A week of catch up whilst we wait for things to open

Mon 5 – Sun 11 April 2021

The week of Bank Holiday Monday to mark the end of Easter, the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, unseasonably cold weather, and anticipation of the 12th April opening of primarily outdoor stuff. Meanwhile, I had good news on the job front. 🙂 And it felt like a week when I did a lot of catching up particularly with old friends. Overall, after the contemplation of Easter week (read my previous blog here), last week was quiet but one that was both tiring and satisfying.

Good news!

Well, I signed the contract on a new job last week. It’s a year long contract and I will be working part-time. Starting on 19th April. The big thing is that I can stop looking for a new post with all the effort and time that involves. I’m really excited about the new role. But it’s challenging and I am already thinking about what it will involve. I look forward to explaining more about it once I have started. 🙂

Be happy and grateful about nice things

Meeting a new colleague in real-life

And as part of the process of preparing for my new job, I met with a new colleague I will be closely working with. The recruitment process meant having five online conversations / interviews with one of those including me doing a presentation. So it was great to meet someone in the flesh to learn more about the new org and my other new colleagues. We walked around Regent’s Park as it was equal distance for both of us. And it was fun to explore a park I haven’t visited for years. 🙂

Thank you to my Job Centre Plus support worker

Had the last chat with my Job Centre Plus support worker on Friday. So nice to tell her I’ve got a new job. It’s been so good to have someone to report to on a regular basis who was friendly and there to cheer me on plus give me a boost when I felt down. 🙂

Family and Friends

The mums are fully vaccinated 🙂

More good news last week in that mine and Dave’s mum had their second vaccinations. 🙂 Both were very near to the 12 week limit after the first jab and simply received phonecalls telling them to come in. So I expect mine and Dave’s 2nd jabs will be done in the same way in May.

Took my mum on Thurs in an Uber to get hers done in Shepherd’s Bush. We had to wait in the open in a big queue of pensioners. Took about 40 minutes to get seen and mum was put out that she didn’t even get a plaster after the jab. 🙁 Indeed, the queue was full of people sounding off about having to wait as they had an appointment, etc. Why are the baby boomer generation so impatient? I blame Thatcher and the mindset that ‘there is no such thing as society’.

Let life wash over you and enjoy it

A whole host of friends

So lovely to catch up with a host of friends last week. Unfortunately none in person because they are all far away. But still nice just to be in contact again. And there were some other nice social media exchanges with friends having birthdays like my old mate Beth in Brighton and Jamie who writes plays.

Dan

First, catch up was with Dan who runs the ever-brilliant Centre for the Acceleration of Social Tech (that I helped to fund initially). Indeed, we did so much work together establishing the Tech for Good movement particularly getting funders interested in funding it. Dan is always great in stimulating ideas and every conversation I have with him leaves me with loads to consider. 🙂

Antonia

Then a zoom chat with my old friend Antonia. She didn’t want a phone call so she could see my pretty face! LOL We worked together for NACRO about 30 years ago and have kept in touch (on and off) ever since. She’s primarily consulting these days and it was great to catch up on that as well as to find out how things are with her family. She also lives in Brighton where I used to live and so we had a catch up on that.

Sue

Friday afternoon and it was a phone conversation with Sue who I used to work with at Comic Relief. She got made redundant like – crazy as she is one of the best and most competent people I have ever worked with. But Comic’s loss is British Red Cross’ gain. So good to find out how her new job is going as well as check in on some of the people we still had contact with from our time (over a decade!) together at Comic.

Philip

Finally, my regular weekly chat with Phyllis in Torremolinos. Oh God, when am I ever going to be able to visit him again? 🙁 He reports nice weather with all the bars, restaurants, shops, gyms and hairdressers open till 10.30pm. Plus also the beach. I continue to query the line we are getting here about how awful things are in mainland Europe compared to us particularly with our world-beating Covid death rate.

progress being made

Personal Development

Languages

Wish I could talk about lots of catch up here but it’s more about keeping my head above water. At least I am managing some Duolingo every day. My regular catch up is Russian though it’s not a nice place at the moment. But it is so challenging as a language without being totally alien. My German and Spanish has taken a bit of a back seat and I really need to push forward on these as well. 🙁

Tech

Again, no great strides forward. Though I continue to try to do at least a couple of exercises with Free Code Camp each day. Some days I am successful and other days there just seems to be a million other things to do (very often just getting through emails 🙁 ). Did also manage to catch up with a webinar on Tuesday looking at new trends in tech development.

