Eurovision – always one of the highlights of the year

Mon 17 – Sun 23 May 2021

May is one of my favourite months of the year. Two bank holidays and Eurovision plus good(?) weather that heralds the arrival of summer. And let’s not forget we had no Eurovision last year due to the bloody pandemic. There was a stand-in but it wasn’t the same. You can read about it all in my blog here – done during week 8 of the first lockdown. Last proper Eurovision was in 2019 when me and Dave watched it whilst on holiday in Sitges. You can read about that here.

Tuesday’s first semi

I do love a good semi. And the first Eurovision semi-final on Tuesday was great. 16 performances and only 10 could go through. Difficult as all 16 were pretty good. My favourite was Ukraine (they often submit good stuff) and it went through. I liked Australia but that didn’t get through. Neither did Ireland but I wasn’t as impressed with that one. Suspect both would have got through if in the weaker semi on Thurs.

Thursday, my second semi

Definitely not as good a selection as Tues. Lots of songs that as soon as they started you thought, ‘This is shit’. However, we were treated to the San Marino entry featuring Flo Rida which I liked. And the fun Icelandic entry from the band who should have won last years’ contest. Plus this year they couldn’t perform live because one of the ban tested positive for Covid. Both countries went through to the final. 🙂

EU and UK Flags for Eurovision

Saturday’s Eurovision final

Thank good it’s back. A sign life is returning to some sort of normal. Watched it with Dave and a bottle of champagne. And what a high quality of songs. My personal faves were Switzerland, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Iceland. I liked Italy but surprising how massively popular it was in the popular vote. No surprise how badly we did. Overall, a great night. Note to my future self – don’t forget how much you enjoyed watching Eurovision this year. 🙂

Tech for Good

Lots of stuff gong on in my new job with the main thing being getting ready to launch our significant pro-bono offer to UK not-for-profit organisations. Other great stuff from last week:

  • Meeting key people internally to understand what they do and what we can offer to others
  • Seminars and meetings about project work being done elsewhere including initiatives to help with the Covid crisis in India
  • Training in using LinkedIn augmented software as well as Salesforce
  • Catch-ups with a range of key external people in the TfG network including Dominic Campbell, Kate Adams, and Cassie Robinson
  • Attending the seminar hosted by Snook to introduce the library they have created of Design Patterns for Mental Health – have a look here
tech4good awards

Family and Friends

Mum

Spent time with mum during the week. Though she decided she would rather have an early night than watch Eurovision semi-final with me. 🙁 But I know generally she simply appreciates knowing I am around. My brother did a big shop with her which always reassures that she won’t run out of food; as if, you should see how packed her cupboards and freezer are.

Friends: Phyllis

Usual catch-up with Philip who continues to be well in Andalucia. I’m so envious of his life which is pretty normal combined with good weather. Needless to say our weather has been crap with April showers pushed into a cold second half of May. 🙁

Matt

Couple of extra special catch-ups with friends. And my tube journey there and back was the first time I had been back on the tube for about 14 months.

First, my mate Matt Haikin who is a digital expert particularly in an international development context. Great to talk tech and also our shared love of travel. Both suffering withdrawal on that at the moment. So nice to meet at an outside bar even though it was cold.

Ruth

Then onto see my old boss Ruth Davison. She’s got an amazing new CEO job. She loves the challenge and is buzzing with energy and ideas. I admire her enthusiasm but want to make sure she paces herself. Overall, a lovely time primarily sharing experiences and reflections on our new jobs. 🙂

Health and Efficiency

Walks, and aches and pains

I am still doing lots of my favourite exercise of walking. Some days I am getting up to over 20,000 steps though often getting caught in heavy rain showers. 🙁 And it clearly helps my mental health.

But I’m clearly battling the ageing process. My knee continues to be painful particularly with its ability to wake me up in the middle of the night because it is so painful. 🙁 Also did something to my back last week which meant it was really aching between my shoulder blades. Assume just muscular but bloody hurt and hard to get comfortable.

Weight – time to get serious?

As I feared, my weight is starting to creep up. A mixture of not enough exercise nor semi-fasting as well as too much indulgence particularly around snacks and desserts. We are coming to the beginning of the end of the pandemic crisis (fingers crossed) and heading to the new normal. It’s time now for me to either give up on worrying about my weight and learn to live with it. Or I need to start making a real effort to losing weight and improving my body.

INR

Part of the chronic health situation I live with is my propensity to develop blood clots. My last INR test wasn’t good. So back to the doctor’s on Tuesday to check how my clotting levels were after altering my meds. Good news – back into a good range. However, return to get tested again in a fortnight’s time.

Bleeding finger

Art and Culture

European cinema

Finally finished watching ‘Hidden’ – great French cinema from 2005 by the brilliant director Michael Haneke. A very multi-layered film that leaves you with several thoughts running through your head. Well worth reading its fascinating wikipedia page here.

Then switched to watching a Polish film from 2016, ‘All These Sleepless Nights’. Two male students wonder around Warsaw seeming to move from party to party. Both straight and falling out over girlfriends but it’s also slightly homo-erotic. Does bring back wonderful memories of going to clubs, concerts, parties, after-parties, and chill-outs. 🙂

raving

Other Stuff

  • Books and Reading Tried not to let Eurovision stop me doing reading. Truth is didn’t finish either of my two current reading books last week. Both of which have been influencing my thinking about seeing things from a nomad life perspective – see my previous blog here.
  • Personal Development A week dominated by indulging Eurovision and working hard in my new job basically took away time for PD. Language learning continues on Duolingo. But I don’t think I did anything on Free Code Camp last week. 🙁
  • Sustainability Things carry on here as laid out in my recent blogs. I’m still getting rid of possessions to live life with less baggage (literally). Also enjoying liaising with nature particularly looking after my plants at home and watching the birds on Dave’s balcony.

The Week Ahead

  • Post-Eurovision is always a bit of a downer. But we have summer to look forward to and, hopefully, more opening up.
  • Also week after next is another bank-holiday 🙂
  • I really would love to be travelling in Europe. A good few months yet me thinks. 🙁
  • Meanwhile, this week I should be launching a big new pro-bono tech for good offer. Very much hope to be able to talk all about it in next week’s blog.
  • Got to cope without my work ‘buddy’ being around as she’s on leave – Billy home alone…
  • TfG catch-ups with old Comic colleagues Amir, Dalia and Ollie as well as Chris from Nominet
  • Time with mum and Dave
  • Lots of walking and thinking. Do need to start serious planning to lose weight and get fitter after lockdown.
  • Should have news to report next blog on new reading books and more films watched 🙂

And Finally…

Patriotism is not obedience to government

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