in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #114 — Steve from Hemel

Mid-bike ride pub lunch

Mid-bike ride pub lunch

It’s still very cold here in the UK, and strange to think that we are only a few weeks away from the longest day of the year. Since signing up to the 300km Audax ride in July my spare brain cycles have been spent thinking about cycling. I do so hope that the sun is shining by then — or, at least, that the rain stays away.

This was a week in which I:

  • Got my first COVID-19 vaccine. The whole process was incredible from start to finish. I booked both of my vaccinations online, choosing Hemel Hempstead Hospital as the place where I wanted to go. So many volunteers were on hand to welcome us, direct us to parking and through the screening to the waiting room. Sitting there waiting to be called into the vaccination room was quite an emotional moment, reflecting on what has happened over the past year and a half. The day after my vaccine I felt rubbish, like I was about to come down with something; although the worst of it was over quickly I’ve spent most of the week feeling like I have a mild hangover that gets worse in the evenings. Still, I suppose it’s good to know that they actually administered something to me and it wasn’t just a placebo.
  • Reviewed a number of documents relating to our infrastructure programme, reconciling a completion report for one of our recent projects to our document library and refining statements of work for two projects that we plan to complete this year in Beijing and São Paulo.
  • Had a few meetings and vendor discussions in preparation for our investor conference in June, reviewing what was done last year and planning our activities for the next few weeks.
  • Spent more time in meetings for our large group programme, understanding how the processes work to obtain funding for projects.
  • Discussed the concepts of customer journey mapping and how it applies to our work.
  • Completed the sessions to review the Kanban board for our Infrastructure and Operations team. One of the team members said the process was “cathartic” and I know what he means — everyone is now up to speed with the content of the board and knows what is in the backlog.
  • Saw another product demonstration for analysing large volumes of news feeds and generating leads.
  • Attended a session on changes to our performance management approach and the system that will be supporting the process from this year. There is an emphasis on developing staff even beyond the boundaries of the organisation, which seems very forward-thinking.
  • Learnt that trying to help isn’t always the right thing to do, and that you should always check ahead of time whether a presenter can still make a session.
  • Attended an online event organised by our Marketing and Communications team and hosted by Mr Plant Geek. Gardening and botany aren’t really my thing, but the attendees seemed to really enjoy it. Our team do a fabulous job of thinking up new themed events every few months, which is great for keeping connected and making everyone feel like they are part of something bigger.
  • Pulled back from evening Meetup sessions in order to try and get a bit more balance in my life again. Although meeting up with people from other organisations is great, I’m not sure how healthy it really is just to have another couple of hours of video calls after a long day at the desk.
  • Reviewed the school budget for 2021–2022 as well as our draft financial self-audit.
  • Rode 50 miles with my eldest son, his first half-century. He asked me if we could plan a route and go for a long ride — I know that the answer almost always needs to be yes. It was so lovely to do something together. I’m now planning to take him on his first 100km ride.

  • Rounded off our Saturday of cycling with a family dinner at The Alford Arms in Frithsden. Although it was outside, like in many pubs the area we ate in was pretty self-contained and shielded from the weather which I am not sure how COVID-safe it really is. Having been vaccinated and knowing that cases and transmission rates are low right now I definitely feel much more relaxed than at any point in the past year and a half. They took good care of us and did everything they could to make us feel as safe as possible.

  • Booked my bike in for a service at the end of May. There’s nothing immediate that needs an emergency fix, but I do want to make sure that everything is running well before I set out on my monster ride. The bike shop said that they are still busy, but the wait for a service is much shorter than it was last year.
  • (Eventually) successfully changed the chain on my bike for the first time, getting through a few pairs of disposable vinyl gloves in the process. Twice (twice!) had to undo my good work to find that I had threaded the chain around the derailleur incorrectly. Every day’s a school day.
  • Continued our journey through police dramas by watching Spiral season 4 and Line of Duty season 3, which are both excellent in their own way. It’s good to know we still have lots of episodes of both to get through.

Next week: A four-day week, with a focus on all of the usual projects and trying to get the statements of work agreed for the pieces of work we need to kick off.

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