Berlin and Liverpool

Mon 16 – Sun 22 Sept 2019

Berlin at the beginning

Mon & Tues were marked with Dave and me finishing our time at Berlin Folsom 2019 (details on the previous week there can be found here). Mon was officially the last day but on Sun there was already the sound of cases on wheels trundling over pavements as people returned home. This reached a crescendo Mon morning. So it was lovely for me and Dave to have an extra day for winding down.

Chilled Monday

Big German dept store

Didn’t do anything major with the day beyond chilling. Lots of coffee, wine and reading. Dave had seen some pots in Woolworths for his beloved balconies. Apparently types of pots that can’t be bought in London. So we bought those and put them in our bags surrounded by dirty clothes. 🙂

Also the obligatory trawl around KaDaWe – Dave’s favourite posh department store. Finished it all off with traditional German food at ‘Elefant’. Same place we ate on our first night so it started and ended there. Don’t know when we will be back to Berlin, perhaps not till next Folsom. 🙁

Back to normality

Tues was a perfectly decent flight back from Tegel to Heathrow. Fun that our check-in corresponded with a high ranking visit by somebody from Serbia. Lots of army, police, and an official reception committee at the airport. The afternoon was all about unpacking before me and Dave ate at his local Portuguese cafe that always makes us feel like we are on holiday.

And then Liverpool

Well known Liverpool Victorian waterfront buildings

Wed back to work. Spent mainly catching up on emails. In the afternoon to Liverpool. One of my favourite UK cities with its culture combining art, faith, and proletarian solidarity. Me and Dave did a long Liverpool weekend during my sabbatical (details here).

Modern buildings on Liverpool dockfront

My hotel was a bit ‘shabby chic’ including the scuzzy backyard view. To arty Bold St for dinner at a fun Greek restaurant. I think the students had just started back; everywhere was busy. Back to the hotel for Coronation St and crash out.

Showing an MP around 2 great projects

Up on Thurs and out for coffee before the big event. I was meeting up with Liverpool MP Stephen Twigg to show him around two projects we fund. Really good visits. Both women’s projects – one dealing with the maternal mental health issues of female refugees and asylum seekers (many who have been trafficked), the other supporting local BME women particularly dealing with racial and sexual harassment.

How do we create empathy?

Some harrowing stories from the projects but also stories with successful outcomes. A key question – how do we create empathy? How do we make people want to give money to support projects helping people facing difficult times?

What does the future hold?

It’s so easy to paint MPs and politicians as different to ‘us’. Stephen’s a great guy with high emotional intelligence and the ability to communicate easily with people. He’s standing down at the next election and it was fascinating to talk about future options. I’m also thinking about what I am planning to do in the future.

Back to normality again

I left Stephen to attend a residents’ meeting in his constituency. Whilst I walked across Liverpool to the train station. Perfectly decent journey back though had to move once due to no seat reservations downloading so it being unclear who had reserved seats and who didn’t.

Next day was Fri and after the gym then I was in the office to catch up on emails again and to do one of my team’s supervision. Didn’t partake in the Global Climate Strike though some of my team did. But it had my firm support.

A summary of 2016


Brilliant to see Em and Trish

Fantastic on Sat when me and Dave met up with my old friends Emma and Trish. They live in Hobart, Tasmania now – having moved there several years ago. Don’t think we have seen each other for 4 years. But they were in the UK for a couple of weeks and came up to London especially to see me and Dave. We had a great lunch at the Union Jack Club and then coffee on the South Bank.

The weather was great, the last sunny Saturday of 2019 me thinks. Popped round to see the Savoy Chapel where Dave wants his funeral to take place but it was closed. 🙁 By then Emma was pretty knacked and didn’t fancy walking to Victoria so they jumped the tube. Me and Dave walked back to his place.

Next stop – Australia

So great to see Em and Trish, they are always such good fun. And it’s inspired me to think that me and Dave must go to Australia to visit them. Time to put my thinking cap on and make sure it really happens. Perhaps in 2020…

Health and Efficiency

Gym eventually

Bit of a disaster week in terms of exercise. Nothing happened till the end of the week due to Berlin and Liverpool. Fri and Sun it was back to the gym. I love getting back to it and both days were good all over body workouts. Fri 2 people in the gym with me, Sun I was all alone and stayed for over an hour. 🙂


animation of a fat man running

Sat morning was my first 10K jog-run in about 3 weeks. Didn’t happen the previous 2 weekends due to Jane McDonald and Berlin. 🙂 An OK time of just over an hour, 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Funny little aches and pains in unusual places – left groin and right glute. Amazing the way the body tries to thwart us. Pretty sure I can get that time down though the mornings are getting cooler and darker.


Sort of back on track after my Berlin blow-out. I did feel like I had over-eaten a bit and my scales suggested this was the case. However, by the end of the week the signals were that my weight was still below the psychologically crucial mark of 13 and a half stones. 🙂

Books and Reading

No books completed in the week gone. 🙁 I’m still ploughing through Brian Aldiss’ mammothic ‘Helliconia’. Nearly 1,300 pages. I’ve gotten more than halfway. 🙂 And I’ve been reading ‘A gentleman in Moscow’ on my kindle as I move around. Over halfway through that as well. Two very different books but both engaging.

The Week Ahead

  • Big feature of next week is culture. There are 3 concerts at the South Bank focused on Weimar Germany. I am going to all 3, Dave is accompanying me to 2 and my mate Dom to 1.
  • Normal work days; I think it’s going to be all about emails and meetings
  • 10K jog-run next weekend weather permitting. I really should do a 5K midweek but I am worried about aggravating my achilles, it’s giving me twinges. 🙁
  • Gym at least 3 times, possibly even 4 or 5. I really need to think about going back to yoga and/or pilates to give me suppleness.
  • Got a massage at THT on Mon afternoon with my favourite volunteer masseur. Shame I will have to rush to get to the South Bank concert afterwards but that’s life.
  • Be nice to finish Helliconia and Gentleman in Moscow. Probably need to start the Velvet Page book so I’ve definitely read it in time for the next meeting.

And Finally…

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