Sometimes I like being an introvert

Mon 9 – Sun 15 July 2018

Goodbye Mr Chubbs

Dying lionSo very sad news to start my blog. My brother’s lovely dog Mr Chubbs has been put to sleep. He had a tumour on his liver and things deteriorated very fast. He was a beautiful smelly, dribbly, slobbery bulldog. I will miss him and I know my brother, his children, and my mum are devastated. 🙁

There are occasions when I just love being alone

The main theme for last week was how I can be happy being on my own. I love other people and being with them. Indeed, I quite like confrontation – it’s good to shake things up and speak truth to power. But there is also a bit of me that is an introvert. Several things combined to make last week one in which my introvert part dominated: Dave went away, I flat-sat for him, I got a cold, and I did lots of good reading.

A memorable summer week

We all would hate to meet TrumpThink we will look back at last week as one of the most memorable weeks of summer if not the whole year. Heat with no rain continues (global warming – we’re fucked), the Davis and Johnson resignations (+ the little shit hanger-ons that nobody cares about), England bowed out of the World Cup, and Trump came to visit thereby upsetting and insulting everybody.

England vs Croatia

Of course I saw the semi-final against Croatia. It’s one of those pieces of history you have to be watching. Indeed, I can remember the previous time the men’s team got to a World Cup semi – it was equally amazing. Well done to the eloquent Gareth and our young, diverse team. A great advert for the best of British as opposed to Brexit revealing the dark side of our Jekyll and Hyde national character. And congrats to France and its diverse team. If only we had a leader like Macron. 🙂

Billy home alone

when only bed can helpDave went off Wed morning for a week in Germany. The day before my cold arrived with bunged up sinuses – I thought I had gone deaf in one ear. It continued on Wed and it was clear that it was a cold. Dave left me to flat-sit whilst he is away. My main task is to water his plants as they are very delicate with the current heat. It’s good when we have time apart, we realise how much we miss each other – even the annoying bits.

So I decided to have one of my introverted phases focusing on books and the pooter. Took Fri as TOIL as well (for the team away day we did in June). Ideally I wanted to take it whilst Dave was here so we could do something together but last Fri was my only really non-busy day for a while. Not being at work reinforced me being an introvert.

Personal Development

Languages and coding

My good habit of doing some Duolingo language practice as well as coding on the apps Grasshopper and Mimo just before I go to sleep continues. Couple of times it didn’t work out this week. Primarily when my routine was upset – same as the reason I normally forget to take my meds. Wed night was classic with the thrill of the England-Croatia semi-final which we all stayed up to watch to the end. Me getting slowly more pissed on my own and then crashing out. 🙂

Emails under control

overwhelmed by notices

Emails are good news too. I have work and personal down to reasonable numbers. Still a pain and a constant battle to maintain my progress. But so long as I fight the wish to take a break from it all, then I feel as though I have some measure of control over this aspect of my life.

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run

I really look forward to my weekly jog-run. I run alone without music; my old job-share colleague Nissa always used to ask ‘how can you run without listening to music?’ Perhaps another sign of me being an introvert at times and enjoying it – alone with just my thoughts. 🙂

JoggingAn early night on Fri and up early to run before it got too hot. A decent time of an hour, 3 mins & 45 seconds. Nearly 30 secs faster than the previous week. Key problem was going slowly during each km between 6 & 9 kms. If I can keep a decent pace here then I can get closer to 1 hour.

Video reports on my jog-runs can be viewed here and the old skool presentation of results can be seen here

Gym

Good long cardio and weights sessions on Tues, Thurs, and Sun mornings. I spent about an hour and a half in the gym each time and loved it. On all 3 sessions, a nice mix of cardio (cross-trainer, treadmill, cycle) plus weights to focus on the body parts I wanted to concentrate on.

Thurs morning was the hardest one because I woke with my cold and was not sure I even wanted to go to the gym. Took a slow walk there stopping off for coffees and to read. Once I got to the gym though I got into the swing of things and did both cardio and weights without going crazy on either. Then a nice sauna/steam room session to deal with my yucky sinuses.

Enforced break coming up

Some bad news that my gym is closing in Aug and Sept for a refit. After which it will actually be smaller and some machines will have gone completely or been replaced. I’m not going to join another gym, I’m going to have a break and see what the new gym is like when it reopens. I will be away some of the time and the rest I am going to do more jog-runs plus some exercises at home and perhaps a bit of swimming.

Long purposeful walks

A few of these last week especially to and from the office – good for health and for the environment. Big one was on Fri morning. I woke still with a bit of cold. Should I go to the gym or not? Big thing was not knackering myself out for the jog-run next day. So I decided to walk from Dave’s over to where I live. Another sign of me being an introvert at times is to have a big, long walk on my own. This one took a couple of hours and left me sweaty.

A decent route which included a couple of coffees, popping into the library, going down King’s Road in Chelsea (a complete shadow of the creative place it once was just like Carnaby Street), and cutting through Brompton Cemetery.

The latter is beautiful and once used to be a great gay cruising place when Earl’s Court was a gay centre. People enjoying themselves in a cemetery always seems to me to be a fitting tribute to those that are buried there. What is life for if it is not about having fun and being happy?

Culture

‘A Quiet Place’

A good horror / sci-fi film me and Dave saw on Tues before he went away. Aliens have arrived and they are not nice. They eat humans and hunt them down via sound. So society collapses and the remainder of the human race creeps around trying not to make a noise. The film follows the life of one family trying to survive.

