Different otherwise what is the point?

Mon 17 – Sun 23 Dec 2018

The joy of being different

There is something really nice about being different. Not fitting into the stereotype or not doing what everybody else is doing. Life is very short and who wants to fit in too much? Is conformity really a great legacy?

Same shit different day

That lovely Xmas & New Year fortnight

But what I am referring to with the title of this blog is the period of time each side of Christmas and New Year. That fortnight we are currently in when things are different, life is not normal. And it’s great. People chill, time off work, lots of alcohol. I love the uniqueness of this period. Like the other night when I awoke really thirsty and got up to make myself a cup of tea before going back to bed. I never usually do things like that, too obsessed with getting back to sleep and making sure I am rested enough for the next day.

Eddie Hall

It’s going to be longer this year 🙂

And the exciting bit for me this year is that this different period gets to last longer. I pop back into work on 2nd Jan basically to do a handover to my job-share Dilhani before buggering off with Dave to Gran Can till the middle of Jan. Gay Disneyland for 2 weeks. 🙂

Gran Canaria Hotel Neptuno

Innovation and Creativity

Definitely not a normal week at work but a fun and creative one. Especially in bonding us together more as a team. And some interesting use of my days off.

Tombola on my day off

Tues was my day-off but I went in to run the tombola in our staff Christmas Fair. We run the fair every year and it’s an opportunity for people to sell their home-made goods and raise money for good causes. The tombola was very popular with people keen to win some of the donated prizes though not all prizes were serious. The few bits left over were then taken to the charity shop.

Tombola prizes

Where the money went

We raised £257.35 which was split between the 5 charities we support at Christmas through donations of cash and objects they need – it’s our ‘Reverse Advent Calendar’. We also gave some cash to a young refugees’ project we usually give some money to each year. The 6 charities got £43 each. 🙂

Cancelled MP meeting

Wed, me and Dilhani were supposed to be meeting Stephen Twigg MP. He is Chair of the Parliamentary International Development Group and I actually went to university with him. But his office phoned and cancelled due to stuff happening in parliament around Yemen. It’s been re-arranged for us to meet him in late Jan. These things happen but did mean I had to wear my suit and shirt all day in the office. I find suits and shirts so uncomfortable and impractical.

The last day in the office

Fri was a great day. Supervisions and meetings for the week all over, it was a chance to simply get through emails – actioning some and generally cleaning out my inbox. A wonderful feeling ensued. 🙂 We did pop out for lunch as a dept, those of us around for the last day. The plan was Nando’s but they had a fire in their kitchen and had to evacuate. So food together at the Winter Food Market in Vauxhall, I had a French Taco – a pancake of chicken, beef, cheese, chips, and sauce. Actually quite tasty. 🙂

tech matters for Africa

Health and Efficiency


Out as usual on Sat morning for my weekly jog-run. An OK but not brilliant one. Time was 1 hour 6.09 secs. What was really frustrating was going over 7 mins on a couple of km stretches. 🙁 A good jog-run is where all my km times are under 7 mins. Surprisingly mild weather though a bit windy. All my times can be seen here.

different form of jog-run

Books and Reading

‘Take nothing with you’

Struggled through this Patrick Gale book though ultimately it was worth it – I think. As I said in last week’s blog here, I find Gale quite hard work – twee and middle class. This book is incredibly well written but it’s primarily about a kid finding out he’s gay and falling in love with playing the cello – subjects I am tired of and that I don’t find very engaging.

Getting through it was a slog. But in the end it came together well. The minutiae details on cello playing were particularly tough. And the conversion therapy bit felt rushed and under explored. Plus the romance with the soldier is a bit Mills and Boon. As you may guess, there’s lots of things going on in a good but curiously unbalanced story.

tunes in darkness

Personal Development

The emphasis on this week being different meant my language learning failed to improve. In a way one might expect different times to lead to the ability of doing more that you love. But time was taken up last week with just other stuff happening.

No great progress on languages apart from a bit of learning on Duolingo (1/5). Nothing at all on coding practice (0/5). And emails went backwards apart from my big work email catch-up on Fri (2/5).


Old work colleagues

Last Tues night I had a meeting with my old boss Adam. He’s a good bloke and there was a group of us that went out who used to make up the team he managed prior to the re-organisation at the end of last year. Adam took the redundancy offer and is working at an exciting tech for good start-up Elbi.

Met up around Waterloo and effectively got through a bottle of wine each during the meal and chatting afterwards (woke up in the middle of the night with a headache 🙁 ). Always great to see old colleagues who all seem to have been able to make a good transition and move on successfully in life. Making me think about it if is my time to move on? I will use my sabbatical in just over 3 months’ time to consider what I need to do next. 🙂

Dozing bulldog


Coffee on Thurs lunchtime, my day off. J is so good at keeping in contact though neither of us could work out when we last met. We talk about holidays, work, exercise and J’s plays. He’s probably going to do some more monologues in the new year.

The Week Ahead

  • It’s Christmas! Dave’s got his mum down until Thurs. Xmas day itself it will be me and Dave + the 2 mums for lunch at the UJC – Union Jack Club in Waterloo. A veterans’ place, it’s great for them.
  • Theoretically we should be getting broadband installed at mine and mum’s new flat on Xmas Eve…
  • I will have a lot of time to myself as Dave looks after his mum including taking her to a panto and the cinema. Lots of me-time for chilling, coffee and reading. 🙂
  • Looking forward to some good new books to read
  • Also going to see if I can get some more personal development stuff done than has been happening as things are meant to be different
  • Big jog-run at weekend, perhaps little one before during the week
  • Catching up with old mate Daisy on Thurs. Looks like before dinner we will be off to see our old friend Peter in hospital. Another old chap is on his way out. 🙁

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