Managed to get the budget over the line by Friday morning, but not without a lot of sweat, very early morning meetings and a seven-hour videoconference call. I think we’ve met all of the criteria that was asked of us; I have my fingers crossed that it doesn’t bounce back with a new set of requirements that mean we have to go around the loop again. Having the budgets in place is invigorating — our month-by-month financial plan shows when we need to be putting new things in place and decommissioning old things by particular deadlines, and now we need to get on and try and beat these dates. My mind has already turned to how I can bring this focus for the team in our daily and weekly standup/meeting cycle; everyone needs to have a crystal clear understanding of what success looks like and we need to make sure we are prioritising the stuff that helps us to achieve our bigger objectives. We have so much to do and it’s guaranteed to be tough but I’m really excited to get going on this next big phase. Everything else has built up in the background whilst my attention has been on the budget work for the past two weeks and now it’s time to catch up, but it’s great to be able to look at my email backlog and have renewed clarity on what matters.
I was more exhausted than usual by Friday afternoon but felt rewarded by both our team Lunch Club and Album Club taking place on the same day. We had skipped lunch last month as lots of people were out on holiday, but the next one seemed to come at us quickly. Kyms was the most popular venue on the list but they seem to be all booked up for months to come so we ended up heading to Mattarello. The food was simple but delicious — I had the tagliatelle ai porcini and it was cooked to perfection. We each tried some crescentine/gnocco fritto which was a salty mouthful of deliciousness.
Album Club was a complete treat, with the first Fleet Foxes album as the host’s choice, a literal smorgasbord of cheese and snacks, and a few of us going late into the night trying to harmonise our singing as someone played guitar. I knew of lead singer Robin Pecknold from his appearance with the Gene Clark No Other Band and it was great to hear such beautiful songs. I’ll definitely be checking it out again.
I’ve always been rubbish at going to bed early and it really bit me this weekend, with our youngest boy deciding that Saturday is an exceptionally great day to get up early, and a neighbour’s car alarm kicking things off at 6am on Sunday. It takes quite a bit for me to beat an early retreat into bed but I couldn’t stay up on Sunday night despite the backlog of things to do.
Alongside my vinyl obsession I have recently been delving into music books again. For a long time, I’ve had my eye on the 33 1/3 series, each one an in-depth focus on a particular classic album, and I finally decided to pick up the one on Donny Hathaway’s Donny Hathaway Live. It didn’t disappoint, making me hear the music in a different light and leaving me understanding a bit more about Hathaway’s tragically short life. I’ve now moved on to David Hepworth’s 1971 – Never A Dull Moment to continue scratching my itch. I suppose I am giving the WB40 book club a rest for a little bit. I feel the need to nourish myself with non-work material, particularly after a long day as I clamber into bed.
I finally managed to squeeze in the four and half hours to tackle the latest Hardcore History episode, covering the roots of the Asia-Pacific War of 1937-1945. Nobody does an engaging history podcast — or podcast of any kind — like Dan Carlin. On a lighter note, I also really enjoyed this interview with Kelis about her cooking, music and lots more besides.
Our driveway is all finished and looks amazing, although living on the side of a valley means that it feels unfeasibly steep now that we can finally park our car there. We leave the car in gear with the steering locked to the side but I’m still nervous, so I’ve invested in some rubber wheel chocks to replace the bricks that we are using under the wheels.
We had another typical sporting weekend with the boys running and playing football. Our eldest won his age category in the Moor Park 10k Fun Run for the third time in as many years and was very pleased to pick up another medal. Football with my younger boy was less successful with no goals for our team, but the scoreline didn’t do justice to their excellent performance. They all seem to have matured a lot over the summer and seem to be enjoying themselves much more so I’m hopeful for a good season ahead.
Next week: Back to the programme with renewed vigour. A meetup on Liberating Structures, a training course on hand-drawn data visualisation and our first Full Governing Board meeting of the school year.