It’s always about making a trade off

Mon 10 – Sun 16 Jan 2021

I am still ploughing onwards and dealing with the January Blues. But we’ll get through. I said in my first blog of the new year how I was not going to give myself a hard time by over-committing – read it here. Plenty of stuff happened last week as normality got into swing. And it was a case of making a trade off in many situations, not doing one thing so I could do another. Hard choices but not taking those often makes things worse.

A trade off at work

A big trade off is that I have taken up the offer to extend the contract on my current job until the end of this year. So I can stay doing a job I enjoy in the area of Tech for Good which I feel so aligned with. But ultimately I also want to work less and shift towards a sort of semi-retirement.

My co-colleague is on a well deserved sabbatical from Feb to May. But once she returns, I will go down to 2 days pw from the current 3. There’s clearly a trade off here of more free time but less income. But that is what I want to do so I can focus on other aspects of my life especially around exercise, health, learning, and personal development.

Health and Efficiency

Back to the gym, goodbye to the physio

Delighted to report that I have gone back to the gym. 🙂

I had planned on Thurs morning to do a physio gym session for my knee. And then go to join my old gay gym / sauna taking advantage of its new year lower annual membership rate. However, the physio was ill so the gym session was cancelled. Indeed, we had a telephone review the following day and agreed that I would stop seeing her but carry on focusing on the exercise routine for my knee.

Thus, Thurs morning I went straight off and joined my old gym then had a work-out. And it felt great. Quiet because it was a weekday mid-morning. Also nice to spend time afterwards in the sauna and jacuzzi. My plan is to go to the gym on Tues and Thurs mornings when I am not working.

dumbells in the gym

And I hope that more exercise will develop especially when I go down to 2 days pw at work. I still want to go back to jogging at some point, I almost certainly need to start with a ‘Couch to 5K’ routine. Perhaps even some swimming as well. And I think this could help me start to get my weight down.

It is a great feeling to be back at the gym. Particularly to have that aching muscles feeling the day after. However, as with all things, there is a trade off. I have sunk a big chunk of money into membership and I will only get VFM if I go back to regular attendance. Also means I will have less time to do other stuff but returning to the gym is something I have wanted to do for 2 years.

pain from back problems


I have to attend lots of medical appointments to monitor my chronic health issues. It’s a trade off of spending lots of times in waiting rooms in return for the hope that I will live longer. And this week it was INR again to test my blood clotting level. Just over range so propensity for internal bleeding. Thus adjustment in my warfarin dosage but mercifully not back for 3 weeks.

warfarin tablets

Books and Reading

Not only a good week in going back to the gym but also good that I finished three books. There’s always a trade off in that the time spent reading could be used for something else. But I honestly can’t think of a better way to use time than to spend it reading.

‘Deliverance’ by Jason Bray

I wrote about this in last week’s blog which can be read here. The ‘factual’ account of an Anglican deliverance minister whose role is to banish poltergeists, ghosts, and evil spirits. Some interesting stories though nothing too dramatic. It is good that the author acknowledges how people’s personal situations and mental health are often the clearest explanation of the events that they think are happening to them.

‘Paris after the Liberation: 1944-1949’ by Anthony Beevor and Artemis Cooper

This one has been on the go for a while. And it’s totally factual which is quite unusual for my choice in books. It’s the fascinating story of Paris after the Nazis were expelled. How a city was liberated, people punished, guilt addressed, and a society rebuilt.

These is something fascinating about how change comes through chaos. Indeed, the trade off for uncertainty and conflict is often creativity and newness. It feels a bit like that now in the UK. With the ongoing chaos and uncertainty unleashed by Brexit, Covid, and Climate Change alongside political corruption and instability. Possibly leading to some of the most interesting times we have ever lived in. I still think the UK is in long-term decline but at least it’s interesting to watch.

