in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #266 — Doughnuts

London Bridge, 30 March 2024

London Bridge, 30 March 2024

I really struggled this week. I knew something was up on Sunday night when I sat down to watch TV with my wife and I just couldn’t get into it. My brain was filled with clouds which meant that I couldn’t focus. I carried this feeling into the office on Monday and spent all week waiting for it to pass. The root cause is that there’s just too much going on at the moment. Work is exceptionally busy and we’re in the middle of some major house renovations. It will get better. I’ve been very glad that the long Easter weekend had arrived.

This was a week in which I:

  • Juggled preparing for a programme steering committee with coordinating with our plumber, builder and kitchen fitter as we navigated problems thrown up by our chimera of a house and the order in which things need to get done.
  • Ran the programme steering committee and agreed on an approach in principle for one of the more complex aspects of the work we are doing. Putting the slides together to frame the problem took me the best part of a day complete. One of my colleagues has volunteered his time to run with this issue which lifts a significant piece of work from my shoulders.
  • Met our AV/IT vendor at our office to review our current internal meeting room setup.
  • Met with a prospective vendor whose product we are looking to install in our spaces to monitor a vast array of metrics such as air quality, temperature, humidity, meeting room usage etc.
  • Attended our weekly programme meetings.
  • Met with the Head of Operational Risk to review our programme risks.
  • Caught up in-person with a senior colleague in the Risk team who was visiting from South Africa for the week.
  • Attended our Information Risk Steering Group meeting.
  • Enjoyed our monthly free lunch in the office, catching up with colleagues that I don’t usually speak to.
  • Had our monthly Lean Coffee session, using FigJam for the first time. Switching over from InVision Freehand was pretty seamless, with the session made easier by not needing to have everyone set up with an account beforehand.
  • Said goodbye to two colleagues, one who has retired after 42 years with the firm and another who is closer to the start of his career than the end. It’ll be strange not having them around in the team anymore.
  • Enjoyed two Album Clubs on successive evenings. As well as instalment 157 of our long-running in-person OG club, I joined the good people of WB-40 for our online meetup. Our host went left-field by choosing a ‘video of an album’ to play. I’m not sure it was entirely within the rules as the video cut some songs short and left others out, but we loved it.

  • Went shopping in search of chairs and pendant lights for our kitchen but came up empty-handed.
  • Popped into my brother’s house who was barbecuing for the family. Our boys were busy doing their own thing, which made me wonder how many family gatherings will include all of the children in the future. It was lovely to see everyone.
  • Had the most fabulous time at Bread Ahead in Borough Market doing a three-hour doughnut-making course. My wife booked it when she spotted a ‘two for one’ offer at Christmas, mainly (I suspect) as a vehicle for us to all do something together. As the kids get older we have to be more deliberate about putting time aside as everyone is usually busy with their own things. We had so much fun. Our host, Victoria, was excellent — she had a great sense of humour, kept everyone on track and was super knowledgable about all aspects of baking. I’m no chef but I do enjoy the process as long as someone is supervising me or I have super clear instructions to follow. We walked out of the session with 24 doughnuts and four brioche loaves between us.
The queue for doughnuts outside of Bread Ahead was a sight to behold. They sell thousands each weekend.

The queue for doughnuts outside of Bread Ahead was a sight to behold. They sell thousands each weekend.

Frying the doughnuts, popping bubbles in the dough with a stick.

Frying the doughnuts, popping bubbles in the dough with a stick.

Cream, honeycomb and jam doughnuts

Cream, honeycomb and jam doughnuts

Brioche loaves. Recommended as the basis of a fish finger sandwich.

Brioche loaves. Recommended as the basis of a fish finger sandwich.

  • The train line was undergoing significant work all weekend so we had to drive from Berkhamsted to Borough. JustPark is an invaluable tool for a trip like this, finding us somewhere safe and secure to park close to the venue. Although we had to pay £24 for parking, £15 for the Congestion Charge and whatever it cost us in fuel, between the four of us it probably didn’t work out any more expensive than taking the train.
  • Switched from the AA to the RAC for breakdown cover, thanks to my brother’s ‘friends and family’ discount. He’s saving us around £200 a year.

Media

Podcasts

  • Enjoyed listening to Martha Lane Fox talk about her life and experiences that have shaped her. I loved hearing her honest admission that her wealth saved her life.

Articles

Video

  • Thought Anatomy of a Fall (2023) was excellent. I couldn’t quite place the lead actress, until I realised that I’d seen her in Toni Erdmann (2016) a few weeks ago.
  • Enjoyed 2 Tone: The Sound of Coventry and Terry Hall at the BBC on iPlayer. I much prefer the ‘…at the BBC’ shows where the music isn’t strictly chronological as you never know what gem is going to turn up next.
  • Started watching Shogun on Disney+. Very enjoyable so far.

Books

  • I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck by William Souder. I love picking up a book which looks like it might be hard work but you find yourself enjoying such quality writing that the pages are almost turning themselves.

Next week: A four-day week, getting disconnected from our neighbour’s power supply and presenting to 800+ people on the topic of Generative AI.

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