Weeknotes 31 (Aug ’20): Return to the gym

  • My gym has reopened. I went up and did 20 minutes on a rowing machine with no-one else in the room. It felt great to exercise out of the house. My gym is a small independent and woefully ill-equipped in terms of staff to navigate through Covid-19. In that context, they’ve done brilliantly. I will just need to keep assessing to see how safe it is all feeling. In the meantime, S and I were also able to get a bit of space in an empty room there to kick some taekwondo paddles. Probably the highlight of the week.
  • Today I made some kimchi. Who have I become?
  • On Wednesday we took advantage of eat out to help out. We sat outside – Tower Bridge Road is not the most glamorous of locations – and it was very nice.

Weeknotes 30 (July – Aug ’20): Socially distanced kids

  • We had a limited return to in person taekwondo training this week, and taught outdoors on a 5-a-side football pitch. Keeping kids socially distant from each other is a bit of a nightmare. In Scotland and Wales the rules seem to be different, and more sensible, for children, and they aren’t expected to maintain distance. I obviously don’t know enough about the science of it, but it would be great if we could manage that in England. In any case, 3 hours of taekwondo outdoors is significantly easier than 2 hours of taekwondo over Zoom.
  • I don’t know how fact-based my anxieties are, but I have found myself cautious around people not wearing masks correctly when they should be wearing masks. In restaurants, a waiter seeming a bit casual with a mask feels like reason to not return. But also on the tube, where all sorts of people seem to be ignoring the mask requirement. On the basis that ‘my mask protects you, your mask protects me’, it makes me pretty annoyed. And far more reluctant to travel on public transport in London.
  • Been feeling pretty low all week. The pandemic. Ug.

Weeknotes 29 (July ’20): Holiday

  • I’ve been having a holiday. It’s been really good to restore my reserves a bit, and I realise I’ve also been feeling quite guilty about how incredibly lucky I am. I have been able to earn money during the pandemic, I have been able to (relatively) safely travel and holiday. I can watch the Government choices with anger and horror, but the fear I feel about it is as nothing to the fear others must be feeling. Guilt doesn’t help, but I guess it does at least confirm to me some humanity, and it helps me keep going when I have my harder days.
  • When we take a break from work we tell our clients. Some of them expect us to work when we’re away. We don’t.
  • My holiday has been mostly focussed around moving my body as much and as healthily as possible, and having as much nature as possible. Living in central London makes both of these things far less easy and pleasurable than I would like. I can understand why so many people seem to be trying to get out of town. I don’t yet have a strategy for getting more of this when I am home again, but I think this needs to be a priority.
  • The “return to play” guidance for taekwondo requires social distancing, which makes sense, but thinking it through has been one of the low points of the last week. e..g how to keep children 2 metres from each other in a context in which we normally encourage physical engagement. And that’s felt like the easy bit.
  • It’s not a surprise, but the gendering of face coverings has been Yet Another Thing to drive home how insane our world is. It makes me happy when I see people who haven’t succumbed.
  • I made a list of all the things I’ve been trying to fit into my week and established there are literally not enough hours in the day. This was a useful discovery and I have re-prioritised accordingly. Learning French has moved way down the list.

Weeknotes 28 (July ’20): Normal activities

  • A return to some ‘normal’ activities this week have felt significant.
  • I had a haircut. My hairdresser got keen and my hair is shorter than I was wanting, but probably exactly what I need. We all wore masks, of course.
  • I am not used to being with people anymore. Are you? It’s exhausting. But with good friends it’s worth the energy.
  • I have travelled this week. It brought home the reality that the pandemic is everywhere. That is depressing and overwhelming. But also that it’s possible to manage it better than it’s felt managed in central London. That gives me hope. And if you can get to some nature and move your body freely, it is very restorative.
  • I’ve been thinking a little bit about leadership. The person is charge is not always the best leader, but we all have to play the hand we’re dealt. What makes good leadership? Well, in this week, the bad leadership was a failure to unite or inspire, and in fact achieve the opposite. And, in a separate case, a failure to trust the experts with the problem, rather than giving them the solution. Different scenarios, but in both the outcome is not what it could and should be. So, when I lead, I should look to unite and inspire, and to trust my group with the problem.

Weeknotes 27 (July ’20): Risk

  • An unusually busy week. Our balcony has been leaking into our flat, and we were finally able to get some people round to fix it. Having people in our flat was strangely stressful – they were pretty gung ho, so there was both a sense that they might break something, and the complications of social distancing etc. It was fine. Obviously. And now we just have to establish if we’re meant to be able to see the water pooling under our paving stones or not.
  • And then a family birthday and a large present meant I found myself masked up and in an Uber for the first time in months. Another family member was unable to come at the last minute because of a suspected loss of sense of smell. This is the reality of the new normal, I guess.
  • And to further that sense, I have started to engage with the return to sport guidance that is filtering out about getting taekwondo back in a shared physical space. Two meter distancing seems to be required, which makes sense, and there is a lot to think about in terms of what is possible, how to keep standards up, and how to manage it all.
  • Gove says to use “common sense” about whether to wear masks in shops. That is such an absurdity it’s hard to know where to begin. The general population has been so confused by the guidance and information thus far, not least because of the Cummings fiasco, how can people possibly make proper “common sense” decisions? In my experience, the vulnerable and the people used to caring for others (mainly women) are the ones in the masks, scared as they are forced into close contact with people who are assessing the risk differently (mainly young men). Surely the government should use “common sense” and reduce the number of risk vectors we all need to think about these days.
  • I’m playing with Notion. My setup currently looks like a bunch of random notes and thoughts, but the simplicity of it is feeling a bit addictive. My horrible BuddyPress / BBPress project has been made less awful by a Notion bug document, into which I can easily paste screengrabs of bugs, to help me work through the bugs, and emojis to make me feel less depressed.

