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Weeknotes #166 — Back in school

I paid a price for last weekend’s all-out cycling in that I was feeling a little tired and run down this week. I sloped off to bed early on a couple of evenings but didn’t seem to be able to catch up. The week was bisected by the welcome return of Governors In School Day which we hadn’t been able to hold since the pandemic began. It was wonderful to spend time with pupils and staff on a typical school day. It reaffirmed the reasons why we volunteer for the role.

Going into the office has started to feel normal again. We have some physical infrastructure work that I need to complete there; as long as there is a purpose to travelling in, it doesn’t feel like there is a presenteeism aspect to it. Quite a few of our global team are still on holiday so it has been noticeably quiet, but we should have a full compliment again in a week or two.

It feels as though the pandemic is all but over here in the UK with masks now relatively rare in any situation. We seem to have seamlessly moved on to other things. I still have friends and family members catching the virus but thankfully they aren’t getting very sick. It feels like the best we can hope for, and remembering how I felt back in 2020 I will definitely take it.

Although we’re at the end of April it is still pretty chilly. I ditched the bib-shorts and went back to winter gear for this weekend’s cycling club ride and was glad I did. When the sun breaks through the cloud things warm up pretty quickly, but it’s been cold and frosty overnight. Hopefully the weather is saving the best for a glorious summer.

A week in which I:

  • Ran the weekly project meeting for our annual conference, which is now only two months away. We have an important meeting with our technical partner next week, after which I will be able to put more meat on the bones of the plan.
  • Joined the broader bi-weekly project meeting with the conference sponsors and executives.
  • Got a second digital signage solution up and running as part of a trial. The display box is Ethernet-only, so I had to rig up an Ethernet to Wi-Fi bridge in order to get it to work. It sprang to life with a carousel of COVID-19-related visuals about washing hands and maintaining social distance, presumably installed by the last company that were testing it out.

  • Took part in a prioritisation and planning meeting for our component of the big group programme.
  • Joined the monthly meeting with the Head of Operational Risk to discuss hot topics.
  • Ran our bi-weekly all-team meeting.
  • Met with one of my team members for a handover. Sadly he’ll be leaving the team next week and will be sorely missed. We gave him his virtual leaving card this week (Thankbox is brilliant for this) and I’m hoping to see him in the office on Tuesday for a final day of work together.
  • Picked up an issue with a new starter who doesn’t fit any of the models that we have for on-boarding people.
  • Had a wonderful catch-up with an ex-colleague that I hadn’t spoken to in some time. Checking in with her is always food for the soul.
  • Met with a colleague in one of our client-facing functions for a random coffee. The last time we met was over a year ago and it was great to catch up.
  • Had an incredible time at Governors In School Day. Going and seeing things for yourself is so important, and reconnects you with the purpose behind the work that you do. The Deputy Headteacher had put together a well-structured timetable for the day and I got to visit lots of different classes and lessons. I also got to talk to smaller groups of pupils for feedback about their experience and the work that some of them are doing as anti-bullying ambassadors. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed being in school over the past couple of years. All of the staff and pupils made me feel so welcome and the children were eager to answer the questions that I had about their work in the lessons. Our day finished just after three o’clock in the afternoon and I was exhausted; the staff do an incredible job that I know I would be terrible at, and I take my hat off to them.
  • Wrote up my notes from the day and submitted them to the governor that is collating feedback from everyone.
  • Attended my youngest son’s parents’ evening online from home. I still think this is one of the best things to come out of the pandemic and hope it stays for the rest of the time that they are both at school.
  • Enjoyed a relatively flat club ride on Saturday morning. A cold start but by the end of it we were sitting in the sunshine on the terrace at the cricket club and I was reluctant to leave.
  • Had my eyes tested for the first time since before lockdown. I’m getting old and already wear varifocals. It was interesting to see that my short-sightedness that I’ve had since the age of nine is now steadily improving, but offset by ongoing development of near-sightedness. I need a new prescription. Getting old is an expensive business.
  • Mowed the lawns and prepped the back garden fence ready for painting tomorrow. These kinds of jobs always feel less of a burden now that I can wear my headphones and chug through a few hours of podcasts.
The lilac is coming out and it looks stunning.

The lilac is coming out and it looks stunning.

  • Experienced what my eldest son identified as a lucid dream. At some point in the dream I became suspicious that I was asleep but wasn’t sure if I was really there or in bed. I took out my phone to take a photo of a building and deliberately turned on the front-facing camera, only to find someone else’s face staring back at me. This jolted me out of the dream. I was very happy to find myself in my bed, having been proved right.

Next week: Another public holiday, staining the garden fence, prepping for and holding our next school governor meeting, saying goodbye to a team member, celebrating an anniversary and mapping out the technical work for our annual conference.

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