The new normality: Brexit, work and being overweight

Tues 15 – Sun 20 2019


It is quite depressing to be back – and I’m not just talking about being back at work. Cold weather rules London at the moment. However, my holiday mindset is still kicking in and I’m trying to rise above shit things as well as treat them with the contempt they deserve particularly the nutty situation we are in with Brexit.

Govt loses the vote on its deal with the worst defeat ever faced by a sitting govt but then survives no confidence. Meanwhile the clock ticks and the crisis draws nearer with no agreement on what needs to be done.

People waiting for a car crash

The interesting thing is how people think good times can never end. We’ve lived through a period of economic prosperity and peace – this didn’t happen by accident and isn’t guaranteed.

Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11, or the election of Trump? How the world can change and all the stability that was there before is thrown up in the air with who knows what happening afterwards.

Demo picture

I enjoy taking risks but there is a difference between a personal risk that is considered and doesn’t affect others. Compared to one built on bullshit that damages the lives of others; particularly young people who have to come up behind and pick up the pieces.

Books and Reading

‘Washington Black’ by Esi Edugyan

This is a book I have been interested in reading for a long time. It was only published recently but was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. And I read Esi Edugyan’s previous book ‘Half Blood Blues’ which really was very good. I actually didn’t realise Esi was a woman which made me think with both her books I have read being based primarily on male characters.

Fundamentally it’s a fantasy book. There’s lots of real life stuff like the horrific conditions slaves were kept in on the British plantations in the West Indies. But a slave escapes on a flying vessel and is taken across the world. In so many ways it is a meditation on the horrors of slavery and the inherent racism that under-pinned it. A beautiful book though perhaps slightly let down by an ending that could have been stronger.

Health and Efficiency


lady running in cold weather

Back to my beloved weekly jog-run after my break in Gran Can. Unclear how it was going to go but went OK. Cold weather was a concern but not the problem I thought it would be. Indeed I was pleased with the final result and felt good (though aching) afterwards.

I got into the rhythm and did an OK time for these days – 1 hour, 5 mins, 44 secs. Pace was also bearable at 6.34 mins per km. Indeed only one kilometre stretch where it went over 7 mins but that was one too may and close on others. Compare to other times here.


bloods taken

Wed was my big annual catch-up at the hospital with my HIV consultant. All went well as far as I know. Obviously may be different once the blood test results come back. She wants me to have an ultrasound on my liver to double-check something. And various embarrassing checks done for prostate or anal cancer as people with HIV are more at risk.

Health generally: weight

lose weight now

Very depressing to look at the scales immediately after coming back from Gran Can. My weight has ballooned to 14 stone and 9 pounds. 🙁 This may well be the heaviest I have ever been. So much for my belief that I wasn’t eating too much on holiday! Clearly the lack of activity and the alcohol had an impact.

I am trying to cut down and be more active. I’m also trying to put more fibre into my diet. So baked potatoes with no filling and oat bran being sprinkled on my food generally. Lots of walking including to and from the hospital on Wed. Looks like some progress already with my weekend weight down to about 14 stones 5 pounds.

Innovation and Creativity

Worked 3 days last week but not my usual days. Lots of catching up with my lovely colleagues (many going through pressurised times) and dealing with stuff that had arisen whilst I was away. I will look at emails whilst away but I do not respond to them unless it’s really urgent. That can wait till I come back.


Lean Impact

Couple of very good events I attended at NESTA last week. First was on Tues evening and Ann Mei Chang spoke to her new book ‘Lean Impact’ about how mission driven orgs (such as charities) can innovate. Nothing really new – she outlined her mantra of think big (set audacious goals), start small (cheap bursts of action to test ideas and be prepared to abandon stuff that doesn’t work), seek impact (‘fall in love with the problem not the solution’ – results are what matters).

Funding Innovation

Then on Thurs morning I attended the NESTA workshop on Funding Innovation, looking at the different forms of funding NESTA has given out and what they have learned. I think this is so important. The not for profit sector is so focused on grants. Yes they are important.

But our sector runs on more than just money and there are so many more ways to fund things. Lots of alternative funding options to be investigated including revenue sharing, equity investment, convertible grants, staged grants, no interest and partial return loans, and so on. Worth looking at the NESTA toolkit here especially the summary table on pages 6&7.

The future - next exit

Personal Development

The everyday stuff

Back to my normal personal development goals after the return from holiday. Some progress on language learning after the boost from being in the multi-lingual environment of Gran Can. However my bursts on Duolingo are quite small and just before I go to sleep.

Emails aren’t too bad both work and personal as I kept on top of them on holiday. And I continued to deal with them during the week. Coding practice (surprise, surprise) saw no progress at all.


So I had it confirmed on getting back to work that I will be taking my sabbatical postponed from January 2018. I paused it because I got my promotion at work after the the restructuring and I wanted things to bed in. Looks like I will be off for 4 months, April – July. Clashes with the possible start of Brexit but I can’t put my life on hold just because of that stupidity.

motivational picture

People keep asking what am I going to do with my sabbatical? Me and Dave were going to spend some time in Gran Can but after his announcement on holiday last week that he was bored, well that has gone.

Foreign travel is possible still. But I’m also thinking about an ‘at home’ option. Focus for 4 months on everything I want to do better. So really try to lose weight, go to the gym everyday, focus on getting coding practice done daily, and become fluent in a range of languages. 🙂

Male body art

The Week Ahead

  • Started watching the latest Star Trek series ‘Discovery’. It’s very good and I look forward to seeing more of it.
  • Had a big run in last week with BT who have been absolutely useless at reconnecting our phone / broadband – basically mum hasn’t had any service from them since Nov. And they are still taking money for this ‘service’ from me. Terrible customer service – going to put it all in a letter to their CEO to see if I can get some resolution and compensation.
  • The new washing machine for mine and mum’s flat arrives on Tues so I’ve got to stay in for that
  • Normal work days: Mon, Wed, Fri.
  • 10K jog-run next weekend and focus on trying to gently lose weight by subtle diet change and activity
  • I’m reading one of my favourite contemporary authors, Nicola Barker. Her book ‘H(A)PPY’ is a bit hard work…
  • Me and Dave might go to see ‘The Favourite’ at the cinema
  • Thurs evening sees a meeting with our old friends Stephen and Patrick though first I should be attending another NESTA meeting about their predictions for 2019

And Finally…

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