Islands in the stream

Mon 17 – Sun 23 Sept

The title of my blog is not a reference to the wonderful song by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Rather it is a way of thinking that sits in my head. Regular readers will know that I think a lot about thinking and how to view things. It’s in my nature and I can’t help but do it. Pretty sure it is why I get depressed – simply my secret power of being able to overthink everything. 🙁

Life is a river

freestyleWhat am I on about with ‘islands in the stream’? One way of seeing life is to see it as a river you are swimming down. Sometimes it’s placid and fun to be in then other times it is rapids and crazy where you keep going under nearly drowning.

Then in this river there are lots of little islands. And sometimes you can get out onto an island just to relax for a bit before you get back into the river to carry on your journey.

A crazy river

depressed personLast week, the river was wild and swimming to keep going consumed everything. Some little islands but lots of frantic trying to keep my head above water. Basically I worked every day last week for at least part of the day and then still had to give up things simply because I don’t work full-time.

There were little islands where I managed to have a break from the water. And Dave was great in supporting me. Gonna have to ask my boss for TOIL in respect of the extra work I’ve done.

A big escape island coming up

What is really keeping me going is that in a week’s time I am off for a week on my own to Sitges. Unfortunately Dave doesn’t like this gay resort but I do. 🙁 So with my forward-thinking head on, I am looking at how the new week can be as easy as possible before I fly out for some time to recharge and re-energise myself.

Natural ecosystem

Innovation & Creativity


My pattern of working just 3 set days fell apart last week. I ended up working a bit of every day Mon to Thurs. One of the things I realise is that I commit to too many things. This is particularly true of events after work. We all need to be externally facing in our work but you are judged if you are not in the office enough (‘been on holiday again?’). Of course, the fatal assumption here is that age old piece of crap that being at your workplace = productivity.

What was lost

Two things I had to bomb out of last week very sadly. First, the 1st birthday celebration for BEAM – a great new crowdfunding site to help homeless people get vocational training and work. This was on Wed evening and, having done a full day at work, I was just knacked. Second, the Data Visualisation Awards for 360 Giving (a great resource to show how funders spend their money) on Fri. Basically Fri became a much needed day off.

Amazing projects

So in work all day on Mon and Wed last week with both days featuring lots of internal and external meetings. Tues afternoon was another hack I organised for people across the org to come together to work on a common task. This time it was sourcing the best project stories in the UK for local media usage.

tech matters for AfricaWe fund some fucking amazing projects. But we’ve got to work hard to get across to people how wonderful they are and how much they deserve the money. Then Thurs afternoon, I was back in work hosting the Global Goals Africa discussion group .

Fri became a complete day-off

Dave is backWell over my 3 paid days and not counting stuff done outside work hours like trying to deal with emails. So Fri came and I decided to have a complete day-off – very much needed. 🙂

I actually didn’t know what I was going to do so spent some time having coffee and doing stuff on the pooter before going to a health spa / sauna. Great to have a few hours out doing nothing but chilling with no phone and, indeed, no connection to the outside world. Spent the evening watching the soaps and had an early night, bed by 10!

Blessed weekend

Tired man asleepHad a wonderful weekend, the type I particularly love when nothing happens. Sat was jog-run then chilling. Sun was dealing with rotten grey and wet weather but that passed as everything does.

Overall, lots of coffee shops, pootering, watching ‘Place in the Sun’ on the TV (dreams of leaving…), and mini-naps. Did some work stuff but kept to as minimum as possible.

Health and Efficiency

Weight and mental health

lose weight nowI’m noting my weight is starting to creep up again. I eat when I am stressed and busy at work. Indeed, I find the easiest time not to eat is at weekends when I am in my own head space.

But my head was a bit fucked with the pressure of work. Is it all worth it? I love that joke about dreaming of running away to be a go-go dancer but it’s not possible because I’m fat and I can’t dance. 🙁


lady running in cold weatherMy plans for a couple of mini jog-runs during the week came to nought primarily because of lack of time as on Tues and Thurs, I needed to be in the office by midday.

But on Sat I did get back to a 5.5K which was excellent. Less than the normal weekend 10K simply because I’ve had a break and need to build up to the distance again. But also my new health / weight theory, that I will try to do 2 or 3 5Ks each week rather than one big 10K. Decent time, etc – details can be found here.


recycling symbol

As I age, the more I worry about the damage being done to the planet. Indeed this feels so different to most Baby Boomers and Generation X who fall into the trap of not caring about the mess they will leave behind and focus only on their own convenience. And I feel guilty when I can’t be as good to the planet as I would like to be. But there were still small things that I, and everyone, can do:

  • Eat less meat
  • Be aware of using plastic and try to use less i.e. always carry a reusable cup and shopping bag
  • Walk wherever possible
  • Reduce electricity usage
  • Take things to charity shops
  • Buy secondhand clothes
  • Use dishwater to water the plants
  • Try to reduce consumption generally and recycle wherever possible


Personal Development

Not as bad a week as might be expected with such pressure at work. I did manage to get Duolingo done every day apart from Wed. I focus on doing some on my phone before I go to sleep. Wed night, after a full-on day at work, I was just too tired.

Even a little bit of success doing some Code Academy at the weekend. 🙂 Emails remain the bane of my life and I made slow but steady progress on trying to keep them under control.

Struggle represented by a rugby scrum

Books and Reading

‘Down for the Count’

The second book in a trilogy by Swedish author Martin Holmen. We read the first book at the Velvet Page book club to mixed but generally favourable reviews. It’s all set in 1930s Stockholm, a surprisingly grim place. And the (anti) hero is Harry Kvist, a violent ex-boxer who also happens to be gay though he does also have flings with women.

out for the countIt’s gritty and violent – like an American gangster movie but set in deeply depressing inter-war Europe. And the poverty of the period and its people reeks. All wonderfully OTT as one expects from a thriller but good fun. Harry really is someone you cheer for at one point and detest at another. Is he a violent person or was he made into one?

The Week Ahead

  • Gonna be very strict about my work days next week – Mon, Wed, Fri. Indeed, I may even take some TOIL on Fri 🙂
  • Some very good evening events next week; hopefully I’m not too tired: reception at a charity art exhibition on Tues, classical concert at the Royal Festival Hall on Wed, and the Tech4Good Awards dinner on Thurs.
  • All day off on Tues and Thurs for me to enjoy. 🙂
  • Going to try to get 2 or 3 5k jog-runs done
  • INR on Fri, hopefully no nasty surprise before I go to Sitges
  • Try to keep up on language learning & emails. Wonder if I can get some coding practice done?
  • Going to read at least one new book next week 🙂
  • Hopefully I won’t do too much damage to the planet. 🙂 Though I am on a plane to Sitges next Sun…

And Finally…

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