Week of solid progress

Mon 15 – Sun 21 Aug 2016

Olympics farewell

goodbye olympicsAnd so the Olympics draws to a close after a great second week and we progress to finish second in the table overall. Our best medal haul though more actual golds at London 2012. Sad about Tom Daley crashing and burning but still a great role model. I have loved watching most of it and look forward to the Paralympics though it does feel like they have been treated second best this time. The Olympics have definitely been an inspiration though how long-term is the question. They have made me think more about exercise and diet. But isn’t it strange how we can do so well at the Olympics and be such a nation of fatties? With so many of my fellow countrymen being fat racists and xenophobes.

The joy of politics

Ah politics – I love it especially the cut and trust of political humour offered by social media. Main thing last week was Corbyn saying he wouldn’t want to support Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia or any NATO ally if they were attacked (by Russia). The guy is not an idealist he’s just a coward. He’s saying if you get physically attacked then he would not help you fight back but instead would offer regret that it had come to this and discussion had not worked. He needs to grow a pair. Not too many words about politics this week, let me use pictures instead.

Corbyn peacenik

Three Stooges

Putin and Trump

Health and efficiency

Blood clotting

Mon was very much health day – this happens every so often. First to the anti-coagulation clinic to measure my blood clotting and thereby determines my warfarin dosage. INR was good at 2.4 so continue on the same dosage. They wanted me back in 3 weeks because I have missed previous appointments. Classic example of inefficient NHS. INR can be done warfarin tabletsat home if the machine is supplied and the results phoned in to determine the warfarin dosage. But my clinic insists on seeing me face-to-face with the frequent NHS thinking that people have nothing else to do in their life but attend medical appointments. Might be true for those on benefits and retired but for working people its’ a different situation. Managed to wangle that I’m not back for about 6 weeks.

The tax I pay for being ill

Next to my GP to renew all the meds that relate to my non-HIV conditions though some of these meds are necessary to counter-act the side effects of the HIV meds. Also new nasal sprays to deal with sinus problems. It costs a fortune for prescription charges though again not if you are on benefits or retired. So I have to buy an annual pre-paid exemption certificate (£104). The tax to be paid on being chronically ill but carrying on working.

Dodgy teeth

nice teeth smileDentist in the afternoon was for a regular six month check. All good. Though I was directed by the ENT hospital doctor to alert my GP to a tooth that may be affecting my sinuses, revealed by a scan. The same tooth that is wobbly and sensitive / feels weird. My usually lovely dentist was a bit arsey (which unusual for her). A case of one health professional unloading a problem to another especially as no letter had been sent to her just rather it turned out I had been simply asked to pass on a message. Her x-rays show nothing unusual. I have had several teeth removed recently due simply to them cracking. I know my dentist is reluctant to remove more and it would probably create big gap requiring a denture. Ah the joys of old age. So for the time being we agreed to do nothing.

Progress at the gym

All things health on Mon knocked out a gym day. But still got there three times last week and good progress:

  • Thurs mainly concentrated on legs and core plus 20 mins on rowing machine. Exhausting but I take the view it is good to use my time at the gym doing activity I can’t do elsewhere i.e. no point going on the running machine as I can do my jog-run. Exercise bike at my gym is knackered.
  • Fri went to the gym again. Thought about taking a day’s break but decided to push on. Went very well in that I avoided the rowing machine and concentrated on doing upper body exercises.
  • Sun was my recovery session post jog-run on Sat. Leg stretching and upper body work though I did also do 22 mins on the rowing machine because it felt good. Over 5km covered.

Progress on my jog-run

The jewel in the crown of my physical activity. I look forward to doing this each week and make the necessary preparation for it. Early to be on Fri night (10.30 which is basically as late to stay up as I can manage these days). Up around 7am and out for a warm-up walk and coffee. Then my jog-run starting off gently to not antagonise my achilles or knee and building up as I progress. Great result as shown by the tweet below.

runners making progressMy plan is to increase the distance by 200m each week and aim to do 1 km in under 6 mins (that’s the pace thing). Ulimate aim is to progress to doing 10 km each week in under 1 hour. My joints always play up slightly as I do the jog-run. The intention is for them not to get too painful and monitor how they are afterwards. And this week they were pretty good after the event and for the rest of the weekend.


A week of various digital bits and pieces:

  • Making progress around the implementation of our new Tech for Good programme particularly checking on any legal issues and wording of landing page to apply from and the application form itself.
  • Also conversations with colleagues in other funders on Tech for Good bids – how to encourage and how to assess. They are seeking our advice based on our growing experience in the field. Perhaps I am quite challenging in some of my advice but we do need to make sure we aren’t wasting money nor just throwing money at problems. I do worry about this perception that doing tech well means spending a fortune – not true.
  • Internal discussions with grants team colleagues about weaving digital into more of our general grant-making. Key that we ensure we are incentivising good digital projects to come forward that increase and enhance services offered by not-for-profit organisations. We must all stay relevant for the future or fade away.
  • Also ongoing deliberations on research to be done on tech for good in an international development setting.
  • And shortlisting for our Core Strength and Queen’s Young Leaders programmes. I continue to be fascinated by the achievements and optimism of some of the latter.

Couple of cool tips

Whilst researching to do a presentation, I came across this nice short film about the Tech4Good awards that I was involved with and recently – watch it here. And I found out about this site called Optimizilla which allows you to compress online images so they take up less memory and are less likely to slow down opening of websites. Also this website Pablo where you can impose words on pictures.


My achieving consecutive days drew to a halt last week with a couple of days missed out. Annoying but, as Paddy Ashdown said, ‘it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what matters is where you’re going’. Am making language progress but still much to do. Failed to keep up with looking at good YouTube vids on coding.

Books and reading

‘Necropolis. London and its Dead’ by Catharine Arnold

skulls in wall One of those 50p books I picked up at a charity shop. An introductory history of how dead people have been disposed of in London. Some fascinating stories particularly in the nineteenth century as London’s parish church graveyards became over-crowded and bodies were disposed of anywhere including being stored in cellars. Narrative doesn’t always work i.e. supposedly connected events have dates that don’t really tie them together. I really don’t fear death and am not concerned with the disposal of my body. But it is fascinating the way some have made it a sacred thing. Very much linked to the Christian ideal of resurrection even though it is admitted that all bodies rot away, ‘you are dust and to dust you will return’. 

Dr Who audio-books

The Nightmare Fair (sixth Doctor Colin Baker + companion Peri)

First of the lost adventures. These are a whole series of adventures that were to be made for TV but it didn’t happen. At the heart is season 23 on the TV pulled by the then BBC director general Michael Grade who hated Doctor Who. If you want to find out more about the huge number of adventures I am talking about then look at this great website detailing Dr Who stories that never happend here. Big Finish have picked up making many of these stories though some are just short noted ideas. However the Nightmare Fair had a whole TV script written for it and appeared as a book. Pretty sure I have heard it before but can’t recall how or when. The Doctor meets an old adversary (The Celestial Toymaker) in an OK adventure.

The Kingmaker (fifth Doctor Peter Davidson + companions Erimem and Peri)

historic picture of kingThis is an audio story I had no expectations of and what a treat it proved to be. The Doctor goes back in history to meet Richard III and try to solve the mystery of who killed the princes in the Tower? The highlight is definitely the king played by a wonderfully downbeat, laconic and crazed Christopher Eccleston. He who went on to become the brilliant ninth Doctor and lead its successful return to TV. It’s all a bit bonkers including gender relalignment and a brummie William Shakespeare. Great fun.

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