What if your aunt had b****cks then she would be your uncle

Mon 10 – Sun 16 Dec 2018

The words of wisdom that are the title of this blog are a saying used by my dad. Not exactly words of wisdom but one meaning is that what has happened has happened and there is no point on dwelling on what might have been. It is so easy to fall into the ‘What if’ trap. Spending pointless time dwelling on where our lives went wrong and how they might have been different. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have often thought about the points where I made life changing decisions. I think there are hundreds in my life, probably the same for everyone. But it has no point and is wasted time. You could say it’s a bit of fun but it’s fun that distracts us from enjoying life now. ‘What if’ is really just a way of making us unhappy.  Energy should be on making the future not lamenting what has been. 

Don't let small minds tell you that your dreams are too big

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run – another good one 🙂

My thoughts around ‘What if’ occured on my weekly jog-run. I don’t listen to music as I jog-run round St James Park and Green Park. It’s an opportunity for me, my mind and my body to come together.

I actually did a decent time – 1 hour 5.24 mins. So a minute better than the week before. But I was delayed on my route by about 30 seconds so some horses could go past. Part of me is annoyed because my time might have been better. But such ‘What if’ is pointless because I went faster than the week before and that small break may have actually enabled me to pace myself better than previously.

Overall, a good jog-run on a very cold, half-dark Sat morning. My real proud point was that all the individual 1 km times were under 7 mins. 🙂

Lady running in cold weather ('me on my jog run')
Me on my jog-run

Innovation and Creativity

A busy week at work with me doing an extra half day that will be taken as TOIL on Xmas Eve. Still trying to fight my way through work emails (now there’s an interesting ‘What if’ – what if emails had never been invented?) But lots of team and organisational getting together points.

Progress being made by the team

Our big volunteering day

Mon afternoon we had our monthly all staff meeting for general updates. Then on Wed we had an all-staff volunteering day. We met up at a warehouse in Deptford to support the charity FareShare which distributes unwanted food to charities. Our role was to sort all the different donated goods into single categories so they could be easily stored and distributed. I was on rice & pasta. 

It was a really great day and gave a nice opportunity for us to bond whilst doing something very purposeful. Chilled and relaxed plus a tour round their main warehouse and general info on their work. Particularly nice for me to talk to James their Director of Marketing.

Exploring Deptford

After finishing, we all headed into Deptford for a Xmas drink together. I don’t know Deptford at all and it was really nice to get there earlier in the morning than I needed to be so that I could explore what is an upcoming, trendy area. 

My team (half) away day and Xmas curry

On Thurs morning, we had a half-away day of my Influence team. We met at the office of our friends Joseph Rowntree Foundation who do such excellent work trying to solve poverty. A really great morning where we updated each other on what we are up to. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am so lucky to work with such great colleagues. Then onto a nearby Indian restaurant for a team Christmas Curry. 🙂

Culture and Friends

‘Book of Mormon’

Thurs evening, me and Dave went to see the musical ‘Book of Mormon’. The c.£60 ticket from Dave was his Xmas present to me. I have heard so much about this musical and the audience was surprisingly young for West End theatre. But what an irreverent show! Funny but so many parts of it are ‘OMG!’ with guilt about laughing. Deeply disrespectful of the Mormon religion and stereotyping of Africa (Uganda is nothing like that). But it’s offensive outrageousness is what makes it. Definitely worth seeing but be prepared to be shocked as well as amused. 

Cedric & Alan

Sun me and Dave went to one of our favourite restaurants to meet our friends Cedric & Alan before Xmas.  They are such fun to be with though our attention was diverted when a very sexy young man came to sit at the next table. 🙂 I massively respect both of them not least because every Xmas they do an open house for those at their church who have nowhere else to go. Usually they end up with +25 elderly people who they feed and entertain from lunchtime through to midnight – respect. 

‘The Happy Prince’

This was a DVD I borrowed from the library and we watched it on Sun evening. It’s the recent Rupert Everett film about the life of Oscar Wilde after his release from Reading gaol. I’m not an Everett fan normally, I always find him arrogant. But this was a very good film about a wonderfully debauched and Bohemian yet incredibly sad life. Poor Oscar wandering around Europe in disgrace .

Oscar Wilde

Books and Reading

Patrick Gale

This is an author I have a difficult but intriguing relationship with. He’s a great writer and has been prodigious in his output. I have enjoyed nearly all his books I have read. But they are achingly middle class. They all centre on the life adventures of comfortable people with posh names. ‘Take Nothing With You’ is his latest and I found it in hardback in a charity shop for £1.50. It’s good but centres on a lead character called Eustace who lives just off Kensington High St and plays the cello. 🙁

The Exchange and the library

Lovely books, thousands of them

Continued sorting out of books and DVDs at the new flat. I’m using it as an opportunity to unload. Consequence was that I had a couple of bags of books to take up to the Exchange in Notting Hill on Tues morning. £7.50 cash for one bag and £15 vouchers for the other. The latter I swapped for a load of interesting horror novels. 

Then on Sat morning to another one of my favourite book places – Victoria library. It’s near to Dave’s, run by my old friend Ben, and I can use it based on an agreement between different London boroughs. It’s a great library and Ben ensures it has a great selection of books. I returned 2 I had read and borrowed another 8 – totally unplanned but some new books I am really looking forward to getting into. 🙂

Personal Development

First Aid training

I do very little formal work-linked Learning & Development primarily because of lack of time. However, the opportunity came up to attend office based training to be a ‘First Aider at Work’ and I decided to take it. So an all day course in the office last Fri. 

All done by a volunteer called Nigel who was a genuinely nice bloke. I did some First Aid training at the ILS 3-day away training earlier this year. But it’s one of those things that I am incredibly nervous about ever having to do and practise must make it better. All the usual stuff about resuscitation, compressions, bleeds, etc. I really enjoyed the day. 🙂

Bleeding finger

The Usual Suspects

  • Languages: 2/5 limited progress and using Drops nearly as much as Duolingo
  • Emails: 3/5 an element of feeling in control
  • Coding 0/5 nothing to say 🙁
Overwhelmed by paper

The Week Ahead

  • Sort of normal week in as far as the one before Xmas ever can be. Work Mon, Wed, Fri then off on Tues, Thurs, weekend. 
  • Big work thing will be on Wed meeting Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of parliament’s International Development group. More talking truth to power and working out how best to work with politicians to take forward common goals as done with David Lammy MP. Will be nice to see Stephen again as we knew each other at university. 
  • Popping into work on Tues lunchtime as it is the tombola I organise to raise money for charity – the donated prizes are weird and wonderful!
  • Dave’s mum is down for Xmas next Sun
  • Friends to be met before Xmas – my old boss Adam is having drinks on Tues night and then my old mate + aspiring playwright Jamie for coffee on Thurs
  • Big jog-run at the weekend. My gym definitely won’t re-open till afer Xmas now. 🙁
  • Looking forward to finishing the Patrick Gale and starting a new book perhaps one of the ones I got at the Exchange or Library. Or perhaps a bit of Terry Pratchett.
  • Push onwards with language learning and email control 🙁

And Finally…

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