Every day is a chance to start again

Mon 8 – Sun 14 Nov 2021

The title of this blog is how I am feeling post-holiday. And I suppose it’s how I am feeling after the crap of the pandemic for the last 18 months (though I’m not 100% sure it is all over yet…) Yes, you can always start again. I hit on this in my previous blog – read it here. And it’s been reinforced by returning to immerse myself in normal life.

Health and Efficiency

Weight – time to start again

In my previous blog I highlighted how I wasn’t watching my weight on holiday. Came back and found the damage. I am up to the heaviest I have been for about a year – see the details here. Part of me is down but another part of me sees it as a great opportunity to start again.

I’ve had my holiday blow-out and some days last week were worst than others in terms of exercise and over-eating. But every day is my chance to try to put my weight loss plan back into action. Indeed, I’m targeting 13 stones 7 pounds by 1st Jan. And then a pound per month. So by summer, I aim to be around 13 stone.

Astute people may note that I have tried this strategy of setting weight targets in previous blogs. And I have basically failed to deliver. But as they say with addictions, never give up giving up. Each day I will start again with trying to lose weight and live more healthily. Some days will be more successful than others.

“I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.”

Mae West

Other health stuff

Last Tuesday was very much about health – starting again with the normality of everyday life. Had to have my return to the UK Covid test. Negative (of course) and £40 to some dodgy company probably owned by the friends of Tory MPs. Followed by my regular sexual health check at the hospital. And then my INR.

Knew the latter would be bad after all last week’s drinking and it was. So start again – change in warfarin dosage and back in a week’s time to be rechecked. Meanwhile, had the text about my Covid booster and that is booked in for the end of the month.

Bleeding finger

Sustainability

COP – polishing a turd

The circus that is COP finished. Not sure it was worth the carbon output when the behind-doors negotiations could all have been done online. Let’s be honest, we ain’t gonna reach 1.5. And the results will be terrible: more forest fires, more floods, more freak weather, more refugees. My only hope is that something major will change people’s behaviour and force govt hands so we can start again. But it will probably be too late by then.

Extinction Rebellion

My own little bit to make things better

It comes to something when business is doing more to combat the climate crisis than govt. As individuals, we can only make very limited impact. But we should all do our bit so we can answer the question of tomorrow’s children ‘What did you do to tackle the climate disaster?’ Doing our little bit each day is another example of how you can always start again.

So my little bits last week:

  • Tended my indoor and outdoor plants Every plant helps whether you create a small space for nature outside or bring a bit of nature inside.
  • Tried to walk as much as possible Better to use public rather than private transport. But better still just to walk or cycle places.
  • Deliberately tried not to buy things beyond food and drink. I am becoming very anti-consumerist.
  • Recommenced my policy of getting rid of personal stuff I just don’t want to own things. In fact, if I could start again completely then I would have gone through life with so many less possessions.
  • Decided not to fly to Berlin for a break between Christmas and New Year
  • Put some savings into ESG investment funds Forcing investors to find more environmentally friendly places to put our savings and pensions will mean investment will go into new climate friendly businesses.
lighter than air

Family and Friends

Dave and mum

Returned from Torremolinos on Monday and stayed over at Dave’s. He’s very tense with a big event happening next week related to his freelance work. Then he got a bad cold / chest infection – tests showed it wasn’t Covid. Also spent plenty of time with mum who, of course, was pleased to see me.

Philip, Caroline, Stephen

Phyllis followed me over from Spain arriving in London on Friday. Not sure we will get a chance to meet whilst he is here but we did see a lot of each other the previous fortnight. Meanwhile bumped into my old Comic Relief colleague Caroline (and her son) on Saturday morning. Great to have a mini catch-up. Finally, some bad news regarding an old couple of friends we know well. One is in hospital, hopefully he gets better soon.

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

Soren Kierkegaard

Books and Reading

Three books completed last week, all very different. Looking foward to being able to start again with reading some new ones next week.