A very enjoyable and atmospheric movie not least due to the absence of sound for so much of it. However this did make sounds in the cinema more important i.e. people eating popcorn. Good also because it was a short film (90 mins) and had a wonderfully open finale – a beginning or an end? Though with hindsight some thoughts do occur such as what about when people snore or talk in their sleep plus how do you wash without making noise? The family did look remarkably clean in a sanitised American way.

St Martin in the Fields

Not the only bit of culture last week. Thurs lunch-time I attended ‘Great Sacred Moments’ at St Martin’s in the Fields church in Trafalgar Square. Not sure if I’m a Christian these days and not even sure about God. But there is something wonderfully comforting about church.

Not the bible-bashing evangelical guitar/rock band nonsense in churches that are like warehouses. But rather for me it’s collective, nostalgic high-church Anglo-Catholicism. I know the Church of England and the Catholic Church are inherently sexist and homophobic. But there are many battling against this and I just enjoy the incense, the music, the atmosphere, the history, and some of the people.

Vivaldi

Every Thurs lunchtime, STMITF holds this short concert around a theme. There are also some spoken words by the church’s vicar and a couple of hymns sung together. Can’t say I will go every week, but it was nice to go two weeks in a row. The previous week was about American music (linked to 4th July) and last week was about Venice. Lots of Vivaldi. I don’t know a lot about classical music but I like listening to it. And amazing to be told about the work he did during his life to raise money for the orphanage he was linked with.

Sci-fi

USS EnterpriseRegular readers will know I like sci-fi. One of my main things is listening to Dr Who audio adventures. I have also discovered The Horror Channel which every week day at 6 then 7 shows the original Star Trek digitally remastered followed by Star Trek The Next Generation.

In particular, I am always amazed at how imaginative and creative the original Star Trek is particularly considering it was made in the 60s. Their fear of computers becoming all-powerful is fascinating.

Innovation and Creativity

Work drains me in a good way

progress being madeThe main time I am not an introvert is when I am at work. I find work incredibly draining with my brain having to work at full pelt to deal with so many different things and liaising with others to make the progress we all crave.

Fundamentally, I think everybody goes to work wanting to achieve stuff and do a good job. A significant part of my role as a manager is to help them make this so.

Be more fun and creative

Me and job-share Dilhani presented to the top leadership team on Mon. Went well though Dilhani had tech problems connecting up her Mac so I ad-libed until she was ready. Good feedback including guidance that we don’t just be worthy but also fun and creative. Suppose that it is so easy in all our work to be serious especially when we care compassionately about what we are trying to achieve. People remember emotions and these guide their behaviours (witness the euphoria around England in the World Cup), that is what we need to cultivate and generate.

Violence Against Women and Girls

I have volunteered to do some shortlisting around applications for our latest grant programme that has just closed. These are for grants to projects tackling Violence Against Women and Girls VAWG. I’ve got 25 to score. We had a very high level of applications and in my sample alone I can see some potentially fantastic projects. It’s going to be horribly tough to decide and some good projects are probably not going to be funded simply because there are better ones. 🙁

Good Lab

A really good meeting last week with an excellent external agency – Good Lab. This is an incubator / innovator looking for new approaches to help charities fund their work. Great to meet Eleanor Ford and Kevin Waudby. I met them with my colleague Beth who manages our Travel & Engagement team. We were particularly exploring ways to use the ability of people to visit and experience projects in order to get them more engaged with the work of those projects.

Books and Reading

‘Like a Fading Shadow’

This book by the Spanish author Antonio Muñoz Molina took up most of my reading time last week not least because it is quite a dense and deep book that can’t really be read lightly. It is very multi-layered with several stories inter-acting. Primarily there is the story of James Earl Ray, the murderer of Martin Luther King. It’s the true story of his escape after murder and his going on the run across Canada, London, and Lisbon. Getting inside the mind of an insane killer.

Lisbon, PortugalThere is also the story of the writer who is researching in Lisbon for this book and his life a couple of decades before when he was just starting out as a writer spending time in Lisbon. In the final stages, we move into the mind of Martin Luther King before he is shot. Good, heavy stuff but not an easy read.

‘Frankenstein in Baghdad’

FrankensteinWeirdly I thought this would be another heavy read but it’s actually far easier Molina’s book. It is written by an Iraqi and set in Baghdad during the American occupation. Life is dangerous. Various characters have their stories told. In the midst of this enter a modern Frankenstein built of bombed body parts and inhabited by a lost spirit from someone killed by a suicide bomber.

Its tragic, horrific, sad and funny all at the same time. Highly recommended and I can see why it was listed for the Man Booker International Prize 2018. A real pleasure to read.

The Week Ahead

  • Dave is back on Tues 🙂
  • Got a training session at work on Mon morning by The School of Life on Innovation – should be good
  • Tues afternoon it’s the Tech4Good Awards ceremony which is always fun and inspiring
  • Potentially 4 gym sessions as I will be free on Fri morning – TOIL for the T4G Awards on Tues PM
  • My beloved jog-run session on Sat morning, weather permitting
  • Some interesting meetings with external people from Fight for Peace and Crowdfunder
  • Gotta score more VAWG applications
  • Going to keep up my good night-time habit re Duolingo & Mimo/Grasshopper
  • Also gonna keep on top of emails
  • A new reading book to be started and perhaps I will even get onto another one later in the week
  • Will try to listen to some Dr Who audio adventures and carry on with Star Trek when I am able

And Finally…

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