Mon 18 – Sun 25 Dec 2017
David Bowie “Ashes To Ashes” pic.twitter.com/4q061pG8BK
— Classic Alternative (@altclassic) December 22, 2017
Enjoy what you do
I read an article this week (tweet below) that said you only stick with things if you enjoy them. So the key is always how to ensure you enjoy something. Basically only do the things you enjoy doing or do things in such a way that it gives you enjoyment; look for the enjoyment in everything.
— Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) December 22, 2017
So I always say one of the reasons I don’t make advance in areas I want to is simply because of lack of time. The enjoyment theory would say either I don’t really enjoy doing these things, there are other things I enjoy doing more (work?), and/or I need to learn how to enjoy them better – apart from just drinking coffee at the same time 🙂
Languages, coding, emails
I do enjoy learning languages and doing this via Duolingo which I find so easy to use. Only managed it twice last week – that’s really crap. And no coding practice. This I do find a bit of a slog even though I do it on Code Academy which I feel is a fun and useful way to learn. I think I might enjoy it more if I treated it as an intellectual exercise to enjoy rather than kidding myself that I’m ever going to be really good at coding. I do enjoy dealing with emails: reading them, sucking the information out, and sharing it where possible. And some progress made last week with reducing the number of work and personal emails.
What I don’t enjoy is Brexit and Trump. It’s living through a new neo-fascism:
Future passports should be brexit brown #BluePassports
— Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) December 22, 2017
St Matthew’s carol service
I’ve extended my weekly blog to include Christmas. Seemed silly not to. Mon evening me and Dave did the carol service at St Matthew’s (Dave’s local church). A nice selection of readings and carols though sad that our friend Father Peter was away.
The Christmas weekend build-up
The whole weekend build up to Christmas was really nice. Turkey lunch on Sat with Dave before he went off to meet his mum from the train. I then spent time on Sat and Sun chilling around drinking coffee and reading my book, the latest one by Stephen King. It is very good. A little lay-in on Sun before the gym. Then afterwards I saw Dave and mum for coffee before popping into St James’ Piccadilly to listen to the choir rehearsing. A take-away curry on Xmas Eve night.
Christmas day itself
I had another little lay-in before reading my book. Then a nice long walk over to Dave’s place for lunch with him and his mum. Found a couple of coffee places open on the way. A really nice meal (though D was a bit grumpy).
Later walked back home again stopping off for coffee – thank you Pret a Manger. My brother’s kids were over and we had a nice time together watching TV. Though an early night for me at 10. According to my phone I had walked nearly 18,000 steps during the day though that only equalled 400 cals 🙁
Influencing / Tech for Good
I must try to adjust my blog reflections from just being about Tech for Good to also include my role on influencing on key matters apart from just tech: modernisation, sustainability, and climate change amongst them. But also staying true to the vision of ‘a just world free from poverty’.
More interviews and telling people good news that they had got posts in the new structure and the disappointment of letting others know they had been unsuccessful. The key thing in this process, I think, is to be kind: empathy, empathy, empathy. People want to do the best for themselves and nobody should dismiss that easily. This kindness must include telling people why their interview did not go well and coaching them for the next one. I hope I’ve been as kind as possible during this process and I apologise if I have not.
Handing on Tech for Good
Absolutely delighted that my colleague Martha got the Tech for Good job. That relief when you know you are handing on the baton to someone you can trust. Indeed, she’s a different generation to me and perhaps it is time for a fresh pair of eyes and hands to craft the next stages of how we roll out this funding.
The Tech for Good programme closed on Wed and we had 119 applications. A good number though slightly lower than might be expected probably due to the requirement to do a video application. No apologies for that, if people are ‘too busy’ then do they have time to run the project? And if they are a tech project then they should be able to make a video.
So many good people I am going to miss
An emotional week though as so many good colleagues left, taking the redundancy and a chance to move on. Fundamentally nearly everyone who wanted to stay could be accommodated but I appreciate some wanting a fresh start. I had been so tempted myself. However I have lost many good colleagues – I daren’t even try to list them in case I accidentally miss someone off and they feel slighted. To everyone who is going: I have enjoyed your companionship, I will miss you, and I wish you all the best for the future. If you think I can help with anything then try asking me – there is never anything to be lost by asking. Great to have our Kwaanza celebration organised by Pontso to see people off.
Other good business catch-ups this week
- Great meeting with Google on Monday. I’m really hopeful we can do some constructive work together in the near future.
- A round-up of techie stuff with Faye from our digital team on Wed
- Jason from Crowdfunder on Thurs morning (before the gym) to check in on our CrowdMatch programme. Very successful in that 14 of the 16 projects raised the target amount via crowdfunding. But it’s relatively small amounts (most under £10K) and a fair bit of work.
- Kieran and Nick in the afternoon to talk about their proposal to develop a new way to show the impact of funding. I hope they are successful in their quest for next stage funding.
