Time doesn’t exist – we create it

Mon 14 – Sun 20 May 2018

I read a great article last week, one of those that makes you totally rethink things. You can read it here. Basically the hypothesis (or what I understand) is that time doesn’t actually exist. Rather there is a constant series of events and we create a time journey and framework for the future to explain them. Makes sense and reinforces the minuteness of human beings and our planet in the universe.

Anyway, time for me to write about the series of events that made up ‘last week’. Well those events and incidents that are worth recording for posterity and reflection.

Royal Wedding Fever Grips the UK!

Usual bollocks newspaper headline. Doesn’t really work for me. Obviously I hope sexy Harry & Meghan had a great day; they looked very in love and the whole service was a brilliant portrayal of multi-culturalism.  And I wish them a very happy life together. But it’s a personal thing and there have been attempts to turn it into a celebration of Union Jack waving Britishness in an attempt to distract us from Brexit. Just like bread and circuses for the proletariat in ancient Rome. To be fair, I am a republican but I’ll write about that another day.

Innovation & Creativity

Remembering what it’s like to be a new starter

Doing assessmentsIn the office 3 days last week. Mon was the day my new staff member started. Amir will be overseeing Red Shed – our social investment & innovation fund. My full team in place means I can now focus on doing other stuff and not covering their duties.

It’s so easy to forget what it’s like to start a new job – the nerves and not knowing how everything works. I need to remember that things that come naturally to me at work are so because I’ve been at my job for nearly a decade.

Catching up with Dilhani

Wed was very much about catching up with my job-share Dilhani in our crossover day of the week. Felt like we hadn’t seen each other for ages. And inevitably we spent lots of our time in meetings with people who wanted to meet us together rather than separately to save their time. Still getting used to the new structure, newly recruited people, and understanding who is doing what in their job now.

Tech for Good

Tech for GoodNot my area any more but I still have a massive soft spot. People ask why? Because tech is changing the world in a way that nothing else will. So whilst we fund sport, counselling, youth work, drop-ins, etc – they are great things to fund but its like historically funding quill pens instead of printing presses.

Africa Award

With my colleagues, we selected our shortlist for the Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award. Four great projects reflecting the diversity of exciting stuff that is happening on that continent. 12 June the shortlists for all the awards’ categories including this one will be put into the public domain and the public can vote for their favourite one.

Longlist

The other good thing around Tech for Good is to point out 2 very good things that came out last week. First on techforgoodhub.co.uk, we published the 50 best video applications for this year’s Tech for Good programme. They can be found here. The 13 projects from within these 50 that have received a grant will be announced shortly.

Research

And we published the report by M-ITI on Social Tech Eco-Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. You can read about this more here and access the actual report here. Some of the contents aren’t always very comforting particularly for funders. But really important that we have honest research saying what is found and what the people who matter are saying rather than just research that is actually a PR exercise.

Getting out there

Work stuff feels quite internal at the moment. It’s really important that I get out there and build the alliances to encourage change to happen. Did see my old friend David Cutler who manages the brilliant Baring Foundation. We’ve known each other for years and his foundation is doing great stuff around promoting the arts, strengthening the voluntary sector, and empowering LGBT groups in Africa. We met on Tues which is my day off but David treated me to lunch at their pro-bono office in the City. Great to catch up and I’m always impressed with the work him and his foundation do.

Health & Efficiency

Gym

Dumbells

Tues, Thurs, & Sat morning. About an hour each and focusing on all the main body parts. Didn’t push my legs too much on Sat as I was doing my jog-run the next day. Ideally I would have liked to have done the jog-run on Sat but I was worried that stuff around Buckingham Palace / Green Park where I run would be disrupted by media and people there for the marriage even though that happened in Windsor.

Jog-run

JoggingA good one on Sun. I did the full 10K and managed to beat the previous week’s time by nearly two and a half minutes. OK 1 hour 7 mins & 12 secs is still way behind my best but it’s movement in the right direction and gives hope that things are getting better.

