Overworking, tube strikes, and old friends (BDblog: Sun 2 – Sat 8 Aug 2015)

images (18)Down to earth after whizzy week previously though disconcerting impact of another bloody tube strike mid-week. Thing is, as with all minor conflicts, there is inevitably going to be a solution so in that case get on and get to the solution bit without bothering with the conflict part which is pissing us all off! Lock the negotiators in a room together until they reach an agreement I say! Right, and breath in with anger and out with love…

Health and efficiency

Back to trying to incorporate long walks to compensate not going to the gym (wrist injury) and help lose weight. Good news on latter is that weight was down to 13-4, two pounds lost! Great news and I think down to walking and reduced eating especially through smaller portions and slower eating – do feel hungry at times but that is par for the course I think (‘no pain, no gain’ to use a cliche). But part of me does not want to make a big noise about the weight loss in case it is just a blip and I need to eat humble pie.

Long walks:

Sunday: Around Pimlico then into central London and back again
Monday: Victoria to Olympia then Olympia to Hammersmith + back to Olympia
Tuesday: Vauxhall to Victoria
Wednesday: Victoria to Vauxhall and back
Thursday: Victoria to Vauxhall and back
Friday: Earls Court to Sloane Square; Vauxhall to Victoria
Saturday: Victoria to Waterloo and back; around Pimlico; Victoria to Piccadilly Circus and back

Health wise things are OK apart from the anxiety I am creating for myself by working too hard and over my paid hours (see below). Wrist is slowly improving and I had a physio session on Thursday where I was given a new flexible casing to protect it and new strength building exercises. Improvements since last time but still not as good as right wrist. Apparently healing takes 3 months so another 5 weeks to go. Then on Saturday I went for an MRI scan on my left achilles which is still giving me problems despite not having done my jog-run for about 5 weeks now.

Mental health and overworking

download (31)I have written a blog looking at a memoir on depression by William Styron that really hit a note with me and comparing his experiences to my own deep depression of about ten years ago. Things are much better now though I can see at the moment that I am overworking in terms of doing far more than paid number of hours (max 25 p.w.) and this is starting to create anxiety. Basically I worked every day last week and did over 30 hours. It’s hard to detail everything I was doing though most of it centred on trying to keep on top of a constant stream of emails. Work is a bit addictive for me. I want to do a good job and get good feelings from doing so. That means I take lots on and have trouble letting go. That did show itself last week in me making a mistake basically because there was too much going on in my head. Easy to say but one of the best things could be for me to be made redundant as a result of the changes at work.

More joy from catching up with old friends

Tuesday I was in the office all day but it was a good day for making contact with old and new friends. My lovely colleague Meliz returned from her extended teaching period in Istanbul. And then at lunchtime I met up with old friend Paul Elgood (from my Brighton days) at Tate Britain particularly to talk politics as we are both in the Lib Dems. Always so nice to catch up with old friends not seen for a while. Then in the evening I went to a reception at the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust to celebrate work done by me and my colleagues around the Queen’s Young Leaders initiative.

Then on Friday morning I met up with a couple of people I met through work but who I think I have a real connection with. First I caught up with Chris Marten who is the Chief Exec of YouthNet and then I met Mark Brown of Social Spider fame and a social media activist around mental health issues; he has over 14,000 twitter followers (I have about 3.5% of that figure LOL).

Annoying cyclists and Salesforce

Wednesday was a busy bus journey partly because of lots of cyclists (presumably linked to the train strike later that day) but some of whom do the cycling fraternity no favours like the guy who slowed down in fast moving traffic to read his phone whilst carrying on riding and then, realising everyone had to brake to accommodate his action, moved onto the pavement to carry on cycling and reading his phone! A good morning session on Salesforce – free CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software that can be overlaid with the Dulverton app to make it appropriate for use by grant makers. Another great example of low cost open source software that can be adapted for purpose and that creates community around it – just like WordPress. Had good interaction with several colleagues include somebody who used to work for my current employer. To the office and then in the evening a bite to eat with Dave at this fun little Portuguese cafe we know. Next morning he was up at 5.30am and flew off to Singapore for his work. Another instance of us being separated.

Tube strike day

download (32)Thursday was main tube strike day though it actually started the evening before and indeed on Wednesday night I had been meant to go to a theatre presentation about chemsex which unfortunately had to be postponed. Pottered around Dave’s locality after he had gone – quiet, felt very post-catastrophe. Velvet Page book club should also have happened in the evening but that was moved to next week. Into work on Thursday and Friday afternoons both unsurprisingly quiet but I was busy particularly planning some hack days we are going to be running.

My days off

Only three real days I would say I wasn’t working last week and, on one of those, I basically worked for about 3 hours.

Previous Sunday me and Dave made our return journey from Birmingham with some fit footie fans travelling to Wembley for the Community Shield. I walked to collect our laundry then to the ICA to collect the free membership I won in a Twitter competition (thanks ICA!) but there was a huge diversion because of the big Prudential bike ride. I don’t want to be an angry person but it caused enormous disruption to pedestrians and drivers. OK lots was raised for charity though I am always impacted as to why people don’t just give money anyway if they think the charity worthwhile enough? Such an amount of disruption is simply not realistic in one of the world’s major cities like London. I did tweet about this and had no negative responses, only people agreeing with me.

Monday: long walk from Dave’s place in Victoria back to see mum. Several stops for coffee and dealing with an important work email leading onto more emails and phonecalls. The journey took me through Brompton Cemetery which I love. Afternoon I walked to and back from a grant assessment in Hammersmith. The rest of the day was spent with mum plus watching a DVD (gay short films) and pottering on my pooter.

Saturday and I was missing Dave though had some funny texts from him. A very busy day: MRI scan on my achilles, round to the laundrette, stuff to the charity shop and and then in the afternoon to see ‘Eden’ at the cinema. A good French film following a garage DJ from his starter days through his peak in the nineties to his disillusioned mid-life period. Some good music that reminded me of nice clubbing days and a witty interweaving of Daft Punk throughout the story.

Digital developments and language skills

A little bit on DuoLingo and French via ‘Eden’. Looked at the revamped Code Academy site and was very tempted to go back to doing short sessions on that; it really is one of the best ways of learning HTML and CSS – like DuoLingo of the coding world.


Finished William Styron ‘Darkness Visible’ and did a blog on it. This was followed by Susan Hill’s ‘Black Sheep’ – a good novella about a mining community though also quite epic in its own way, like a condensed version of ‘How Green Was My Valley’. Finished Jeremy Reed’s ‘The Dilly: A Secret History of Piccadilly Rent Boys’ which was the book we were going to read at Velvet Page. A good book about when Piccadilly Circus was the centre for the male prostitution in London. Slightly romantic in its outlook but still useful that someone has caught this before everyone has forgotten it and most of the people involved have died. Then onto Karen Joy Fowler’s ‘Sarah Canary’ which I picked up when I pottered around my local library on Monday after the assessment. From Gollancz’s excellent Sci-Fi Masterworks collection and possibly a story about first contact by aliens. The book is a great who-dunnit: who and what is Sarah Canary?

And to finish off the week, the new footie season started and QPR (back in the Championship) were defeated 2-0 away at Charlton – plus ca change…

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