The week I visited Buckingham Palace for a garden party

Mon 21 – Sun 27 May 2018

Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

I suppose the biggest news last week was my trip to the Palace for a garden party on Tues afternoon. Beautiful weather for it and lots of people there. The event was to celebrate Charles 70th birthday (in 6 months’ time) and the attendees were from organisations and groups he is involved with and supports. I was invited by The British Asian Trust who I work with.

How to enjoy it

I’ve been to a BP garden party before and they are fun. All a bit la-di-da but something to be enjoyed. Everyone is dressed up and there is always a good sprinkling of military totty in their uniforms. The food is also fun – finger-size cakes and sandwiches. But no alcohol. 🙁 It was very busy and I was on my own so I spent a lot of time wandering around and enjoying the beautiful gardens. Hard work in its own ways as there was lots of pollen around and I suffer from hayfever. I finally bumped into some people I knew towards the end of the day.

The Duchess of Sussex

And yes I did see Meghan Markle – or Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex as she should be addressed now. She was standing with Charles and Camilla looking demure in beige as Harry gave a speech with many references to ‘Pa’. I couldn’t get very close to see them as there was just so many people pushing forward to get a look.

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run

Each week, I normally run from my partner Dave’s place so that I can take in the nice open spaces of St James Park and Green Park. Lots of roads that need crossing where I live making a jog-run very stop and start. But over Dave’s way there are often events that disrupt my course especially in summer.

For the bank holiday weekend, this included the first dress rehearsal for Trooping of the Colour and then the Vitality mile and 10K. I couldn’t be sure I would be able to go round on my usual 10K course.

What was different last week

But disruption can lead to innovation. And so last week I did two 5k runs on different days. First was on Thurs morning after the morning rush-hour so about 9.45am. I don’t normally like to run with lots of people around, I feel very self-conscious. However, all went well and I did a perfectly decent time and pace.

Then on Sat morning I got out early before the dress rehearsal. Again good time and pace. Overall, I didn’t feel as knackered as with my 10K but had a good feeling of exhilaration and achievement for the rest of the day. Also on Sat I had to cover a route I hadn’t used before and the change felt good. You can see video updates on my jog-runs here and then details on my exact time, pace, etc can be seen here.

Gym

Gym just twice last week (Tues and Sun mornings) but still good. Tues session was long, lasting about 90 mins. I hadn’t intended to do so long but I was on my own in the gym and took the opportunity to use whatever equipment in whatever order that I wanted to.

Innovation and Creativity

Still lots of internal stuff going on at work especially around setting budgets for coming year (our financial year runs 1 Aug – 31 July). Also getting ready for the launch of new grants programmes in next few months. I want to be out and about more but there it is also important to be in the office to rally and inspire others. An interesting balancing act to be maintained.

Esmee Fairbairn

However I am starting to focus a bit more on connecting with key external people. Met on Fri with Rachel Kettlewell from The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation when she popped into our office. She is relatively new in post and leading Esmee’s thinking around funding digital projects. Esmee is a great funder and although digital hasn’t been their thing till now, they have fantastic experience in funding social investment which we are learning from. They are also a great funder of the arts which isn’t our thing – we are about social impact.

Great research

And a reminder that this excellent piece of research is now available on Social Tech Eco-Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. But good for anyone interested in how we progress tech for good anywhere.

Sustainability

This is a new section in my blog that I am going to try to incorporate. Fundamentally I think humans as a species are fucked and so is our planet unless we change our ways and live in a more sustainable way. Doing this starts at the level of one person.

recycling symbolSo what did I do this week that was sustainable? Lots of walking as usual. Plus also at work we are having a big clean-out, much of it is stuff that will end in landfill – plastic boxes, etc. But I’ve been combing through it to find anything to go the charity shop. And I’ve managed to fill 4 plastic bags (so they don’t just get thrown away) with stuff that I will gradually get to the charity shop. 🙂

Personal Development

depressed person

My comments in this section always work on the assumption that things I do such as reading books or finding fascinating articles on the internet and then posting them for others to read is not personal development. But it clearly is.

Meanwhile, some good work on Duolingo and I’m having fun dabbling in a couple of new languages. Ha ha, no progress on improving my coding. Lucky I don’t want to make a living out of it. And emails seemed to be OK then went crazy with no attention paid to them for just one day.

Books and Reading

Much of the weekend in particular was spent lying on the bed trying to keep cool and reading. At the same time, listening to the Biggest Weekend on the radio – this year’s Glastonbury. Blissful.

‘Bryant & May: The Invisible Code’

Christopher Fowler is a brilliant contemporary British author. He keeps a daily blog which is always worth looking at christopherfowler.co.uk. He has written numerous books and created a wonderful series based on a great but crazy detective duo – Bryant & May. It’s a series I love going back to every so often to catch up on the next installment. They are always clever stories and I am very comfortable with the characters. This is one of those situations where books are like friends to fall back on. The story here really is a play on power politics within the civil service.

The Week Ahead

  • Another bank holiday. May really is my favourite month with 2 bank holidays. They always strike me as being like going up for air when you are submerged in water.
  • Plan is 3 gym sessions and 2 jog-runs. I’m going to try a 5K on Tues morning then go back to a 10K on Sunday.
  • Will finish my current reading book (‘Snuff’ by the brilliant & much missed Sir Terry Pratchett) and move onto a new one. Possibly the one for the next Velvet Page, ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’.
  • Couple of interesting events. First, coffee on Tues afternoon with one of the guys behind Lightful, the ‘technology company for social good’ particularly focusing on social media.  Then on Thurs morning I am attending (and talking) at CAST’s launch of its Digital Design Principles.

And Finally…

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