A fortnight to go before my sabbatical starts

Mon 18 – Sun 24 March 2019

What am I going to do with my sabbatical?

So just a fortnight to go and my long awaited (and much postponed) 4 month sabbatical finally starts. 🙂 It’s going to be fascinating to have so much free time. I haven’t had so much time off work ever. I think it will be just like being on leave for the first week or two but then my mind will adjust to the fact that I have months of this.

Question mark

It’s not running away nor is it a wasted opportunity

There was a plan for me and Dave to spend some time in Gran Canaria – perhaps a month or two. But Dave has decided he doesn’t want to do this. So my sabbatical is going to be all about my personal development. A slightly rude colleague at work commented this week that she thought I was wasting an opportunity. She’s wrong. Extended travel can so easily be like running away. It’s nice but you have to return to the real world some time.

But things will be different

With a fortnight to go, I am clear that my sabbatical is going to see changes. Can’t be sure I will have lost a stone and a half or become proficient in Javascript and Python as well as Spanish and German by the time I return to work in August. But I expect to have lost some weight, and gained some level of proficiency in various coding and foreign languages. Things will be different, mark my words. 🙂


Interviewing for the person to replace me

Doing an assessment or interview

Stuff to do at work to get everything ‘clean’ before I can go off. Interviews done for someone to cover me, as is quite normal this is looking to be more complex than planned. Highly likely the person won’t be in place before I go. So handover notes to be written and briefings to be done.

Sorting out stuff in the electronic world

I’m also cleaning my laptop drive of all superfluous stuff, making sure everything important is stored in the cloud though whether it will still be relevant in 4 months is questionable. Also, trying to shrink my inbox down to as near zero emails as possible. I must remember to put on an Out of Office next Friday after I have cleared out my locker.

Making sure my team are OK

Final 1:1 supervisions with the staff I am directly line managing took place and we agreed what they will be focusing on whilst I am away. I am lucky to have such a good team. Must type up the meeting notes next week so they are ready to be handed over to my cover person.

Health and Efficiency


different form of jog-run

A decent result on Saturday with a time of one hour, 5 mins, 20 seconds. And a per km pace of 6.32 mins. A lot better than last week (about a minute and a half better) 🙂 though in the early stages I felt it might have been even better. My times for the last 3 kms were slow including just going over the dreaded 7 mins for the very last km stretch. That never usually happens. I think lots of non-alcoholic fluids the night before may have been partly responsible for the good time. All times can be viewed here.

Yoga, massage and pilates

woman doing tree pose

My decent jog-run time may also be linked to the new exercise routines I am trying. A 1:1 yoga session on Tues morning and boy was I sweating during parts of it. Followed in the afternoon by a massage session I had paid for at Terence Higgins Trust. My masseur is tough and worked hard on my legs and glutes in particular just as I wanted.


Then on Thurs night I started an introduction to pilates course. Quite minute and focused actions but they did make me think about my overall movements including in my core, spine and hips as well as my breathing. It will be very interesting to be able to compare the impact and relationship between yoga and pilates.

Books and Reading


Dr Who

Last week’s reading book was one very recently released but fortuitously found at the local library. It’s a Dr Who adventure written by the great Dr Who actor himself – Tom Baker. But is it any good? The reviews have generally been very positive. I think that may be because the readership is overwhelmingly Dr Who fanatics (like me).

The story is fun and it is very reminiscent of the type of Tom Baker TV adventures. Apparently it may have become a cinema film and, to be honest, I think the special effects of the second half would have outwitted the BBC in the late 70s. But, in terms of writing, it really isn’t going to win any Nobel prizes for literature. And there is a slightly smug, self-indulgent air to it all being written in the first person by the Doctor himself and with a high level of preaching to the easy target Time Lords. But, overall, fun and definitely worth a read if you are a Dr Who fan.

Doctor Who's Tardis

‘The Giant, O’Brien’

The second book I read last week was by one of my favourite contemporary authors, Hilary Mantel. A woman and the majority of my favourite contemporary writers are women. Hilary is a brilliant, eccentric writer – also a bit of a mystic and spiritualist. Best known for her Wolf Hall novels, her early stuff is equally excellent as with this book.

Set in the late eighteenth century, it’s the story of a ‘giant’ from Ireland who ends up in a London freak show being exploited by his fellow countrymen. And there is also John Hunter who obsesses around autopsies and bodies. Basically he wants the giant’s body after he has died but is also himself dying from syphilis. A sad and complex novel, not an easy read but beautiful in its own way.

Details on all the books I have read (including several by Hilary Mantel) can be found here


Soho Theatre: Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo

Tues night it was out to see Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo performing ‘A Night at the Musicals’. Two ‘drag acts’ though those words really don’t do justice to the skill of both artistes. A fun, fringe theatre / cabaret style romp through some of the best West End musicals. Not the most original thing you will ever see on stage but great fun and both performers are very talented. I knew Le Gateau when I lived in Brighton – a genuinely nice and witty bloke. 🙂 Highly recommended fun.

Show at Soho Theatre

The People’s Vote March

So with just a fortnight to go until we were supposed to leave the EU, Dave was in Berlin for the weekend and I went to Saturday’s People’s Vote March. What a great atmosphere and don’t believe the crap about it all being middle class people. A brilliant variety of people covering age, gender, ethnicity, ability, and class. I stood and watched the march go past by Green Park for over two and a half hours but still didn’t see the end of it. Gave up on trying to get to Parliament Square to see the speeches.

People may criticise and say it’s a waste of time but remember the saying – ‘Better to light a candle than criticise the darkness’. 🙂

The Week Ahead

  • Wed sees our big unconference at work I have helped organise which will look at what has gone well and badly over the last year leading to planning ahead for a better future 🙂
  • Yoga on Tues morning and a massage in the afternoon with pilates on Thurs evening
  • Jog-run next weekend
  • Carry on with my current reading book – short stories by Stephen King, very good
  • Hopefully me and Dave will get to see the risque film ‘Sauvage’ on Thurs at the ICA
  • Seeing my friend Matt from Reason Digital on Wed night as he is in London
  • Try to get some language learning done in a spirit of what hopefully is to come on the sabbatical
  • Out of Office goes on Friday afternoon and that is it for 4 months 🙂

And Finally…

Thanks so much everybody 🙂


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