Weeknotes #63 — Running in the family

A week in which I…

  • Had to work with the team to cover the gaps left by the sudden departure of a key technical colleague.
  • Saw the team land a number of significant changes, resolving some long-outstanding issues we have had with our new platform in London, and paving the way to turn off even more SLAs with our previous vendor. Feedback so far has been very positive. I am hoping the changes have bought us capacity to deal with some bigger items that we have in the backlog.
  • Felt the weight of expectation from a wide range of business stakeholders, each of whom have ‘top priority’ work that we need to get done. Next week is going to be tough as we need to make tangible progress on all of them.
  • Visited school for our Headteacher’s mid-year appraisal. It’s a real privilege and pleasure to be involved, and it was a good chance to catch up with her and our Chair of Governors.
  • Had my social life affected by the coronavirus, twice. First with Album Club being cancelled due to the host’s son having just got back from a skiing trip to Italy. A planned meet-up with my brothers and their families was curtailed when one of them was informed that a staff member at my niece’s school has tested positive. Something tells me this is going to be the new normal.
  • Competed in the Berkhamsted 5-mile Fun Run, along with my 12-year-old son. We both had a great race, with him finishing seventh and me a little further back in 21st. I don’t think I could have gone much faster than that so I’m pretty pleased with it. The event is lovely as there are so many faces from around the town, and it’s great to see them all as they start and cross the finish line.

  • Visited Cliveden with my one brother and his family that so far remain unaffected by the coronavirus. It was lovely to go on a cold, brisk winter walk through the grounds and to spend time with them. Hopefully the others will be able to join us again soon.
  • Took the children and their friends swimming in Aylesbury, giving me an excuse to visit Deco Audio to stock up on some beautifully-cleaned vinyl. From Billie Holliday to Robert Cray to the soundtrack to Little Shop Of Horrors, they all sound great.
  • Gave up on Stewart Lee’s March of the Lemmings: Brexit in Print and Performance 2016–2019. I love Lee’s standup, and once went to a three-hour marathon of him performing at the Royal Festival Hall. But his Observer columns felt like a slog, particularly with the massive amount of footnote navigation you need to do in this book (it feel as though at least half of the work is footnotes written from a present-day perspective). I ended up skipping this part of the book and moved onto a transcript of his standup routine, but without the comic timing and intonation I found this to be equally tough. It feels good to have given up; life is too short to stick with a book you’re not enjoying.
  • Finished the second season of Succession. My wife have quickly munched our way through both seasons over the past month or so and can’t wait for the next one. Great characters, intriguing plot and so many laugh-out-loud moments.

Next week: Head down at work, my wife’s birthday, and going to see Marika Hackman in concert. Assuming that the coronavirus doesn’t put a wrecking ball through all of the plans.

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