in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #274 — Long drive

What’s making the trees so sad?
What’s making the trees so sad?

After a week in New York, it was back home and back to the office. Jet lag messed with my sleep for a couple of days but it wasn’t too much of a struggle. It was good to be back in the same time zone as most of the rest of the organisation, feeling as though I was getting back on top of things.

I’d booked next week off as it coincides with school holidays, and I’m entering the ‘use it or lose it’ phase with leave days that I carried over from last year. I haven’t taken any time off since Christmas as there never seemed to be a gap in the work. At the start of the week I found out that my leave coincided with everyone else’s, but I’m so thankful that one of my colleagues gracefully and lovingly moved his leave to a week later to allow me to get a break.

Of course, now I’m off I’ve suddenly got sick with some kind of lurgy. At least I’m in the slow lane for a few days.

I’m so glad that we now have a date for our election here in the UK. Getting a different government in won’t solve the myriad of problems here overnight but it will be a new beginning. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s first week of campaigning has been so awful that people are wondering whether he’s actively trying to lose the election. Given how awful his party is, what a hash he’s made of the job since he came to power and what he could be doing with his time instead, what if he really is trying to lose it? My constituency is changing from South West Hertfordshire to Harpenden and Berkhamsted, a change that is moving us from a location that has never voted in anyone other than a Conservative to one that would have voted for the same party in even greater numbers. My vote is usually wasted given our ‘first past the post’ system. If anyone other than a Conservative gets voted in here on 4 July, their party is toast.

From the Guardian’s tool to review how people would have voted if the new boundaries were already in place in 2019.
From the Guardian’s tool to review how people would have voted if the new boundaries were already in place in 2019.

This was a week in which I:

  • Had the regular programme and project meetings.
  • Met with our senior leadership team to review the 10-year financial projection across our real estate/facilities cost centres.
  • Ran the programme Steering Committee meeting.
  • Held a walkthrough of one of the real estate/facilities projects we are running this year with the leads of each of the streams of work. It’s very effective to get everyone in a room to go through each of the deliverables as a team.
  • Hosted a presentation to our sister company on how we plan to move forward with a proof-of-concept meeting room technology setup a space that we both share. We have many follow-up actions and questions from the meeting and a closing window to get the work done.
  • Met with our own team to discuss how we will go about supporting the PoC and what our plans are for the longer term.
  • Reviewed the latest version of the mandatory refurbishment costs for one of our offices.
  • Fed into the decision-making process for our door access, CCTV and intercom/doorbell technology choices for fitting out a new office. Met with our technology supplier to run through the choices and get a quote.
  • Had an introductory meeting with a senior consultant who works for one of our vendors, with an intent to bring him in to help us with our real estate/facilities projects.
  • Discussed mandatory compliance call recording with one of our regional Compliance officers.
  • Reviewed the proposal for revamping our internal meeting room technology with our design vendor.
  • Had an introduction to our new interim head of Non-Financial Risk.
  • Reviewed and revised the documentation on the intercompany services that my team provides.
  • Enjoyed a Learning Hour on the development of our infrastructure architecture and where we are going. It’s such a lovely thing to see how the presentation skills of our team members have grown over the years.
  • Along with other qualified first aiders, met with an occupational health specialist to talk about how to deal with issues resulting from type 1 diabetes in the workplace.
  • Joined some meetings to talk about how we can support a colleague and friend who has been going through some very difficult events, as well as supporting each other. I’m so grateful that it’s 2024 as I don’t think the support would have been in place back when I started my career.
  • Continued filling out a timetable for my son’s work experience week at my office. People are so generous with their time.
  • Found myself with three train tickets left in my flexi season bundle. Managed to get a £70 refund, minus a £10 admin fee, just through making a quick phone call. It feels so good when customer service just works.
  • Spent about eight hours driving to and from Manchester on Saturday. My eldest son had a race meet at the lovely running track that sits in the shadow of the Manchester City ground. We had a fright on the way home when a lorry started moving into our lane and I had to swerve to avoid hitting it, but otherwise the journey was uneventful. Just long. We got back home just before 1am. I’d decided ahead of time that I wouldn’t take part in the RideLondon-Essex 100 cycle as it would have meant getting up super early to drive myself and my bike to the start line. Maybe some other time.
Running statue at the Ethiad Stadium
Running statue at the Ethiad Stadium
  • Met up with my family at my brothers’ house on Sunday for a lovely impromptu barbecue.
  • Continued the long process of getting the house back in order after getting a new kitchen fitted. We’re down to the last few items that we need to find a home for, as well as trying to sell a lovely sideboard on eBay. I’m sad to see it go but there’s no room for it anymore.



Next week: A week off, pootling around at home. I can’t wait.

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