‘What you’re actually hearing is this wonderful porridge that memory turns into’ (BDblog Sun 23 – Sat 29 Aug 2015)

download (41)Last week was a good one. Busy not least with work (where despite being part-time I worked everyday in some form including the weekends) but also lots of other decent things happened. Thankful that the tube strike didn’t happen though pissed off that QPR lost 2-1 at home to lowly Carlisle. When I started to think about this blog at the start of last week, I realised I was overall feeling good so I did a separate write up then to try to analyse why that was – if you want to read it then please click on the link at the bottom of this page.

Health & efficiency

Bad news on the weight front. Friday morning I was 13-5 which is a 2 pound increase from my last weigh-in. I think I have put on weight not least because my purposeful walks have been so down this week. But I think 2 pounds is too much. I suspect the previous weigh-in at 13-3 was a too light blip and that old thing comes in about weighing myself before I’ve been to the loo.

download (42)However, I did motivate myself to get to the gym on Sunday, Monday, and Saturday. Some inspiration provided by last week’s World Athletic Championships (Greg Rutherford – swoon). However very limited progress on purposeful walking:

Sunday – Victoria to Oxford Circus and back
Wednesday – Victoria to Vauxhall and back
Friday – Warren St to Victoria
Saturday – Victoria to Oxford Circus and back

GP on Tuesday evening to get confirmation that the MRI has revealed problems with my left achilles plus another nearby muscle but not serious enough to need surgery (thank Gawd) and should be treatable via physio I have already started.

download (43)INR on Friday to check my blood and regulate my anti-coagulant (warfarin) dosage. OK at 2.0 (range is 2.0 – 3.0; below prone to clotting and above bleeding internal and external) so current dosage left alone and back in 3 months for next check. Do wish they would let me test at home.

Dave, family and friends

Stayed over with Dave several nights last week – good just to be together. And we enjoyed some cheap meals out, one of our key ways of keeping in touch. Stayed over with mum on Thursday night and helped her do the laundry on Tues afternoon after returning from Manchester. She’s not too good at the moment, I am really hoping the orthodpaedics appointment will make things better. And each weekday evening wherever I am I try to catch a bit of Jo Wiley on Radio 2 8-10, such a good eclectic mix of music.

One big friend catch up last week – coffee with Jamie who has written a play and had it performed. Good just to chew the cud and catch up on life especially holidays. Some good news as well that I will be having a catch-up with an old colleague Iris when I am in Berlin for Folsom as she now lives there – Berlin not Folsom that is.

Digital

Loads of stuff generally going on at work which intrudes on my time everywhere. However some very interesting discussions around digital strategy. I’ve laid out what I think we should be doing:

  • Making our own departmental culture more pro-digital
  • Working with other pro-digital people within the wider organisation to push the digital agenda
  • Linking up with other funders to incentivise digital development within the wider third sector
  • Linking up with other external organisations to provide digital leadership to the third sector
  • Providing learning and best practice around digital internally and externally

digital-388075_640Management of grants for digital delivery continues to help me develop and understand issues better. Also met up with one of the digital giants on Thursday to talk about doing work together – details in due course. And I have restarted using Code Academy which is such a bloody brilliant free resource; if you want to learn coding at your own pace then it is perfect.

Travel

Stayed over in Manchester on Monday night – interesting because the city was getting ready for Pride at the weekend. Ate my evening meal on a busy Canal Street in good weather (bad in London LOL).

Languages

Not much movement on this apart from managing to do some DuoLingo every day bar one; these sessions always reminds me how much I should know but don’t.

Books

Two very good books read last week and one interesting one. The first good one was Helen Dunmore’s ‘The Lie’ which I’ve described in my previous blog: ‘a beautifully written ghost / love story about a man after World War One basically dealing with PTSD and a love that dare not speak its name.’

The other very good one was Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’. Neil is a brilliant fantasy writer and I have loved some of his previous books like American Gods and Anansi Boys. Another beautifully written and clever fantasy story, easy to read and enjoy – basically a good modern, ‘urban’ adult fairy-story which is nothing to be sniffed at. Also a fascinating interview with him at the end of the book and he reflects well on how memory plays so many tricks with us – the quotation in the heading of this blog is from there.

download (40)The interesting book was ‘Antwerp’ by Roberto Bolano. He is an excellent modern writer. This was his first novel written in 1980 and not published till 2002. And it’s a book to appreciate in light of his later greatness. It’s really disjointed and almost note-like. At the time of writing I can see it could easily have been dismissed but with hindsight one also sees flickers of genius. Despite the title, it’s about Spain and particularly Barcelona in the late seventies/eighties i.e. over a decade before the Barcelona Olympics that so changed things. It portrays the grimness of the end of Francoism with a dodgy police force and ugly criminals. A good reminder that liberal democratic Spain (as for many nations) is only a recent thing and perhaps a message that what is easily gained can also be easily lost?

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