
Health and Efficiency
Because of Brighton and work commitments, I managed only two gym sessions – Thursday and Saturday mornings. Plus some long walks such as Monday in Brighton and Saturday night getting to the restaurant. My yo-yo weight went back up a pound to 13-9. Think I just need to accept that until I do something radical then my weight is always going to be around that mark.
Books and Reading
Two books read last week and two listened to.
Read the final book of Asimov’s trilogy Second Foundation Actually possibly the best book of the three. And the whole trilogy made more sense with this. The trilogy is actually quite magnificent with its sheer grandiose sweep across hundreds of years. And the ideas thrown up when it was written (1940s and 50s) are quite wonderful such as the idea of humans that have become just thought without the need for physical bodies. Not going to rush to catch up on any more Asimov at the moment though.
Then a bit of safe and easy reading with Dan Kavanagh’s Putting the Boot In The author is actually Julian Barnes using a pseudonym. Another third book but this time about the adventures of ex-policeman and bisexual private investigator Duffy. A juicy read set in the mid-eighties especially brought alive with the internalised hysteria of AIDS. And refreshing in that the story isn’t all neatly bound up – a bit like real life.
Another couple of Dr Who audio books listened to on my ipod as I got on with living particuarly when I am walking around. Both of them Lost Stories – possible scripts that never happened on TV but have been made into audio stories by Big Finish, a fascinating company that creates new stories for popular characters. However neither story worked that well for me and I think I need to re-listen to them at some point in the future. The first was The Rosemariners featuring the wonderful second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe then The Children of Seth with the fifth Doctor, Teegan and Nyssa.
And finally, priority booking opened last week for Flare – the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at the BFI. I normally really go for this and try to attend quite a few films. However, it turns out I am going to be away for a lot of the time this year’s festival is happening and there aren’t many films I want to see on the days I am available. The shorts are always great but they sell out straight away. Perhaps this year I might not get to any of the films at Flare which will be sad.