One and two years ago

I am trying to do a review each week of progress (or not) in my life based on comparing where I was one and two years ago. This is possible in that I have kept a regular weekly blog for over two years now. I messed up last week due to lack of time. So my analysis here is of the broad fortnight period covering mid-August. This review provides stimuli to my current thinking as well as some nice reminiscences.

One year ago

We are not indispensible and life is finite

Dying lionBlogs can be found here and here. Looking back it was the first time I had the definite news that one of my best mates James was dying. Sadly he’s gone now. Just goes to show that despite whatever happens life continues. ‘The graveyards are full of people the world could not do without.’ I always thought Oscar Wilde said that but apparently this is not the case. The history of this quotation can be found here.

Some things never heal properly

Dissected achillesA year ago I started seeing a physio about my painful left achilles and I am still using his exercises to keep the pain under control. Don’t think I am ever going to eliminate the problem fully. This is similar to my right knee pain. Part of the ageing process I think is the failure of some things to heal fully. Though looking back I had my wrist injury and that healed up about 90%. Still get twinges in it but nothing compared to what was.

Digital then

Geometric patternWe were doing some digital exploration days with small grants for ideas coming out of these. Looking back at the results and impact this was a good model. Must think about doing some more in the near future. I was also looking into projects planning to use data to influence policy. It is interesting the number of things in the digital realm that have enormous potential but we are still waiting for them to fully deliver i.e. big data, internet of things, artificial intelligence. I do like a reflection I made then which is still very relevant now:

‘It’s a crazy society we live in where we are so dependent on science and digital technology yet so few of us comprehend it.’

Selfridges BirminghamI was also visiting some of my brilliant abstinence-based recovery (ABR) projects such as Focus 12, Nelson Trust and Changes UK. Linked into visiting the latter in Birmingham, I also paid a visit to the brilliant Impact Hub founded by Imandeep Kaur. Great to see that is going from strength to strength. Similarly I am still fascinated and impressed by the commitment and optimism of ABR though my ABR projects will be finishing their funding within a couple of months.

Odds and sods:

  • I was concerned that my weight went up to 13-5 but then the following it week down to 13-3. Lots of long purposeful walks, was that the secret of my weight loss?
  • It was very clear to me of the importance of maintaining my relationship with Dave and not screwing up a long-term relationship again. I still believe in that. I want us to be together for the rest of our lives.
  • Decided to make a change in the way I do my blog to make it ‘less linear (daily) stuff and more updates on the areas of my life I want to make progress in’. Good advice leading to common sections I now use like Health & Efficiency, Digital, Books and Reading.
  • Mum had her first orthopaedic outpatients appointment and now we are on the edge of her operation.
  • QPR were on a winning streak then and are the same now.
  • Books read included Soldiers of Salamis, The Long Mars, The City and The Pillar, Station Eleven and one of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. Particularly remember Long Mars as it is part of a series written by Stephen Baxter and the genius Sir Terry Pratchett.
  • I was listening to the classic Dr Who TV adventure The Curse of Peladon and had watched Luis Brunel’s classic film Los Olvidados.

Two years ago

PoppiesOriginal blogs can be read here and here. It was the time of the death of Robin Williams. It still feels painful and I, like everybody else, miss him so much. Life without him around is so much worse particularly in these grim days of Brexit, ISIS, Putin and Trump. Indeed my ‘Wonkers of the week’ then were Boris Johnson and Vladimir Putin – some things don’t change.

The fragility of normality

I was reflecting on the pleasure of ordinariness in everyday life compared to the chaos of places like northern Iraq, eastern Ukraine, and Gaza. Good to see that one of the ‘problem’ areas then was West Africa with Ebola but that has been resolved albeit with a legacy. Perhaps the message is that disease is easier to sort than war? It was also the remembrance of the start of WW1 and I went to see the brilliant poppies installation at the Tower of London.


Trying to do just the work hours I was being paid for. Do feel like I’ve got a better handle on work now. Also I was visiting the ABR projects whose two year grants were just starting. And there were work related visits to Birmingham and Glasgow. For the latter, I managed to have a meeting with my mate Andy who I met again in London recently. I also had a massage in Glasgow. That is something to think about for now, it feels like ages since I’ve had one.

Odds and sods:

  • No record of my weight, that only started May 2015. Think I used to keep a paper record but tis long gone. My jog was upset by Freecycle event – every fucking year!
  • Books read included ‘Ghosts of Spain’ and John Rechy’s ‘City of Night’. I remember both – the first about people in Spain dealing with the crimes against humanity committed during the civil war and the latter a piece of classic gay literature.
  • Started reading Christopher Fowler’s brilliant Bryant and May detective series. Interesting that I wasn’t so sure when I read the first book but I have come to love them and look forward to reading the next ones in the series.
  • Visited Tate Britain to see the exhibitions about British Folk Art and Kenneth Clark. Both very memorable, I still remember how impressed I was by both including the breadth of Clark’s lifetime achievements.

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