There were supposed to be other meetings this week but they had to be cancelled due to dealing with interviews. So I will catch up with Peter from The Royal Foundation and Matt from Charity Digital News in the new year. Though, of course, I will be doing a 2 week sojourn in Gran Canaria at the beginning of the month 🙂
He’s more than a friend but I had a nice day with Dave on Mon. We stayed over at our hotel in Brighton on Sun night, having a wonderfully early night – we were both asleep by 10pm. Up early for a potter and then the 11.30 train back. And some time together chilling at his place before I went to my Google meeting. A really relaxed day together, so nice.
Then on Tues evening I met up with my old friend Dom. Lovely to see him though it’s tough for him basically looking after his mum full-time. We went to the Astral Cafe in Pimlico where all the taxi drivers go. Great food though some of the guys do moan. My first turkey dinner for Christmas. So good that I went back there with Dave on Sat (Christmas Eve Eve) lunchtime for the same again.
And on Thurs lunchtime, coffee with Jamie. He is so good at keeping in contact and making sure we catch-up regularly. I need to learn from his example for my other friends.
Health and Efficiency
I like my jog-runs, the freedom and time on my own is very attractive and I’ve always enjoyed running since I was at school. I was a very fat kid but after losing around 4 stone when I was 15 years old, one of the things I really got into was cross-country. Once upon a time I could do a 10K in 45 mins. The limiting factor in many ways now is simply my joints which ache so much, especially my knees.
Up at 6.30 on Sat and round for a coffee. It was so much warmer than last week when the cold just put me off going out completely. Didn’t even bother with my hat or long socks. And I’m really pleased I did the jog-run but it wasn’t a classic. Strange because I felt really good about it.
However the time was over 1 hour & 5 mins. The video here outlines where I think I went wrong: week off previously, gym day before, and double whisky last night. Also it was mild but breezy and I seemed to always be running into the wind. Perhaps I’m just making excuses.
3 times last week: Thurs, Fri and Sun. All good with my new 3 set routine for each body part. Though I think pushing myself on Fri before my jog-run on Sat may have been a mistake. Sometimes I do have to push myself to go but then I have the problem of wanting to carry on once there. I could easily stay exercising for an hour and a half once I get going. But apparently after 45 mins the benefits are negligible and it knacks me for the rest of the day.
Books and Reading
‘Conspiracy’ by S J Parris
I picked up this book at the library. I really enjoy just popping into a library wherever I am simply to look at the books. And if it’s a local one then it’s also nice to pick one up. I love that my borough library card is accepted at two other borough’s libraries nearby. Also that I am allowed to take out up to 20 books at any time and they can be renewed up to 8 times!
This book is the latest in the current series on the adventures of Giordano Bruno. The adventures follow his real-life travels (details here on the ever-wonderful wikipedia). Fancy doing something different for Christmas / New Year? What about a donation to Wikipedia to keep it free? It’s such a brilliant resource and keeps going via donations and volunteers. Imagine a world without it 🙁
This is actually a very good book that is wonderfully engaging. Bruno finds himself unfortunately back in Henry III’s Paris and meets the king as well as the Duke of Guise and Catherine Medici – all key historical characters. It’s a clever thriller, perhaps slightly too verbose and lots of ‘deus ex machina’ activity to hold the story together. But a great bit of historical fiction, recommended.
Dr Who audio adventures
Managed to get in a couple of Dr Who audio stories last week – definite sign that overall things were calming down in time for Christmas.
‘Moonflesh’ (fifth Doctor + Nyssa)
One of those historical adventures tinged with sci-fi that Dr Who does so well – particularly in the Peter Davidson era. The Doctor and Nyssa find themselves in 1911 England. An alien creature is on the loose and others of his species come to find him. Although the setting and atmosphere is fun, it’s not a great adventure. Indeed the story-line feels similar to other TV and audio book adventures. Also mixed in is a Native American and the mythology of his people. Very new age.
‘Tomb Ship’ (fifth Doctor + Nyssa)
A continuation of the last story in that one of the characters illegally stows herself away in the Tardis then appears at an opportune moment. The Doctor and Nyssa find themselves on a huge stone tomb flying through space. They come across a family of tomb raiders and together seek how to get through the ship’s traps to find the resting place and treasure of the God King. Good fun though it does feel like the Jon Pertwee adventure with the Daleks when he had to find his way through a tomb-like city filled with deadly traps.
The week ahead
- That ‘weird’ time between Christmas and New Year that I love 🙂
- Getting ready to fly off to Gran Can on 2 Jan
- 3 gym sessions and a jog-run
- Getting on top of emails plus doing Duolingo and coding practice – the perfect time to do this
- Aim is to get through at least three books
- And listen to several Dr Who audio adventures
My boyf’s alternative nativity scene pic.twitter.com/4P35CG3VgC
— Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) December 23, 2017