Rows and rows of beautiful books

‘Firewatching’ by Russ Thomas

Finished this on my kindle. It’s a modern crime thriller but with a gay central character. Good though it did remind me enormously of so many murder mysteries you see on TV these days. Indeed, a bit like Midsomer Murders in that you wonder how much criminal activity can happen in one small place. Still a decent enough first novel and I will read the sequel.

‘To Calais, in ordinary times’ by James Meek

One of those books that disappointed me initially but came good in the end. Perhaps related to how much I was looking forward to reading this piece of ‘intelligent historical fiction’ by an author I rate. But I did find it hard work. Partly because of the semi-medieval style of writing. But particularly because of the fact that one of the main characters seemed to be able to dress as both a man and a woman with nobody noticing the difference.

Still it’s a fantastic medieval ‘road trip’ that verges on surreal fantasy. It’s set just as the Black Death hits England. Very prescient as it was written in 2019 just before the Covid pandemic. I suspect it’s a bit like an updated ‘Canterbury Tales’ – a book I haven’t read yet. The book does truly demonstrate the horrific and deadly lives people actually lived but with an element of comedy that reminded me of Monty Python.

‘Dr Who #9 Short Trips: Monsters’ edited by Ian Farrington

Dr Who is like a sedative that makes my life easier and better. Whenever I’m feeling stressed or hopeless (i.e. after COP), then I turn to the Doctor to make me feel better. Indeed, it’s great to have the new TV series at the moment. This book is another volume in the Big Finish short story anthology. Supposedly around the theme of ‘monsters’, this connection between the stories is pretty loose. More important just to enjoy the journey and reconnect with some well-known old characters.

First doctor

Tech for Good

Returned to work on Wed after coming back from holiday. Indeed, ended up working across Wed, Thurs, and Fri which is fine – happy to be non-rigid in my allotted work time now and then.

The value of face to face

Thurs afternoon was focused on a big mid-point face to face retrospective around the Delivery Project we are doing for Citizens Advice. You really can get so much out of an in-person meeting (so long as you don’t over do them). Followed by some brilliant team-building over a lovely Indian meal. Yes lots of stuff can be done online but some things like creating camaraderie, interrogating problems, and paired developing really works best with a face to face element.

Colleagues

Delighted to also start again with another pro-bono 3 week discovery project. After the one we all enjoyed with The Felix Project, a new 3 person team has started working on a new project with all the forming, storming, norming, conforming, perfoming stages to be gone through. Meanwhile, we are planning for the third and final discovery project to take place during Dec.

Promoting climate action and social justice

Me and my colleague did a lot last week to promote both of these topics at work. My co-worker Jeantine arranged a three way presentation on Wed afternoon around taking action on climate change featuring The Felix Project (food waste), Sylva Foundation (woods and forests), and Sellalong (the circular economy). Then on Friday, I arranged for the brilliant GoodGym to come in and explain their offering around doing exercise and volunteering at the same time.

a form of exercise

The Week Ahead

  • Try to start again with my weight loss effort. Also back to get my INR check done on Tues.
  • 3 very full work days and my normal routine of all-day Mon, Wed, Fri
  • Meetings to do with both the delivery and discovery projects including stand-ups, stand downs, plus show and tells as well as management meetings
  • Got some good catch-ups with external colleagues I haven’t spoken to for a while, all online apart from a face to face with my old job-sharer Nissa
  • Spend time with mum and Dave. He’s going to be tense this week with his big event plus seeing what happens with our very ill friend in hospital.
  • COP has failed so it is up to us as individuals to do all we can to push forward with sustainability
  • Looking forward to starting both a new real book and a kindle one
  • Need to start again with personal development. Failed to do Duolingo every day last week and didn’t do any coding practice on Mimo. Also must get back to doing the daily physio exercises for my knee.
  • Also need to start again with Art and Culture. Not much last week beyond soaps, a great Netflix film (The Death of Stalin), and the Charleston on Strictly – totally my favourite dance.

And Finally…

Acceptance or struggle

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