12 reflections and learning points from last week

Mon 9 – Sun 15 Aug 2021

My experimentation with how I present my blog continues. This week I have decided to not use the normal headings / themes. But rather to just look at the main things I learnt last week. Sometimes it’s new learning but more often it’s reinforcing what I already knew – relearning.

1. We’ve screwed up on Climate Change, Afghanistan, and perhaps men in general

The more I learn, the more depressed and pessimistic I am about the Climate Crisis. Temperatures in Europe reached their highest ever – 48.8 degrees Celsius in Syracuse. Philip in Torremolinos reports it is unusually hot there as well. Then this article telling us that July 2021 was the hottest ever month suggests we have really screwed up – read it here. 🙁 We can all still makes small efforts to help limit the now inevitable temperature rise but it really sits with governments and companies to make the difference.

Meanwhile we also learn that the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan has led to the success of the religious fanatics that are the Taliban. I feel so sorry for the women who are going to lose the gains made over the last 20 years. Though interesting that we are OK with similar religious regimes in places like Iran and Saudi – countries where women are treated like second class citizens and LGBTQ people executed. All those lives lost and money wasted for absolutely nothing. 🙁

I think the Taliban and other forms of extremism are often simply about male inadequacy – men who search for a purpose in life and are scared of women. Often also seems to be the story behind lone gunman massacres as we had in Plymouth last week. Let’s be honest, inadequate men consumed by ideologies and guns are a lethal mixture. We must do more to tackle toxic masculinity rather than tolerating or even celebrating it.

It's a crazy time

2. Dave and mum are great but I like some time on my own

My beloved partner has gone off to his beloved Germany. We both learnt how bloody awkward it is to leave the UK. Lots of paperwork to be completed but the big rip-off is the UK insistence on a test 2 days after you return which costs about £150. 🙁 This is on top of the UK requirement for a test to be taken 2 days before you return to the UK. Classic rip-off Britain, must be Conservative Party MPs’ mates and donors making money out of this somehow. 🙁

So I’ve been spending time with mum whilst Dave’s away. But I’ve also been chilling out on my own at his flat. Reinforced learning here – I love Dave and mum but I also like being on my own at times. Probably why me and Dave don’t live together yet. But I look forward to my regular Whats App calls with him to find out how he is getting on with his camping experience at a festival in northern Germany to be followed by time in Berlin, a city he adores. He really should use the time to learn German.

Do you speak German

3. I wish interviews were more interactive with a greater equal power balance

Big thing with my Tech for Good job last week was undertaking our interviews to identify the not-for-profit organisation we will be doing a big pro-bono delivery project with. They went well and it’s a shame we can’t work with all the organisations. But that’s not realistic and hard choices need to be made.

However, since I was made redundant from Comic Relief, I have learnt that interviews (for jobs and contracts) should be inter-active with both sides being treated as equal partners. Not always easy and perhaps I am being naive but that is definitely how they should be. The sort of interview I would want and the sort of interview I hope I give others. Through personal experience, I have also learnt the importance of both sides being able to give feedback afterwards especially to help guide development of the those who weren’t successful.

Also related to Tech for Good, last week I watched the online presentation on some of the latest projects done by the excellent coding CIC Founders and Coders. Good organisation doing some good stuff – find out more here.

Image of networking

4. I miss Spain (and Germany and travel full stop)

Finished reading my book about a slow train journey across Spain – ‘Slow Trains Around Spain’ by Tom Chesshyre. And it reminded me of all the things I love about that country including its outdoor culture and life that is simultaneously frenetic and laid-back. And my regular call with Philip reinforced this. He’s actually been ill but is getting better. I have started the planning to visit him later this year. 🙂

But I know it’s also about me missing travel in general. 🙁 Dave’s trip to Germany is to help quench his travel thirst. I want to go back to Berlin in particular – hopefully we will get back there before the year end. And I want to travel there at least one way by train to learn what it is like and make a small contribution to tackling the climate crisis. 🙂

Monument of Prussian victories

5. Still miss the gym but love my long walks

No news yet on a special offer reduction in the membership fee to my old gym. Somebody has suggested another option and I need to investigate that. Though not sure I have the time to do too many gym visits with work as it is now. But relearning that I love my long, purposeful walks. Several of them last week. Time to burn calories, read my kindle, and let my mind go for a wander. 🙂