I also decided to do something different in after the run, walking up to my gym near Oxford Circus to relax in the sauna and jacuzzi. Twas good in that Dave came with me but went to his swimming pool whilst I was getting clean. Then a nice joint lunch and a walk back in the sun.

INR & a long purposeful walk

bloods takenHad to have my blood clotting level checked again on Wed morning. I didn’t forget the appointment like had happened before. All OK coming in at 2.3 which is in range. Computer said I needed to come back in a fortnight’s time. I said no and suggested 6 weeks, we compromised on 4 weeks. Constant checks due to having a chronic long-term condition can be so draining.

It was a lovely day and so I decided to walk to the office. Fulham across to Vauxhall primarily going along the Thames after cutting through Brompton Cemetery. The latter is one of my favourite places. The walk took me about an hour and a quarter and I felt pretty knacked on arrival. But good exercise. 🙂

Personal Development

Last week was pretty good around language learning. I didn’t get time on the Duolingo app everyday (primarily Mon and Wed because of busyness being at work and tiredness afterwards) but I did learn on the majority of days. I’ve got 7 languages on the go at the moment and dip into the ones I want to learn as I fancy. ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’? Possibly but is that really that bad?

Cup of coffeeCan’t remember doing any read coding practice. But I did make real progress on getting the number of emails that remain either not-acted on or simply unread in my work & personal accounts. So I’m happy. 🙂

Books & Reading

‘Told by the Dead’

This is a collection of stories by Ramsey Campbell. He is declared by some to be the best living British horror writer. I’ve been meaning to read some of his work for ages. He’s got a pretty prodigious output of novels and short stories. And I do like a good horror story. Great collection this of modern stories. Horror certainly but not simple blood and guts / zombies. Rather stories that have a dark, surreal element. Recommended. I must get round to reading one of his novels now.

What I’m currently reading & enjoying 🙂

Don’t normally write about books until I have finished them. But last week after finishing the Campbell stories, I decided to deliberately dip back into a series of books I know I will enjoy. So I am currently reading the next one I haven’t read in Christopher Fowler’s brilliant series of crime novels based on the detectives Bryant & May, ‘The Invisible Code’. Then when that is finished, I’m going to move onto the next in the series that I’m up to of Discworld novels by Sir Terry Pratchett – ‘Snuff’. I love reading and I love having books to look forward to reading.

Library

Sat and Dave was in Windsor working on the wedding. So after the gym, I dropped stuff at the charity shop and pottered off to the library. I love going. Returned one book (the Ramsey Campbell) and took 4 more out. I am now on the limit of books I can have at any one time – 20! LOL 🙂

The Week Ahead

Gonna be a busy one and looks like good weather as well. Particular highlights:

  • 3 days in the office. Internal legal, budget, & leadership meetings. But also hopefully some useful external meetings including my colleague Rachel from the funder Esmee Fairbairn – always nice to meet a new person there is a good buzz about. Plus I’m hoping to catch up with my old colleague Babs who has a new job at another funder. I had to blow her out on Fri due to a legal situation, very disappointing & I hope she is not too pissed off with me.
  • 2 weekdays off – the usual offenders Tues & Thurs
  • Tues afternoon I am off to Buckingham Palace for a garden party. I’ve been before and it’s nice to appreciate the grounds and the yummy buffet food. Plus also should be some good networking. 🙂
  • Fitness target is at least 2 gym sessions and perhaps as many as 4. Ideally I would like to do a jog-run as well but next weekend is a bank holiday and round Dave’s way (where I do my run) is a big event that’s going to disrupt my normal circuit. My other thought is to do something totally outside my normal routine: 2 x 5K runs, one on Thurs morning and then one on a morning at the weekend working around whatever disruption there is. Variety in exercise is important.
  • Must keep on top of emails and continue to enjoy playing with learning languages and coding. If I can’t enjoy it then why do it?
  • Gonna finish my current book & move on to the other one I know will enjoy as described in the ‘Books & Reading’ section above

And Finally…

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