Sitges to London (BDblog Sun 27 Sept – Sat 3 Oct)

images (25)Last week started in Sitges on holiday and ended in London with everyday life back to its normal routine. However, when I awoke the previous Sunday in Sitges a massive storm was happening – thunder, lightning and pouring rain. Wonderfully atmospheric and very Mediterranean. It soon cleared although it was a grey for the rest of the day and no beach which is probably good giving my skin time to recover from the tanning process. Evening we ate at a popular restaurant with a bad reputation but it was actually good and we went back there on the next night for our farewell meal. I think people slag it off do so because it is cheap and popular so not as la-di-da as other Sitges restaurants. Monday was our final day and thankfully the weather was back to glorious so down to the beach for my final blast.

Back to normal

images (26)Tuesday and we had a good journey though it all started with us getting up at 6am (5am UK time) and waiting in the dark for a taxi to the train station. But overall all the connections worked and I would recommend Tuesday morning as a good time to travel i.e. re air traffic control and passport queues. Back in London and Dave crashed out exhausted. I took the holiday washing to the laundrette, had a haircut and caught up with last Saturday’s Dr Who; always good to have Davros back. Dave had migraine in the evening so I ate on my own at an Indian restaurant, a luxury because he does not like Indian food – ‘too liquidy, spicy and hot’; yep that’s a good description.

Dave, friends and family

images (27)Work on Wednesday and afterwards caught up with a mate of mine who is trying to get over something and has been having setbacks. Good to talk and I hope I can give him the support he needs when he needs it. One of the few good things about getting back to normality is meeting up with my lovely office colleagues again. Though very sad as well because my wonderful Meliz colleague left last week to go and live in Istanbul – I will miss her but it is what is best for her plus it now makes it easier for me to visit that city which I’ve always wanted to go to. So Dave’s on Wednesday evening but back to see mum on Thursday. She is not well with a cold and apprehensive (but hopeful) about her orthopaedics hospital appointment next week. We watched Emmerdale together and interesting to note that I had not seen any Coronation St or Eastenders since before I went away.

Health & efficiency

Pretty sure I will have put on weight on holiday with the lack of exercise plus food and alcohol. No real long purposeful walks in London apart from home to work and back. However, did manage to get to the gym twice. First time on Friday morning and it felt really wonderful to be back. I concentrated on weights and some cardio; the rest of the day I could feel my muscles aching – lovely. This was all repeated again on Saturday morning.

Digital and work

So work on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as well as remote working on Saturday to keep on top of stuff (very back to normal). Indeed it became all too easy to forget I had been on holiday. One of the reasons I put up with working beyond my paid hours is because I like the projects I work with and particularly digital stuff. Indeed it has been agreed the majority of my part-time working should be around digital and so I am probably going to have to lose some of the other things I enjoy doing. Wednesday started off gently with an external meeting at Big Society Capital – a social investment agency. Fun that I bumped into another colleague on the way there – the beauty of coincidence. Then to the office to catch up on a new grants programme we are doing with an external tech agency before a managers’ meeting with details on how our new strategy and staffing structure is developing. Good news that staff who have left are going to be temporarily replaced – hooray. And then another meeting about tech to finish the day.

Thursday I had a good supervision session before dealing with emails, my constant activity but not as awful as if I had not kept check on them in Sitges. Afternoon out to meeting with Chris and Paul respectively of Zing and Unleashing Potential – two interesting tech agencies. Worked on phone calls and emails related to work before and after the gym on Friday morning. download (55)We are doing another digital exploration day bringing service providers and tech experts together but this time the theme will be around using digital to support abstinence-based recovery. Friday afternoon in the office and incredible busyness due to reduced staff numbers plus a grants programme closing meaning a mass of last minute applications pouring in needing to be assessed. The latter particularly has led to a slightly comedy and manic office atmosphere. Time was also spent looking at how the current Tech for Good projects were doing as well as considering some new digital initiatives.

One legacy of my holiday is an attempt to have a new policy on work, leaving at a reasonable time i.e. no later than 5.30 because I will have lost my ability to do things well by then. And if things need doing urgently then I can do them better out of the office during the evening or weekend once I’ve had a break.

Books

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Arturo Perez-Reverte, ‘The Fencing Master’ The Spanish author I am very enthused with and his first ever book. Twas a very clever historical thriller based in the decaying society and politics of nineteenth century Madrid (wonderful to read sitting in the warmth of Sitges – but Spanish for much longer and was it ever?). I had it worked out in my head how the story was going to twist but it didn’t turn out as I expected.

Tom Rob Smith ‘The Farm’ A very gripping and easily read (despite its length) thriller about the breakdown in a family situation; it’s all about trying to work out who is telling the truth? An incredibly sad ending from the view of a wasted life. This novelist also wrote the excellent ‘Child 44’ about a serial killer in Stalinist Russia where of course as a Utopian communist paradise there could be no crime.

Clive Barker, ‘Books of Blood – vol 6’ The final one of this series that I have been reading over several months. Several strong horror short stories – two about disease, one set in Cold War divided Berlin, and one about an illusionist in early twentieth century America. With horror stories, I am always amazed by the awful things people’s imaginations can bring forth for them to write about.

And finally… Any Other Business?

  • Started back on DuoLingo with a Spanish session on Saturday before the gym (Chairman Mao: ‘The march of a thousand miles begins with one foot step’)
  • Listening on my ipod to the classic Dr Who story ‘Shada’ which I have never read or heard before
  • QPR came from 2-0 down at home to Bolton to win 4-3 with a goal in the last minute of extra time

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