If only we lived in a scientifically literate society…

I accept I ain’t ever going to be a developer because I haven’t got the intelligence or patience. But it is nice to have some understanding of what goes on under the bonnet. As has been pointed out, we are a society built and totally dependent on science yet most people’s everyday scientific understanding is abysmal. Think what kind of society we could be if there was widespread scientific literacy similar to the fascination with the tittle tattle of sport and celebrities. 🙁

Ones and zeroes

Art and Culture

Not too much cultural stuff last week though I continue to plough onwards through the second series of ‘Survivors’. I can understand why its myopic view of everyday life may have started to bore people originally. But now in the lockdown era (and with us being so used to reality TV), its humdrumness can be appreciated.

‘La Haine’ (Hate)

Did catch up with this great French movie. Made in 1995 in black and white, it’s the 24 hour story of three young men involved in disturbances with the police in the Parisian suburbs. It’s gritty realism of life without much hope and police insensitivity often expressed as brutality. But it’s also wonderfully French with weird little artistic elements that make you smile at their sheer cleverness. You can read about the film on Wikipedia here.

I’ve seen it before but it’s one of those films that bears re-watching again and again. The story really is timeless and can be transferred to anywhere in the world. Have things got better for young people? I’m not sure with the amount of violence, crime, and poverty about. And let’s not forget how they have suffered in the lockdown. Imagine spending your teenage years stuck in with your parents. 🙁

Sustainability

Plants, birds, and balconies

Plants are doing OK though clearly not liking the cold. Indoors, our temperamental succulent has taken a turn for the worse after I decided it probably needed watering despite flourishing with not having water for about 6 months. 🙁 And the birds on Dave’s balcony continue to amuse enormously. We think they see it as a bit hickledy-pickledy hedge-like with seeds and fatballs around for them to eat – see pic below (though it includes only ornamental birds, very hard to catch the real ones on camera).

The birds' playground

Offloading and looking forward to charity shops reopening

Meanwhile I continue to try to offload stuff online. I enjoy selling and the art of packing some awkward things appeals to my practical nature (I packed parcels as a job when I was younger). It is indeed fascinating what does and doesn’t sell. For the latter, that will end up at either the Notting Hill Exchange or the charity shop – though suspect both are going to be overloaded with stuff. I am determined that things I don’t need are re-loved rather than ending up in landfill and I encourage you to do the same. 🙂

One thing I am really looking forward to next week is having a catch up pootle around the local charity shops and perhaps even a car boot sale. I know lots of charities are going to be desperate to start getting income again from their shops. Though I am determined to avoid just acquiring more material crap I don’t need to replace what I have offloaded.

Books and Reading

Shock horror, nothing to report in books completed last week. I really am slipping. 🙁 I am still on catch up with the book about the adventures of the Doctor Who character Iris Wildthyme and her companion Panda (literally a posh-speaking cuddly toy panda). It’s off for sale once I’ve finished. And I am still trying to finish ‘Piranesi’ by Susanna Clarke. The Iris Wildthyme book I try to read before I go to sleep each night whilst I catch up with Piranesi on my kindle as I walk between mum’s and Dave’s.

Rows and rows of beautiful books

Health and Efficiency

Walks and weight

A bit like books, not too much to report on. Unsurprisingly, no jog-run. Will I be able to go back to this once I start working again? 🙁 However, 4 purposeful long walks within my support bubble (including one with Dave) and that was good for burning calories. Weight-wise, I remain in my ‘safety zone’ between 13-3 and 13-5. It’s all about waiting to see if my gym reopens in June and how I go forward with weight-loss / fitness once I am working again.

Sleep

Bugger, I’m back to the old problem of waking up early. Pretty sure it’s to do with the lighter mornings. Basically I’m waking up around 6 or 6.30. I can lay in bed drowsing for a bit but ultimately I am awake so I get up around 7. It’s not a major problem in that I am a morning person. But it is making me tired later in the day and I am trying to avoid getting into a habit of taking an afternoon catch up nap as that can’t happen when I am back at work.

woman lays awake in bed

The Week Ahead

  • My last week before I start my new job…
  • Aim is a chill week and no planned catch ups with friends bar Phyllis
  • Must get the Iris Wildthyme and Piranesi books finished
  • Really must also try to get my language and tech learning a bit more up to speed. Suspect when I start work that I will have even less time to give them.
  • Some webinars to look forward to including on Universal Basic Income, Digital Fundraising, and Retirement Planning 🙂
  • I have started watching a new classic French film, ‘Lacombe, Lucien’ and I will continue my catch up on ‘Survivors’
  • So looking forward to going back to the charity shops 🙂 Suspect the outdoor bars and eating places will be too busy to get a space at in the early days.

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