We need to try to enjoy normality

Mon 10 – Sun 16 Sept 2018

Back from Berlin, back to normality

letting go

Paradise ended on Monday! ๐Ÿ™ Folsom over for another year and back to Shitsville. I’m being dramatic; life in London is OK but not a 24 hour party. Could it ever be? No, but I follow the philosophy that life is about being happy. We are not here to be unhappy or hurt others.

โ€œBut I donโ€™t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” Aldous Huxley

โ€” Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) September 14, 2018

Tegel airport BerlinEarly night on Sun meant I woke refreshed to travel back to London. Coffee at Romeo before me and Dave got an uber to Tegel. Always slightly chaotic due to the airport layout with each gate having its own check-in, security, and departure lounge.

A perfectly decent journey back. Flight was packed but arrived on time and tube from Heathrow went fine. Then loads of unpacking and tidying. Crashed out in bed by 9pm. ๐Ÿ™

Why does coming back from holiday feel so knackering?

โ€” Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) September 10, 2018


NormalityWork all day on Tues (GP first of all to check INR blood clotting level), Wed & Thurs. Intense days and like a bucket of cold water after the fun of Folsom. But that is normality unless we decide to change it.ย 

Primarily simply lots of emails to deal with and meetings. I love innovation and change but the ripples it causes can be hard work. I suppose that why it is so often avoided.

5 good things at work last week:ย 

  1. Catching up with Dilhani before she goes away for 2 weeks training to become a yoga teacher
  2. A really good staff meeting on Thurs with a nice format telling us about stuff happening across the org
  3. Anna’s session explaining how to better use our customer-relationship marketing CRM software
  4. Small opportunities to build better links with my colleagues in the other directorates
  5. Drinks after work on Wed night with my colleagues from the leadership team – drink and gossip, the ideal way to let off steam

This week has been hard work redeemed by a drink with work colleagues last night – a good let-off of steam pic.twitter.com/4ESqUdIThv

โ€” Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) September 13, 2018

Planning for sabbatical

ChurchillA quick note that I submitted my Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship application to pay for a study trip during my sabbatical next year. It will be great if it happens. If it doesn’t then the sabbatical may just be hedonistic. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Personal Development

  • A bit more language learning on Duolingo than the previous week. Interesting incident on Sat when a young Spanish tourist wanted to have a conversation with me. Made me realise how limited my Spanish is in real life and how unsure I am in expressing myself.ย 
  • No coding practice ๐Ÿ™ Time, dear boy, lack of time.ย 
  • Emails sort of under control. Did get led into some fascinating articles about Quantum Computing and its potential to change everything such that the country who utilises it first will have a massive advantage over all others – slightly depressing.ย 
  • Tried using the new Gutenberg layout style on WordPress.ย It’s all about creating blocks and is different to the ‘classic’ version of laying out content. Felt OK though different and more complex than the current classic methodology.ย 

Don't let small minds...


Not personal development at all but important to my humanity that I met with my old friend Jamie on Fri. A bit of drama whilst I thought I had lost my credit cards; the wallet had slipped down the side of the chair! He’s well and has his new play coming up – a collection of 4 mini-ones. Should be able to make the Sat matinee though for the other performances I will be in Sitges.ย 

Health and Efficiency


JoggingShit week for exercise not least because of travelling and working then recovering (normality). However, I did manage to go for a jog-run on Sat. I decided to limit myself to a 5K having not done any major exercise for about 3 weeks.

Went OK though real annoyance was that my GPS watch went weird, first time ever, and I don’t have confidence in the reading of time, distance and pace so I’m not recording it.ย 

Back to Jog-run this morn. First time in about 3 weeks. c.5K – not sure exact time or distance as GPS watch went wrong! Ah well, nice in itself. #fitas

โ€” Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) September 15, 2018


INR on Tues morning and I’m back in range after being over the previous week. Back in 3 weeks time, etc – the ‘normality’ of having a chronic illness that you just need to ride with. Tried a couple of nights of not drinking – Mon and Thurs. Doable but not fun. Weight is starting to slip upwards. ๐Ÿ™ My head is in a good place, though I need to find pace and happiness in my life to stop the stress intruding. I’m getting into a habit of afternoon snoozes at the weekend – nice but makes me feel old and messes up my sleep later.ย 

A summary of 2016



Friday was a complete day-off work. Not my usual day-off but much needed. I was really knacked. Decided to do a bit of culture and went along to Tate Britain in the morning to look round their ‘Aftermath’ exhibition. I found this a powerful and inspiring show though with some dullness but also some real horror.ย 

WWI painting - blinded soldiers

It’s an exhibition about art that followed WWI. It’s a surprisingly small exhibition. And a lot is about art created during the war as well as the design of war memorials. For me, the most powerful stuff was the room with art depicting the injured veterans living their lives in the post-war period. And I was also inspired by cubist, dada, and surrealist art linked to the craziness of war and the messiness afterwards; note the ‘decadence’ of Weimar Germany which was also wonderfully creative and liberating.ย 

A nice morning at Tate Britain pic.twitter.com/NNvGA9vhJ4

โ€” Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) September 14, 2018

Ypres after the first bombardment

Books and Reading


The first book in the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer (published 2014). He is a very respected and much lauded contemporary sci-fi writer who I have been meaning to get round to for ages. It’s a bleak book. The story of an expedition going into alien territory on earth to find out what happened to the previous expeditions.

alien head and bodyIt reminds me of another very good sci-fi book I can’t remember the name of about aliens ‘contaminating’ an area then leaving and humans trying to make sense of what they have left. Think of ants trying to make sense of what humans leave behind at a festival, both good and bad stuff. Ultimately, and correctly, there is stuff that just doesn’t make sense to us – permanent mystery rather than tidy ending.ย 

‘Dreams Before the Start of Time’

The winner of this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award. Written by Anne Charnock and slightly reminiscent of the brilliant David Mitchell: inter-connected personal stories. But not as good IMHO. Stories set over a hundred years about issues related to different ways of conceiving children. Charnock’s belief is that more options will arise including gestation of a foetus in a laboratory, and fertilisation by using the cells of a single individual whether male or female.ย 
Leonardo drawingsI’m not into having kids so some of the dilemmas didn’t ring my bell. But I also found the book slightly hum-drum. Very little actually happens and life in 100 years feels very similar to now. Perhaps that will be true and making predictions is grandstanding but can we really say life in 2018 is similar to life in 1918? Think about how people relate to each other now and then.ย 

The Week Ahead

My mission for the coming week is to find an element of joy in everything I’m doing. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

  • A very bitty week when I am in work and when I am not. Simply stuff on every day and I need to ensure I’m not working more than my paid 3 days – fat chance. ๐Ÿ™
  • Some interesting work events this week particularly another cross-org hack on Tues afternoon I am running to source good media stories. Then on Wed evening the party for the first birthday of BEAM, Global Goals Africa discussion on Thurs, and the 360 Awards on Fri.ย 
  • I think my old friend Bob’s funeral is on Wed. I was told that date provisionally but it has never been confirmed with no more details. I’m cool with death and don’t need a funeral to say goodbye. We were good friends to each other whilst he was alive and he has influenced my thinking, in that way he lives on. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • If I can get in a couple of 5k jog-runs then I will be happy.ย 
  • Happiness will also come from doing some more language learning and even a bit of coding practice. Keeping control of emails will also bring happiness.ย 
  • I’ve started a good new reading book which I’m looking forward to reading. And then I have several more good ones lined up. ๐Ÿ™‚

And Finally…

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