Think positive, act positive: 16 good things about last week

Mon 8 – Sun 14 May 2017

I am doing my blog differently this time – analysing it in terms of all the good stuff that happened last week.

1. Health and Efficiency

Got to the gym three times last week – Mon, Wed, and Sun mornings. Each one was a good session including weights and treadmill apart from Sun where I rested my legs after the previous day’s jog-run.

2. Health and Efficiency

An OK jog-run on Sat. It did feel hard going and I had some backache which I have never had before. But I pushed on and ended up doing 5.5km. Why stop if you are in the zone? Decent enough outputs for pace and calories.

3. Tech for Good

Two days spent at Nominet Trust in Oxford on Tues and Thurs. Both days were presentations of NT-funded projects to staff from Nominet, the corporate digital body that funds NT. Great chance for me to see the projects myself and catch-up with NT colleagues. Linked to that Annie (my wonderful colleague on the M-ITI research and organiser of the brilliant annual Nominet Trust 100) is going on maternity leave. Fancy covering for her? Details here.

4. Personal Development

I was only in the office for one afternoon last week and the rest of the week worked remotely. I really do think staff sitting in offices behind desks is so old-fashioned and am determined to use tech to its full potential to be able to work well remotely. After all, it is very rare to have your best ideas at work – normally they happen in non-work scenarios.

5. Tech for Good

Nice catch-up on Wed with the people at M-ITI on the research they are doing for us on Social Tech Eco-systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fingers crossed for it to be completed by mid-July.

6. Tech for Good


Excellent catch up with Ben and Jonathan from Stoke Wavemaker about their project on Thurs. They are trying to establish a digital centre in Stoke particularly trying to assist deprived young people. Key issues coming up are classic to all social enterprises – how to be sustainable beyond just depending on grants and how to balance making money with your social mission? Delighted to say they are working hard on addressing these and have good ideas to test in the third and last year of their grant funding.

7. Tech for Good

Nominations closed for our Tech4Good for Africa Award and we had 27 entries. Very varied and a pleasing number that builds well for better next year. Now to shortlisting 4 and submitting those to the judging panel to choose the winner.

8. Tech for Good

Our crowdmatching initiative is all systems go. We are ploughing ahead with running two workshops in June alongside colleagues from Nesta, drawing on their experience. The selected projects who attend will have the option to submit for a grant of up to £10K that they need to match via a crowdfunding initiative. If successful, we could roll-out an open programme like this next year.

9. Personal Development

lib dem logoAs committed to in last week’s blog, I started doing some stuff for the election. Fri afternoon I delivered a round of leaflets in Vauxhall where the campaigning Lib Dem candidate George Turner is trying to oust the ghastly Kate Hoey. She should be UKIP instead of Labour, wander if she will defect after the election is over? Then on Sat and Sun afternoons I helped out with data-inputting info received from survey returns. We’ve also got a council by-election in my ward on general election day so I need to deliver some stuff there as well.

10. Personal Development

Did some DuoLingo language practice nearly every day last week. So annoying when I don’t manage it because of other demands on my time. Also did some coding practice via Code Academy.

11. Health and Efficiency

Went and got my ears cleared of wax on Wed at the Clear Ear Clinic. £85 but what price do you put on good health? So nice to not have to worry about whether I would wake up with one ear blocked and spend time unblocking it so I can hear. Also got my INR done on Fri; 1.9 which is up from 1.5 previously but still just outside the optimum range of 2.0 – 3.0

12. Health and Efficiency

Booked with the yoga course run through work to start an 8 week course for 45 mins each week. I will only miss one session due to other commitments. I used to do a lot of yoga and enjoyed it; that feeling of stretching parts of one’s body not normally stretched. Be interesting if this is the start of re-igniting my fascination with yoga.

13. Art and Culture

With Dave on Fri evening to see the brilliant ‘off West End’ musical Miss Nightingale. In a venue I had never been to, The Vaults under Waterloo station. It’s a musical set in WW2 and the trains overhead did sound like bombs being dropped. Some fantastic and funny songs such as the one about the woman getting her pussy caught in the door. And another one about getting your sausage wherever you can as well as another about Noel Coward. The cast of six are incredibly talented acting, singing, dancing and playing the instruments. Highly recommended.

14. Books and Reading

‘Affinity Bridge’ by George Mann (2008) An interesting steampunk novel. Steampunk is a derivative of cyberpunk concentrating on a Victorian sci-fi setting with influences of modern thinking. This is a world of airships, automatons, electricity, and zombies set in London ruled by Queen Victoria with the empire at its height. An interesting and action-packed novel. However it’s all quite silly and not that well written. I think the author hopes it will be made into a film. I was particularly annoyed with the dialogue with people speaking in no way how they would have done in Victorian times and using lots of modern American jargon.

15. Books and Reading

Two Dr Who audio adventures listened to: ‘The light at the end of the world’ and ‘Shadow of the Scourge’. The first features a whole host of Doctors competing against the Master. As per usual with these sort of multi-Doctor adventures, the plot is weak and the whole things relies on the audience loving a reprise from their favourite Doctors. I think I have actually listened to it before but it made such a limited impact that I had forgotten.  The second features the seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) with companion Ace and Bennie Summerfield. An early audio adventure, it is a good fun-packed one with the Doctor taking on a race of beings who live on human misery (‘a sort of cosmic Coldplay’).

16. Art and Culture

Sat night was one of the highlights of the year – Eurovision. I watched the semi’s on Tues and Thurs. I don’t feel like it was a classic year and no song stuck in my head. Indeed the semi’s saw a strange collection of good songs not put through (nothing from the Baltic republics) and some shite like Hungary and Croatia. The night itself was OK with the highlight being an Australian jumping on stage during Jamalla’s performance to show off his (very nice) bum. I didn’t get either of the two most popular songs – Bulgaria and Portugal. Nice for the latter to have their first win ever and next year’s contest in Lisbon should be good. The song itself washed over me. Well done on the UK entry being our best for ages. Shame Brexit means Europe hates us.

Looking Ahead

Still so little time and so many things to do. My busy next week:

  • Gym hopefully twice next week. Same for my jog-run, once would be good but twice would be great.
  • Doing work to help the Lib Dem election effort
  • A good NESTA event on Tues all about Digital Social Innovation
  • A Tech for Good presentation with Dan from CAST on Thurs to BBC staff in Birmingham
  • Staying over in Brum and going out on the town on Thurs night
  • Various catch-ups with new people at work on Wed
  • Continuing to keep on top of emails
  • Check-in with my HIV Consultant and another INR clinic visit
  • Duolingo/language learning every day and some coding learning
  • Another couple of books read
  • Listening to at least a couple of Dr Who audio adventures
  • Dave goes off to China for work. I will miss him but have some ‘me-time’ to luxuriate in
  • The May Fair at St Peter’s Eaton Square on Sat – a very nice church summer fete

And finally…

Our UK Tech and HIV grants programme closes on 19th May – details here Please do feel free to pass on to anyone you think would be interested or publicise as you so wish.


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