Mon 19 – Sun 25 June 2017
The week when the temperature went into the 30s. I love the heat but you have to change your lifestyle to accommodate. In particular doing stuff less frenetically and trying to do things when it is cooler in the morning and evening whilst being inside for the hottest time. After all, we are not on holiday though should a good life be where we treat every day like a holiday?
Plus last week was Glastonbury. I have no wish to go, I’m too old to shit in a hole in the ground and go without a shower. But I love lying on the sofa with a good book or my pooter and it all happening in the background on TV.
Health and efficiency
I’m not dying but my boyf thinks he is
Completed my recovery from being ill though still coughing stuff up in the morning. Dave got it bad and has been prescribed anti-biotics for a chest infection. Thought they weren’t meant to be prescribed any more? And the GP didn’t tell him to lose weight so not sure how good a GP he is.
Down to 2.9 which is within range. So reduced daily dosage and back again next week. I am in the cycle of weekly checks until everybody is totally happy that everything is under control following the change in my HIV meds.
Yoga and breathing
Again didn’t make the work yoga session on Thurs morning. Largely because I had loads of stuff on and didn’t want to be charging here, there and everywhere. I did got to the yoga workshop in the evening. The point of this is to start at the beginning with something I already know a little bit about. But lose bad habits and learn good habits. We concentrated a lot on breathing and I think that is important to me. I have a crap habit of breathing through my mouth whereas I need to learn to breath through my nose taking deeper, longer and slower breaths. I do think that would help my physical and mental health.
Gym and jog-run
Two gym sessions, on Fri and Sat morning. The former included a stint on the treadmill and then a focus on core/leg exercises. The latter was about core and upper body.
Jog-run on Sun morning. It went well though not a fantastic time. Pushed myself on to do a full 10k.
— Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) June 25, 2017
And on Fri after the gym I did treat myself to the long-awaited massage at my gym. I had a slightly surly masseur called Mitko from Bulgaria. However a fabulous massage and not too firm as I requested. I don’t think I fell asleep whilst it was going on (I always feel a bit cheated when that happens) though I did make a funny noise at one stage which surprised him. The sort of groaning noise you make when you wake up – slightly embarrassing.
Tech for Good
Last week’s theme was crowdfunding
A week very much about crowdfunding – using the internet to raise money. Mon I attended a useful discussion on crowdfunding particularly with evidence from the GLA / Mayor of London of their matched crowdfunding programme. That is when a grant is offered alongside crowdfunded money. This is the programme we are planning. So on Wed I oversaw our workshop for projects we are funding who are interested in having a go. Basically if they have a good idea then we will give them a grant up to £10,000 that they have to match via crowdfunding for our grant to be paid. The overall advice from others who have done it is that it is worthwhile but hard work. Then on Thurs a meeting to sort out the legal and operational aspects of our new programme as it is very different to how we normally do things.
Queen’s Young Leaders
Tues was not about tech for good but rather supporting volunteering – something else I really believe in. I was up at 4.30am so I could be at Gatwick by 6am. I was meeting 10 Queen’s Young Leaders coming in from the West Indies to do a residential with other young people from across the Commonwealth. And I was assisted by two brilliant volunteers from Buckingham Palace. We met the first lot around 7.15 by the time they had got through immigration and collected their bags. Then waiting at our ‘base camp’ in Costa’s till the next lot arrived around 9.30/10. We made sure everyone was fed, watered, etc and eventually located their coach coming with other volunteers from Heathrow. They were finally off around 11.15.
A lot of waiting unfortunately and then they were on a two hour journey to Cambridge. But I don’t think there was an easier way to do it and it was easier than ferrying people off in taxis as they arrived last year. Fascinating that some volunteers had never previously left their islands although they were running fantastic projects in those places. And they were all dressed not for a heatwave but as though the temperature was going to be really low. Sadly one had to delay her flight due to a tropical storm, I’m hoping she was able to make it the following day.
Going on in the background particularly with me working remotely which is the way to take things forward:
- Sorting out the wrap-up event for our current Tech for Good projects on 24 July.
- Planning a conference workshop with some other big funders and investigating possibilities of sharing funds to create new Tech for Good joint-programmes.
- Talking through with Shift about their new research on the phases of development of a tech for good project and how funders can best intervene to support with resources.
- Preparing pilot workshops to take place in July with broadcast and creative professionals working with projects to make and use video better
Duolingo done every day bar one which was the crazily busy Thurs. And only a little bit of coding practice done. One thing I did do last week was submit my formal request for a four month sabbatical next year. Hopefully it will be granted and I need to start being clear with myself how I am going to use it.
I did meet up with a couple of good friends. On Tues evening I met with my old colleague Fang Fang from Church Urban Fund. She looked great and we had a lovely evening at the local Korean restaurant followed by coffee. Lots of good conversation about her love of the Adriatic and the current state of both of our spiritual selves – we are both on rests from church.
Then on Thurs morning I met up with my friend Dom who I know from working with Abstinence-Based Recovery projects (linked to Russell Brand). Twas a bit embarrassing as I forgot we were meeting and it was only his phonecall that rescued it. That is the second time recently this has happened. Is it a sign of too much on or early signs of senility? Great to see Dom and share our visions of what we would like to do in the future.
Books and reading
I finally finished the two books I had on the go that I have been saying I would finish for the past couple of blogs. Both very good and recommended.
‘The Lost City of Z’ by David Grann
This was non-fiction which I don’t normally read and didn’t realise till I started reading it. All about Percy Fawcett – last of the Victorian explorers though he was operating many years after Victoria’s death. Very stuff upper lip and British Empire building where involves taking over places people live to exploit them economically and culturally with missionaries trying to convert them to Christianity.
He explored the Amazon at a time when the general view of Amazonian Indians was that they were just savages. And that there was a long-lost civilisation that must have been started by white men who ended up there by accident because the Amazonians themselves could not have done it. The book jumps between then and now but has much really changed with the rise of the loggers destroying and exploiting the forest to plant crops and graze cattle? I have not seen the film of the book (with the delicious Charlie Hunnam) but according to the internet it is actually pretty good.
‘All That Man Is’ by David Szalay
A really good collection of nine sort of interlinked short stories that feature men at different phases in their lives. It’s all set in contemporary Europe and, if anything, suggests the commonality of men’s lives across the continent. However in many ways it’s a book about the failings of masculinity. These are all men who in some way have failed or are failing. Almost stories that say men’s lives are largely wasted. This is not to say it is not true of women but the stories reflect on the hang-ups men have around being masculine, in control, and successful. I really enjoyed it though in many ways it is simply a book all about failure.
Dr Who audio adventures
‘The One Doctor’ (sixth Doctor Colin Baker and companion Mel)
An old adventure I was catching up on and what a cracker. A real comedy number featuring Christopher Biggins as a fake Doctor. Pure slapstick as the Doctor and Mel find two imposters claiming their glory. However they are all then pushed into a challenge to find the treasures of a threatened group of planets. Hilarious stories such as around the Shelves of Infinity. A great line from Biggins ‘I’m not spending my last ten minutes alive putting up shelves!’.
- Another INR check. Hopefully we are heading towards stability.
- At least one yoga session on Thurs
- Two gym sessions though probably no jog-run because…
- …Me and Dave have got a leisure weekend away in Birmingham
- A catch-up with Nissa and other colleagues about plans for next year (hopefully I will be on sabbatical for a large part of it)
- Meetings with some new people about new ideas and potential new collaborations
- DuoLingo everyday and some coding practice
- Getting through at least one book
- Listening to at least a couple of Dr Who audio adventures