In control – for the time being

Mon 26 Nov – Sun 2 Dec 2018

Less than a month till Christmas, and then in the New Year me and Dave are off to our beloved Gran Can. I have no doubt this partly explains my good mood at the moment. Yes, I am back in one of those phases where I feel pretty chilled and relatively in control of things. The main thing I am in control of is work. Only 3 days per week but it does disproportionately affect my emotional wellbeing. If only I could go back to baby Billy and bring him up not to define himself by work. But that is impossible and I live with the repercussions of the psychological framework that I and others have built for me. 🙁

Personal Development

I never normally put this as one of the first things I write about in my blog. But why not this week as I have this feeling of being in control? 

  • Emails 4/5 : No way am I from being totally on top of these fuckers. But during the last week I have made some useful strides in getting in control of both work & personal ones. Perhaps the Xmas-New Year break will be my chance to really devastate these. 🙂
  • Duolingo 3/5 : I’ve started to do some in bed again before I go to sleep. But I tire easily, often being asleep by 10.30pm. So I have accepted I might not get as much language learning done as I would like each night. And that makes things a bit better – the recognition that little is better than nothing. Did have a bit of fun one night when I changed my new phone’s keyboard to write in Russian which meant everything in my phone was in Russian and it took me about an hour to work out how to switch it back.
  • Coding practice 0/5 : The big failure as per normal. No way am I in control here. But I’m still going to leave it as something to aspire to.
The Kremlin

Health and Efficiency


I had set myself up for my jog-run on Sat morning but when I went out for my warm-up coffee, it was raining. No point in being stupid so I put it off till Sun in the hope the weather might improve. And Sun morning the weather was OK, indeed surprisingly mild. Pleased to say I had a good jog-run coming in with a time 2 mins faster than the previous week. 🙂 Don’t forget all details can be seen here. 


Losing weight

I really do need to lose weight. And it’s not about exercise (no news on my gym re-opening, rumour now is Jan 🙁 ) – rather it’s about me improving my diet. Eating more healthy and lowering my fat (and calorie) intake. But God it gets harder and harder as you get older. Almost to the point of not eating at all and nothing happens! 

lose weight now

Books and Reading

‘The Wandering Earth’

Finished this book of shorter stories by Chinese sci-fi writer Cixin Liu. Very good though he does tow the party line. Semi-propaganda for the ‘Chinese way’ in the vein that so much other sci-fi is the same for the ‘American way’. But still wonderfully imaginative stories. And delightful mixtures of darkness and light, optimism and pessimism.


The joy of sorting books

I did spend time on my day-off on Tues sorting through books moved from the old flat to the new. There is something lovely about going through a pile of books to remember what intrigued you to buy them. And to have the exciting feeling that one day you can read them. But also the sad realisation that I probably ain’t gonna have time to read everything. Unless I was fully in control, junked my paid work, and spent my life reading somehow finding a way to survive but just focusing on my beloved books. 


Eating less meat

Didn’t do that much last week to save the world. What I am noticing is that I am definitely eating less meat. Often I can have a day without meat and I don’t feel I’m missing out. I don’t know if I feel healthier but my conscience feels a bit better. 

Fruit and veg

Innovation and Creativity

Engaging with power

Not the most creative week of my life last week. Lots of emails to deal with and paperwork. Did have success in reaching out to an influential MP for us to talk to and try to bring into our orbit. The importance of the third sector engaging with power beyond just running around after contracts. 🙁

Great colleagues, the need to de-stress, and the value of review

Also general stuff around looking after my team and other colleagues. Stress affects people and it is so important to always try to de-escalate stressful situations. Not giving in but rather being strong and enabling others to have a way out of the cul-de-sac they may have painted themselves into. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am so lucky to manage and work with some great people. Particularly good to have a review of Red Shed, our social investment initiative. I’m not a navel-gazer but a review of what has happened and a planning seesion for the future are useful every now and then. 


DfID’s digital strategy

Attended a briefing on DfID’s digital strategy on Wed. That was really interesting and echoed much of what we had realised in pushing our Tech For Good funding strategy. I do worry that the third sector isn’t really grabbed by the exciting opportunities that tech offers. That they view it as a way to allow them to carry on as they have always done rather than giving the opportunity to upend the whole stupid system.  

Culture and Friends

‘Postcards from London’

Tues afternoon, Dave and me went off to the ICA to see this film. Surprisingly busy cinema. I drifted off in bits of the film as I am prone to do whenever I go to the pictures. The film itself is a strange one. A homage to Derek Jarman, it’s the very artistically told story of a young man who goes to London and becomes a rent-boy as well as an art connoisseur. All quite silly and self-indulgent but sort of rescued by a very sexy lead actor. 

Institute of Contemporary Art in London

Dom and Richard

Thurs evening and it was great to catch up with my old friend Dom and his friend Richard. Two great guys and we had a fun meal with 2 bottles of wine for the price of 1 – what could go wrong. 🙂 Talked a lot about care of parents as Dom’s mum has gone into a home. But it’s a good one and she is happy. 

The Week Ahead: 

  • Slight change in work days – off on Fri to be able to attend our Directorate away day on Thurs. It’s all about wellbeing and celebrating achievement 🙂
  • In the office on Mon and Wed. For the latter, my job-share Dilhani is back and it will be nice to catch-up though in-between back-to-back meetings. 🙁
  • Seeing Annika Small from CAST for coffee on Fri
  • Looking forward to starting a new reading book and to the Xmas meeting of the Velvet Page book club on Thurs
  • Gonna do Duolingo more regularly and keep on top of emails
  • Might get my ears suctioned this week as they are starting to feel blocked
  • Big jog-run next weekend and may buy new running trainers as my current ones are a bit knacked
  • Me and Dave off to the Royal Festival Hall on Sat for reduced tickets to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra

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