6. My diet plan may be working but I am going to have to stick with it

Based on the learning from Jason Fung’s book The Obesity Code, I am trying to do semi-starvation on my non-work days. Generally working though it’s not easy. Overall, I think my weight is slowly shifting downwards – see my page recording my weight here. Slow is the key word. To lose weight I think I am going to have to really stick with it. But my target was only a quarter to a half pound of loss each week so things aren’t going to be rapid. Suppose it’s the problem of living in a society based on instant gratification. 🙁

7. Pleased the footie is back but I do miss the Olympics

Football is back and I like to keep my eye on that. I actually enjoy Gillette Soccer Saturday and Final Score. Even though, as a friend pointed, it’s just watching people watching football. I am paying particular attention to QPR who have got off to a good start. 🙂 I think promotion to the Premier League is as much a curse as a blessing but that is what modern English football is about. But, although the footie is good, it is not as inspirational as the Olympics. I outlined in last week’s blog how much I enjoyed them – read it here. Ah well, only 3 years to go till Paris 2024.

QPR old skool

8. Love the way charity shops have the ability to surprise me

I am trying desperately to minimise my carbon impact – researching and learning new ways to do this like by simply eating less meat and dairy. But I still love visiting charity shops pretty much in the same way I love checking out eBay. It’s finding those weird and wonderful things that make life fun. Though I have massively cut down buying at both.

Last week found a signed copy of the book ‘Eileen’ by Ottesa Moshfegh. It’s a book I’ve been meaning to read for ages and a signature gives a direct connection to the author. She wrote another wonderfully weird book I read ‘My Year of Rest and Relaxation’. Basically about someone who spends a year drugged out and in bed. ‘Eileen’ is also strange in that it is about a down-trodden young woman in 1960s America but the brutal honesty of the main character’s thinking is both breath-taking and quite disturbing. 🙂

9. The joy of unloading stuff in my life and living lighter

Many previous blogs feature my commitment to try to live a more sustainable life. So my concern outlined earlier about how I am going to travel without flying? Or can I do other stuff that offsets the damage I cause by flying? I don’t have a car or children so perhaps that counts. I am also getting rid of stuff – selling it, exchanging it, or simply giving it away. I was a hoarder but now I’m much more into looking at how I can offload things. And it feels so liberating. Things tie you down. I hope to reach a point when I die that some poor bastard hasn’t got the responsibility of getting rid of my old shit. 🙂

10. Life is brilliant when it’s about drinking coffee and watching the world go by

Reflections and learning from last week on how much I love decent-ish weather and the ability to sit outside with a coffee. And read a book as well as people watch and see the world go by. Indeed, I’m pretty sure I could just spend my life doing that. Perhaps that is what I will do when I stop working. Alongside slow, non-plane travel. Plus getting back to more regular exercise. 🙂

Cup of coffee

11. Doctor Who always cheers me up

One of the things I hate is nostalgia. I have learnt that things weren’t better in the ‘good old days’. And, if they were, then they’re over so it doesn’t matter. What you can take is the good things from the past and use them to make the present and the future better. Thus Brexit is nuts because it’s trying to recreate the British Empire. Better to take the best features of ‘Britishness’ and use it to make Europe stronger. However, the stupid people have won – again like the Taliban in Afghanistan. 🙁

I loved Dr Who as a kid and I still love it now. Yep it’s trashy and I am being slightly nostalgic. But it is also the most successful and sophisticated piece of British sci-fi. Don’t forget it’s been around for nearly 60 years. And it’s more than the TV series. Finished reading a collection of short stories last week, ‘Short Trips #6: Past Tense’ published by Big Finish. Stories set not fighting aliens but with the Doctor travelling to the Earth’s past. Good tales that made me think. 🙂

Doctor Who's Tardis

12. It’s great to have art and culture in your life

Before Dave went off to Berlin, we had a trip to Tate Britain – one of my favourite London galleries. No tickets available to see the exhibition by Paula Rego. So we just wandered around the permanent modern collection. Also spent some time chilling and reading. I just love the atmosphere of a good gallery or museum. 🙂


The Week Ahead

  • Another week of learning to cope without Dave. Pretty sure he’s missing me too but I hope that doesn’t stop him enjoying his break
  • Mum goes on holiday next weekend so for a few days I will really be Billy home alone (freedom!) 🙂
  • The unenvious job of explaining to to people why they weren’t chosen after interview 🙁
  • INR (blood clotting) check on Tuesday (cancelled last week) – it’s that time again
  • Meeting up with my old mate Dom for dinner
  • Hoping to take some books up to the Exchange on Tues, more unloading stuff from my life 🙂
  • A new reading book to start, not sure which one yet – this excites me 🙂

And Finally…

You’ve got to love honesty 🙂

You've got to love honesty

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