in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #126 — Martha and the Vandellas

In the UK we build our houses for a northern climate. Double-glazed windows and plenty of insulation keep us cosy and warm. But those wonderful inventions are cursed when the odd boiling hot day turns up. We’ve just had a week of heat which has made it difficult to keep cool in my home office, and even more difficult to sleep. My colleagues in Johannesburg have the opposite problem where their houses are not built for the cold, so they have also been struggling with overnight temperatures of -5°C. (Interestingly, I heard John Gruber on a podcast this week talking about how bad Celsius is as a measure of temperature — with Fahrenheit, zero is dangerously cold and 100 is dangerously hot. It seems more logical than being concerned about the freezing and boiling points of water.) Of course, the hot weather disappeared as soon as the weekend arrived.

We’ve also had another week of the landscape gardeners at our house, building some decking and adding their finishing touches to our back garden. I’ve had to be up early in order to get on my bike trainer and get ready for their potential early arrival, leaving me more worn out than usual. The results are great — we’re so happy to now have a back garden that we want to spend time in. Unfortunately, a heatwave wasn’t the best time to be laying turf and I’m a little unconvinced that the brown areas will come back despite all of our watering efforts. They’ve agreed to fix them if they don’t ‘take’, but hopefully it won’t come to that.

The bike has been a real challenge this week. On Tuesday I found that I couldn’t finish the hard workout that was scheduled, and I found myself riding out the time on a much gentler setting. It’s bizarre, given how much I’ve been out doing long rides at weekends. Hopefully next weekend’s cooler temperatures and a little more rest will mean I am back to normal.

This was a week in which I:

  • Presented details of my long-running IT programme to Internal Audit, giving them an introduction to our part of the organisation, what we’ve done over the past few years and how we’ve been doing it. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and love talking about it.
  • Created a series of slides showing the IT infrastructure journey for our office in Brazil. Presented these slides at the monthly review meeting with the in-country CEO and Office Manager. We now have a suite of slides for each country whose IT we are responsible for.
  • Fleshed out a ‘lean business case’ for a project to start compliance recording for Teams, hopefully leveraging an initiative already happening elsewhere in the company.
  • Reviewed the next iteration of the design for our IT infrastructure back-end in Asia, which will hopefully be closed out next week.
  • Continued to edge forward with a physical access project, getting the thoughts of our CTO and requesting some more information from our vendor.
  • Attended our Information Risk Steering Group meeting. Encountered the FAIR Institute for the first time, which looks worth investigating further.
  • Had a walk-through of a handover document prepared by a colleague who has moved to Australia and leaves us at the end of the month.
  • Was given an overview of one of our business departments and some in-house tools that they have developed to run some of their key business processes. The developer is leaving so we are putting in an interim setup to manage the tools.
  • Attended a monthly internal catch-up on governance, control and cybersecurity, as well as a separate session on firewalls and networking.
  • Joined some meetings for the large global programme, and was given an overview of a financial calculator for project business cases that fall under the programme.
  • Reviewed a lean business case for a proposed Marketing project.
  • Spent more time coaching teams and individuals in our department on their Kanban processes. I really enjoy this part of my work.
  • Had a wonderful catch-up call with an old colleague in Johannesburg. It always takes a little to-ing and fro-ing for our diaries to align but I’m grateful when they do.
  • Spent a lot of time thinking and talking about the ideas in How To Be An Antiracist, which I am about a third of the way through. It’s excellent; every time I finish another chapter I see things in a slightly different way.
  • Got to the dentist for a checkup for the first time in two years due to the pandemic. As I suspected, it isn’t great, and I’m booked in for some work in a couple of months’ time.
  • Took delivery of one sofa where we should have had two; the larger one got into our house but we couldn’t fit it through the doorway to our lounge. Fortunately we could get a complete refund from the shop. Unfortunately a new order for another smaller sofa won’t be fulfilled for 20 weeks. Happy Christmas!
  • Met my brothers for a night out to celebrate their birthday. It was lovely to see them as well as my sisters-in-law. Dining out feels so fragile and I am still nervous about being indoors with lots of random people. I am hoping I don’t end up with a ‘ping’ from the COVID-19 app that I came in contact with anyone who subsequently tested positive.

  • Watched my youngest boy take part in his football club’s annual tournament. His team won the group and then lost to another team 1-0 in the final which was a superb result.

Next week: A final week before some time off, which I feel very ready for.

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