The week Charles Kennedy died and Sepp Blatter resigned

Sun 31 May – Sat 6 June

Oh well, back to measuring time by major events and particularly decent people going – I’m talking about Kennedy and definitely not Blatter. A good week gone including trips to Brighton and Stoke, the real start of summer in London, and some time completely on my own home alone.

Sunday in Brighton 
neon-123521__180Previous Sunday, and in the afternoon I was off on the train to Brighton as I was visiting Bob the next day in his nursing home. The weather was horribly wet and cool in London and not much better in Brighton till much later in the day. I chilled around before heading to my favourite Thai for dinner but, disastrously, it was closed for staff holidays. I ended up in a Moroccan restaurant which was a bit weird with lots of young men lying around and playing on their phones whilst eating. Back to my cheap hotel to watch Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell then down to the very empty hotel bar, just me apart from a man fast asleep on one of the chairs, for a late night drink to help me sleep.

Catch up with Bob
I slept OK though woke several times – strange how when staying in a hotel just for one night usually means a poor sleep. A quick look around my favourite charity shop then a bus to see Bob. He was OK and the weather was nice so we were able go out for coffee (plus a bacon sandwich for him – he has been given medical approval to eat  whatever he wants as that is his decision) and simply to watch the world go by. Unfortunately there was no time to see Brian for lunch as normal because I needed to get back to the office in London to find out about our departmental restructuring – three line whip to attend.

Racing back to London for no good reason
A decent train journey back and I was in the office for 2.30. It turned out the big announcement was not that important after all as the new structure is still only at the discussion stage. Very frustrating indeed, I had raced back for no good reason and there would still be several more weeks to find out what was going to happen. I sorted out various bits then got the tube home to spend an evening in with mum watching the soaps. I was worn out and crashed out around 9.30pm.

Exciting things happening in Stoke
Tuesday it was to my gym but just for a shower and download (5)then onto Euston and the train up to Stoke. I met up with Ben who is acting chief exec for Stoke Wavemaker – the new fab lab / maker space to be established in the city as a legacy for young people. His enthusiasm and drive was really impressive. We were joined by my colleague Kathy from Nominet Trust – they are jointly funding the initiative. A short but sweet meeting with some interesting ideas swirling about regarding what the new digital exploration centre will look and be like. A good train journey back (the Virgin internet connection worked for once though still £4 for just one hour) and I even made my GP appointment at 5.15.

A normal office day
Into the office by 8am on Wednesday. Morning was taken up with a key shortlisting meeting to agree which stage one funding applications should go through to the next stage of a fuller application and assessment. Then in the afternoon I had a check-in with some of my abstinence-based recovery projects and also had to let the unsuccessful shortlisted applicants to the Tech for Good fund know that they were not being recommended for funding. I left the office around 5.45 and stopped off at the local Portuguese cafe for a glass of rose and a read of my book. I met up with Dave and watched Coronation St whilst he dozed on the sofa (lying on a chocolate bar which wasn’t messy at all!) then we went to Pizza Express for a catch-up meal together.

My beautiful ‘do nothing’ day
hardest-625302__180Thursday was my full day off from work. First thing I went to see mum and help her with her laundry; she’s old fashioned and likes to go to the local laundrette. Then onto the gym and after that a nice Indian vegetarian lunch at Govinda’s. I walked back to Dave’s to drop off a load of my brother’s old clothes to take to a charity shop. Then walked back into town and stopped off to watch YouTube and do some DuoLingo before Waterstones for my gay reading group the Velvet Page Club @VelvetPageClub  which I have written about in a separate blog. Beautiful weather, shorts on all day, and I actually laid in the park for part of the afternoon with my top off for a bit. And I spent a lot of the day listening on my ipod to the Dr Who story ‘The Krotons’. One of Patrick Troughton’s best and the idea of hostile crystalline aliens comes up again in later sci-fi such as The Array in Star Trek TNG.

Experiencing Pop Brixton
download (6)Friday was up and out early to the gym stopping off first at the nice independent coffee shop inside St James Park station – highly recommended. Another decent workout then to Brixton to meet my colleagues Cathy and Nissa for lunch at the new Pop Brixton – a pop up space built from shipping containers (with a fabulous stock of images on Google). Very nice and a great lamb jalfrezi burger with fries though under the clear plastic roof upstairs it was a bit like a greenhouse. A quick coffee in the indoor market area and back to the office. I haven’t been to Brixton for years and there was a nice vibe. The afternoon was spent on the phone, dealing with emails, and authorising grant payments. Another glass of wine at the Portuguese cafe then back to Dave’s – he didn’t manage to get away from work till 7pm. I was knacked so watched the two Coronation Streets then crashed.

Billy home alone
sunset-74766__180Saturday morning and Dave was up mega early (about 5.45am) because he had to get a 7.30 train from Kings Cross to visit his mum for the weekend. I woke properly about the same time his train was leaving and made a radical decision. I decided not to go to the gym as I needed a day to rest and I had loads of things I needed to do instead including getting my new meds, buying new sunglasses, getting my reading glasses repaired as well as sorting out the washing and Dave’s dry cleaning. So a day all to myself and good weather. Overall, a bit like being on a silent retreat. I am very happy to be on my own and appreciate time to just be with me myself; I have met so many people in my life who cannot deal with their own company.

Personal development
A week of some progress but nothing major. I have started to watch a new wordpress film on YouTube, this time by a guy called Narayan about building a portfolio website – some stuff I already know but some useful new bits as well. YouTube really is one of the most amazing learning tools we have available for anyone to use. A good week on DuoLingo, I managed to do a refresher session in French, Spanish and German each day for five of the seven days gone.

Exercise and health
Gym three times last week. First on the previous Sunday though my left Achilles was quite tender after my jog-run the day before. Generally it does improve as I exercise it especially gentle exercise like walking. I concentrated on doing heavy weights and a lesser number of reps; no rowing machine. Gym again on Thursday morning with 20 mins on the rowing machine followed by a variety of weights. Friday morning I did about 21.30 mins on the rowing machine covering 4.8km before doing some heavy weights. I forgot to weigh myself this week (deliberately?). Good health news in that when I saw my GP on Tuesday she agreed to investigate if I can go onto a different anti-coagulant to the old reliable warfarin, one of the modern breed that self-regulates and will mean the time-consuming visits for INR checks won’t be necessary. The main thing she needs to check is the best one that will not react with my other meds especially the ones keeping my HIV under control.

Books
I finished the seventies gay sci-fi book ‘Chrome’ and moved onto something completely different – autobiographical writings by Helen Keller, and Paul Bailey’s ‘The Prince’s Boy’ for my LGBT reading group (Velvet Page); I have written separate blogs on both these books. And then I moved onto Ursula Le Guin’s ‘The Dispossessed’. Her greatness to me is due to her book ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ – a very well-written early gay sci-fi novel. More details on the book once I have finished reading it.

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