Weeknotes 26 (June – July ’20): Small worlds

  • I had an experience this week in which a couple of my worlds collided. The upshot was me feeling absolutely terrible about myself for a couple of days. Which was not helped by…
  • Working with WordPress, BuddyPress and BBPress is not a recipe for happiness. I am slightly appalled to find myself still, ever, dealing with these technologies.
  • I spent over an hour on the phone with my father trying to help him work out why some of his documents are in OneDrive. I ended up remote controlling his computer, which then further confused him, not least because he couldn’t comprehend how fast I typed.
  • I’ve ordered some face masks . Or rather coverings. There’s lots of variety in this field, it turns out.
  • I didn’t go to the pub or have my haircut on Saturday. I did, however, walk up near Borough Market and feel like the second wave was being built before my eyes. Recent stats for London indicate the R is around 1, and that’s without opening the pubs.
  • It’s genuinely hard to know what to do when you think your government is screwing everything up, isn’t it?

Weeknotes 25 (June ’20): Doing naughty things and honking

  • Between us, S and I taught 9 kids one to one this weekend, helping them with their poomsae. Perhaps the best bit about it was just seeing all these kids, who’ve been working hard on their taekwondo at home, and just see how they are doing. They’re doing pretty well, was the answer.
  • We had all the weather for it. I can’t tell whether my face is sunburnt or just windswept.
  • Otherwise, work, work, work.
  • My leg injury is gradually receding, so perhaps I’ll be able to run again soon.
  • Finished watching Crash Landing On You. Would i recommend 22 hours of Korean romance? Not really. But interesting for the North Korean stuff, for sure.
  • Very late to the party, S downloaded Untitled Goose Game yesterday. Today, I have been going around the flat doing naughty things and honking.

Weeknotes 24 (June ’20): Ups and downs

  • I missed last week because I started Sunday with an emotional collapse, which morphed into working for the rest of the day, and taking most of Monday off and going to the seaside. It was amazing to get out of London, although then Tuesday involved a further collapse after all the excitement. Anyway. Ups and downs.
  • With the exception of that, I managed to let work get a bit out of control and the balance with other elements of life went off kilter. This week will need a rebalance.
  • We are experimenting with a bread machine. So far, the results have not justified the existence of the machine in our flat, but the experimentation is far from over.
  • Had a Covid-19 test because of my involvement with the daily reporting app. I reported a headache, it asked me to have a test. Negative, of course, but quite interesting to do the test.
  • I have not had my hair cut at all through lockdown. I have finally reached breaking point, though, and am going to hand Sarah a pair of scissors.

Weeknotes 23 (June ’20): Black lives matter

  • Black lives matter. If you think the correct response to this is ‘all lives matter’ and you’re not being wilfully unpleasant, then I really suggest you do a bit more reading. It’s not hard to find. If you still think it after about half an hour of research, get in touch and I can point you to some resources. Do I think anyone I know might have that response? Yes. I know white people who are well intentioned but not tuned in to racism. And I have seen comments on friends’ posts on Facebook where this seems to still be a matter for debate.
  • I am as law abiding as they come, and even I think the protests have been totally justified, even in the midst of a pandemic. And the fact they are resulting in change is one of the most heartening things I’ve experienced in my lifetime.
  • The parallels in the UK between racism and sexism are pretty astonishing. They both seem to edge along in the right direction, but still have a long way to go.
  • In other news, I went for a walk yesterday and I’m just not used to exercise out of the house anymore. Alarming!

Weeknotes 22 (May ’20): Political despair

  • The US is rioting because yet another black man was killed by the police. Protests are being infiltrated by armed agitators, probably partly white racists, causing damage and violence, inflaming matters. The President is Donald Trump. What sort of society is this? There are so many areas of the society that are dysfunctional, it’s hard to see how they can reach anything that resembles a companionate, fair society. Widespread distrust of government. Widespread ownership of firearms. Widespread racism. Widespread belief in capitalism at all costs.
  • Years ago I was in the US and speaking to a liberal teacher. Even she thought national health care was a dangerous communist idea that would remove the right to fail.
  • Meanwhile, the British government… I actually can’t bear to write about it anymore.
  • I don’t know if this is the correct coping mechanism, but I’m trying to control the controllables.
  • I made granola.
  • I have been going through an HTML and CSS course to make sure I know how the modern stuff all works. I laughed at a bit about how in the olden days things used to be laid out with loads of divs. I remember when divs were an exciting upgrade from tables and CSS was a new idea.
  • I found out you can put variables in CSS.
  • On we go.