You have arrived at your destination

Mon 25 – Sun 31 March 2019

Your destination is ‘Sabbatical’, have a nice time

So I have reached the point where my sabbatical starts, this is my big chance to do something different with my life for 4 months.

I am so excited but also with a sense of trepidation. It’s a destination but it’s also a jumping off point. I’m not travelling to India, Africa, China, Australia or South America. But I do want a difference. Not least because I don’t think I have ever had 4 months not working. Next stop is retirement (if I’m lucky) and who knows what condition I will be in for that?

The wishlist for my sabbatical:

  • Lose weight
  • Get some exercise everyday especially getting to know the gym again
  • Practice coding every day
  • Do some language learning everyday
  • Try to get back to creating art

Sorting stuff out at work

Work was not too bad last week. Lots of sorting out before I left including deleting emails and physically sorting the assorted crap stored in my locker. Amazing how ‘very important’ reports and documents from 2018, 2016, or even 2012 really aren’t that important any more. Everything is transient.

Unconference – learning for the future

Big thing last week was our own internal Unconference to look at what we had done well as an org over the last year, what we hadn’t done so well. and what we had to do to arrive at a better destination in the future. Unconferences are meant to be slightly chaotic with people setting the agenda and dropping in or out as they wish. However there is a danger in giving too much freedom and people demanding to be told what to do.

Being told nice things

A nice exercise at the end of the day was to write post-it notes about the strengths of an individual and stick them to their back. They can then look at all the positive things people think about them. I had:

  • Passionate (twice)
  • Intellectual
  • Friendly
  • Energetic
  • Wonderful
  • Amazing
  • Insightful
  • Knowledgeable

Not a bad list at all. 🙂

My wonderful team – see you in August

Big goodbye to my wonderful team on Fri with chocolate and wine. We also had a shared breakfast in the sun at the ‘rat cafe’ (I love it, my colleagues less so) and I was treated to lunch there. And on Wed evening we had drinks across the road after the Unconference. Lots of hugs and requests that I definitely come back in August. That is currently my intention.

Big dates

So last week had 2 important dates it would be remiss to ignore.

Non-Brexit day

We should have left the EU on Friday 🙁 but it didn’t happen. 🙂 The whole situation is a fucking mess and the damage that has been done to the UK’s reputation is immeasurable. Someone said that people look at us now how they used to look at Italy with its chaotic, joke politics. Friday’s demo was a celebration of neo-fascism and people whose mantra is ‘we won two world wars’ (we didn’t on our own).

I don’t want us to leave, what is the point because as the old codgers die off so the young people will take over and we will be back in within 10 years. All such a waste as climate change happens and the world is on fire. 🙁

Mother’s Day

How could I forget Mother’s Day? Or perhaps a better line would be how would my mother let me forget it. Dave went up North to see his mother and me and my brother had a fish and chip lunch with ours. I don’t really like fish and chips – nice idea but it always makes me feel sick with just the sheer amount of grease. Had to snooze afterwards as I felt sooo full-up.

Health and Efficiency


Whilst Dave made his way north for Mother’s Day on Sat morning, I did my usual jog-run. Felt a bit light-headed on Fri night and was in bed by 9pm followed by a poor night’s sleep and weird dreams about a funeral with Marc Almond in attendance. So slightly worried about if the jog-run would be OK.

It was fine though slightly hard work. 1 hour 5.36 mins which is OK though there were two 1 kilometre stretches where my time went over 7 mins. If I had managed to keep under 7 mins for each km then I would have been under 1 hour and 5 mins. 🙁 Next time…

Other exercise and weight

Yoga on Tues morning and I’ve signed up for 10 sessions so hopefully one a week through my sabbatical. Also 2nd pilates intro class last Thurs (3 more to go). Between yoga and pilates I am definitely getting more awareness of my body and breathing. Hopefully I am also getting more supple. Massage on Tues afternoon with lots of work on my legs and glutes. Finally, looks like there is some movement in terms of me losing weight. 🙂

Details on jog-run times and weight here.

Books and Reading

‘The Bazaar of Bad Dreams’

Famous author

A collection of short stories (though some more novellas) by the brilliant Stephen King. Very recently brought together, 2015. Each one has a short explanation at the start of why and how it was written. A wonderful mixture of sci-fi, horror, and thriller. Some of the stories might not be that original (it’s a bit like The Twilight Zone) but the writing is beautiful. In a very short space, he creates characters that you care about and understand.

‘Metro 2033’

I have been reading this book intermittently on my kindle, primarily as I am walking around. It’s a cult novel by a Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky published in 2005. A post-apocalypse novel set in the Moscow metro system where the people who survived nuclear war seek shelter. It’s a real bloke novel with lots of shooting up and no female perspective. Indeed, I understand it spawned a computer game – no shit! Though interesting and with surprising depth despite everything.

Details on the books I have read can be found here.

Art and Culture


Off with Dave on Thurs afternoon between bubbles with Caroline (see below) and pilates to the ICA to see this film about a French rent boy. Great music and it really reminded me of my druggy, clubby days; I got totally absorbed at points. It’s very graphic and quite violent though also with a slight smell of provinicialism (set I believe in Strasbourg rather than Paris). But it also reminded me in a way of ‘Pretty Woman’ with its slant of someone being saved. Though, in the end, are they really?


Matt Haworth of Reason Digital

Great to meet on Wed evening with Matt. A nice bloke and someone so knowledgeable about tech. But also to be admired for setting up a digital agency that really gets Tech for Good. We ended up at the new Kings Cross development which felt dystopian in its set-up (bare brick tunnels and squares with shops selling crap at an inflated price or glass block offices) but all the restaurants and bars were packed. There’s no accounting for taste.


Then on Thurs afternoon, with Dave I met his friend Caroline. A wonderfully loud American with great presence – you can’t ignore her. Very generously we met at the National Gallery cafe and she treated us to a bottle of champagne. Her and Dave didn’t drink that much so I ended up quaffing over half of it. 🙂 Scary thing was I felt absolutely fine afterwards and managed the cinema then pilates.

The Week Ahead

Now I am at my sabbatical destination, I must make the most of every single day. Though I suspect initially it will feel like being on a week or fortnight’s leave. Probably only in about week 3 will I realise the immenseness of my current destination.

  • Off to see the Pierre Bonnard exhibition at Tate Modern on Mon – a nice way to start things off
  • Jog-run next Sat plus yoga, pilates and massage during the week. On Wed, I start back at the gym 🙂
  • Couple of films I would like to see this week – ‘Girl’ and ‘The Favourite’. Latter would be nice to see if all the fuss is justified.
  • Going to try to take control of my diet and lose weight
  • Also get down to some coding practice and language learning each day
  • Currently reading the next Bryant and May novel in sequence (‘The Burning Man’) and aim to get this finished before the end of next week. Worth noting it’s Velvet Page next Thurs but I will have to miss as it clashes with my pilates class 🙁

And Finally…

Placard for a people's vote

One thought on “You have arrived at your destination

  1. Have a great sabbatical Billy. Enjoy yourself and hopefully any renewal will lead to a new and exciting future….!

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