The importance of books

‘Execution’ by SJ Parris

A fun and well written historical fiction thriller. The 6th installment of the adventures of Giordano Bruno as he investigates another conspiracy against Elizabeth I. All a bit silly and OTT with a central role being played by the Queen’s Spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham and his family.

But it is a clever book in how it portrays the fragility of Elizabeth’s hold on the throne. And the very real threats to replace her with Mary Queen of Scots as well as reintroduce catholicism as the state religion. I have also written before of how Bruno was a real historical person. A revolutionary thinker who was stateless and ultimately ended being horrifically burnt alive at the stake. More can be read about his tragic but inspirational life here.

Personal Development

This is definitely an area where there has been many a trade off. I would love to spend my time learning but there just ain’t enough time. So I have to decide what is the most important thing to attend to and not give myself a hard time about what is foregone.

No Code

I wrote in my previous blog here about how I am doing the 100 Day No Code Challenge. And I reviewed how the first week had panned out. Unfortunately, last week I was not able to spend so much time as previously doing the exercises. However, I am still required to review how it has gone.

  1. What were your key takeaways from this second week?

Being introduced to more No Code software although I wasn’t always able to do the exercises.

2. What did you enjoy most from this second week?

Video tutorials – the easiest way for me to get up to speed with software.

3. What do you want to dive deeper into or learn more about in the coming days and weeks?

When I have the time I want to go back and do the exercises. Plus I still need to think about how I might use this knowledge of no code for practical purposes.

Man with binary code projected on his face


I aim to get a Spanish lesson done every morning. But sometimes I am not in the mood or don’t have enough time and the trade off is that I miss my lesson. That happened 2 days last week. So 5 lessons done out of a possible 7. But I ain’t going to give myself a hard time. I just do my best and sometimes things don’t work out.

Art and Culture

I would love to immerse myself in more art and culture. But the trade off of having to work and to keep an eye on mum is that I can’t. But did have a big cultural event last week.

‘The Mousetrap’

To the theatre on Saturday to see the longest running play in the world. Written by Agatha Christie, it has run for about 70 years – though obviously with a hiatus due to the pandemic. It was lovely to go with our two friends who have recently lost their partners.

Live stuff generally isn’t my thing. I’m more a fan of books, cinema, museums, and galleries. But it was enormous fun to see this classic piece of theatre. A great experience – England in the 1950s, a very clever piece of writing, and a fun single stage setting. And obviously I can’t reveal the plot as that would stop people going to see it.


Family and Friends

All good news on the mums front. I spend a fair amount of time with mum and that is a trade off meaning I can’t spend time on other things. But it’s important to look after your family whilst they are still there. This is something me and Dave both believe in.


Great to report that I managed the first big friend meet up of 2022 last week. My old mate Dom on Tues night for a nice relaxed, slow brasserie meal catching up on what we have been up to. Trade off was missing soaps and an episode of ‘Digging for Britain’. The latter can be caught up on i-player so no big issue. Dom is well and we spoke of our various plans and thoughts for the future.

The Week Ahead

  • Normal 3 days at work. Lots about working with my co-colleague to ensure I have the knowledge for the period when she is on sabbatical
  • Gym visits on Tues and Thurs morning. My knee was aggravated a bit after the latest session so I need to ensure I exercise it properly but don’t over do it.
  • Three new books on the go. First, a collection of Dr Who stories. Second, Roman detective fiction by the brilliant Lindsay Davis. Third, contemporary gay fiction by Bryan Washington.
  • Continue with a daily Duolingo language lesson. And try to keep up with the No Code daily challenge. Trade off is I keep up but won’t always be able to do the exercises themselves.
  • Time with mum and Dave. Must set up another meet with one of my friends. Never seems to be enough time but need to make it.
  • Carry on with my personal campaign to exist more sustainably particularly by living a lifestyle less damaging to the environment. I’m still getting rid of stuff.

And Finally…

Our Future is Greater than our Past

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