Enjoy the pleasure of being in control

Mon 24 – Sun 30 Sept 2018

Last week was one of those lovely moments in time where I sort of felt in control of things. One often doesn’t know the best times have happened in life until they are over. Same with moments when you feel in control of things. We expect and so often live in crisis so that it feels natural. But it’s not. It’s OK to have periods when we feel in control of life. And enjoy those moments.

Being strict to stay in control

One of the big reasons I felt in control last week was because I kept to my norm of only working 3 days and working on Mon, Wed, Fri so that I had a day-off in between. 3 days in the office and I was so glad I escaped being required to go to Manchester on Wed for an emergency meeting. Touch and go if I would be asked to go on Tues afternoon but then a couple of people with more appropriate knowledge than me agreed to do it.

Pleased with myself that despite the pressure during Tues, I politely stood my ground and made it clear I did not want to go up to Manchester the next day unless there really was no other option. I love Manchester but I didn’t want to dashing up on the train at 7am only to come back later the same day. And have to sacrifice everything I had arranged to get done on Wed, particularly important as I am on leave the following week (the usual dash to get everything done before you go away).

Good meetings

cartoon character secret squirrel

Several internal meetings moved because my boss was sick. Unfortunate in that some useful conversations were postponed but good because it freed me up to prepare important documents for dissemination. A good phonecall with an org we may well be doing some major grantmaking with (gotta be secret squirrel on this for the time being folks) and then work following on from this to get a firmer proposal together.

3 Good evening events: Art exhibition

Usually I am sooo tired in the evenings that I often have to cancel things I have committed to. With the space of last week and things in control, I was able to undertake 3 great evening events. Tues night, me and Dave attended an exhibition of art by children in Syria. It was a fundraiser for a charity supporting them. Organised by our brilliantly artistic friends Cedric and Alan. Some charming but also disturbing images that children should not have to see. 🙁

Classical concert

tunes in darknessWed night, me and Dave went to the Royal Festival Hall to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra perform. The LPO is based where I work and offered other people there discounted tickets for this performance. Balcony seats for £10 each that should have cost £60!

I don’t really understand classical music but I like listening to it. In bed, at night as I drift off is my favourite. Beautiful to see a full, professional orchestra in flow and my mind went to lots of different places particularly planning the time before I left for Spain on Sun.

Tech4Good Awards dinner

Then Thurs night, it was me alone to the Tech4Good Awards dinner. At the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, it was nice to have some chill time beforehand at the wonderfully confusing Barbican art centre. Meal itself was attended by people who support the Awards and winners giving updates of what they have been up to.

progress being madeA perfectly decent evening out but it is useful to reflect how slow and frustrating progress can be even with a great idea. Nice to catch up with some familiar faces. And the sticky toffee pudding for dessert was to die for. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the low calorie option.


Another thing that made me feel in control was having a holiday to look forward to. I know Sitges very well, having been there umpteen times. Indeed, Brian who has died lived there for about 10 years and I often visited him.

Went on my own as my Dave doesn’t really like it. 🙁 I think he is the only gay man I know who does not like Sitges.

Up very early on Sun morning to get the 6am Gatwick Express. And a perfectly decent but packed flight. Came into Terminal 1 at Barcelona which disorientated me as I usually arrive at T2. Got to the town by train and checked into my wonderfully elegant but old style hotel. Very turn of the century – and I mean 19th to 20th.

sunshine logoIt was busy as Sitges always is at hot, sunny weekends. So found a space to watch the world and drink wine. Back for a wee half-snooze. Then out for a cocktail at Parrots followed by a very decent pizza. Didn’t go mad, another glass of wine then bed by 11.30. Lots of gay guys about and most in couples or groups. That’s fine, this is chill time for me.

Health and Efficiency


JoggingLittle real exercise last week though I did manage 2 5K jog-runs – Tues and Sat morning. Both good though neither particularly fast. Plus my joints and muscles were aching afterwards. I had thought about going out on Thurs morning but I decided to give it a rest.

I’ve kept the option open on doing jog-runs on my holiday. I still look forward to the gym re-opening.


blood clot in a blood vesselINR reading on Fri morning to check all OK re my blood clotting levels before I go on my short Sitges holiday. Slightly under target at 1.9. So a small increase in warfarin dosage and back for another check in 2 weeks’ time. The depressing cycle of checks and med dosage changes. 🙁

Personal Development

Paperless officeDecided to focus on this on Thurs. I need to not feel overwhelmed by emails. So I spent a lot of time deleting emails including some I didn’t have time to read properly. I won’t know if they contained something important but oh well.

My beloved friend James who is now dead used to have a very senior and important job. His view on emails was that if it is important then it would be resent and he would respond to it then. Perhaps that is the best way to deal with them. 🙂

Duolingo was going well right up to Wed and then it fell apart. The busy evenings took their toll with me enjoying myself before just going home and crashing out. Hopefully time in Spain will invigorate my Spanish although Sitges sees itself as Catalan and that is what most of the locals speak. No great progress on coding practice. 🙁

Books and Reading

‘The Collapsing Empire’ – Asimov and commentary on America

A good sci-fi book from the acclaimed author John Scalzi. I haven’t read any of his stuff before but he is highly recommended and, indeed, is a very good writer. This book held my attention although it reminded me of the classic sci-fi of Isaac Asimov and, particularly, his Foundation books. Scalzi and Asimov are both about space opera with empires, emperors, aristocrats, and stellar businesses.

One of the most interesting things about Scalzi’s writing is its cosmopolitanism with many female characters, a range of racial groups, and lots of mixed sexualities / sexual orientations. A reflection of the way that America is heading (and perhaps the world) with autocrats and old fogies like Trump and the Brexiteers fighting their rearguard action to keep everything male, white, and straight.

The Week Ahead

  • In Sitges until next Fri! 🙂 Lots of chillin.
  • And lots of reading to be done as I sit and drink coffee, wine, and cocktails. My aim is to get through at least 3 books.
  • Lots of walking whilst I am in Sitges. And I’ve taken my running stuff so I can do a jog-run or two if I fancy it. Back in London, a jog-run to happen next weekend.
  • Inevitably going to deal with emails, work and personal, so I don’t feel overwhelmed on my return but they must not dominate my time.
  • Will probably focus on trying to speak Spanish rather than doing Duolingo. Hope to get some coding practice done as well.
  • Going to see my mate Jamie’s new play next Sat – ‘4 Loyalty Cards’

And Finally…

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