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Weeknote 23/2021

Paddling down the River Coquet

I’m trying my best at the moment to take Wednesdays off as part of my plans to return to the four-day weeks I enjoyed from 2016-18. This week, I pretty much achieved that, apart from about one hour’s worth of work.

I like getting up early on days I’m not working, as it feels like I’m carpe-ing the frickin’ diem out of it. This Wednesday, I got up early and drove to the coast to do a 10k run on the beach. I forgot my running trainers, so I ran barefoot and listened to a great podcast on Plato’s Republic. There was hardly anyone around, the weather was perfect, and I ran like the wind.

The only trouble was that, unlike the late, great Dai Barnes (whose feet resembled a hobbit’s) I ended up getting blisters on three toes on each foot. I spent the rest of the day hobbling and trying to find blister plasters. Still, I managed to go out for lunch with my wife, Hannah.


This was Laura‘s third and final week of being away on holiday, so I’ve been cracking on with stuff for Participate and Greenpeace without her. I also attended some Catalyst meetings related to some new work we’re doing with a cohort and also the network engagement working group. We’ve got some work scheduled for a new client, and I caught up with Philo at Gradu.al and Harry at Outlandish.

In total, I only racked up 21.75 hours of paid work this week, but that still got me to the target amount that my wife and I set last year as a minimum. As I wrote last week, I’m interested in trying to make the world a better place, but I’m also interested in not just working for the sake of it! This week I’ve greatly enjoyed returning to swimming, as well as reading some philosophy, and posting to Thought Shrapnel and extinction.fyi.

Last Sunday, Team Belshaw went kayaking up from Amble to Warkworth, which was great. One slightly surreal moment was when some mourners came and tipped some ashes over the side of a bridge we’d just paddled under. I’m just glad we didn’t arrive slightly later 😧


I managed to somehow lock myself out of my Nextcloud instance this week, and then realised I was paying a lot of money to host it when all I really use it for is as a feed reader. So I’ve switched back to Feedly, which I’m enjoying, although I haven’t yet upgraded (I used to be a paying customer).

On Thursday and Friday this week I was relegated to working on my laptop(s) as the builder I forgot was coming arrived to re-felt my office roof. It’s difficult getting workmen at the moment as the UK emerges from COVID restrictions, so I’ve been working in the lounge mostly. It’s easy to underestimate how valuable it is having your working environment set up exactly as you like it until you haven’t got access to it!


Next week, I’m looking forward to recording Episode 4 of the Tao of WAO podcast, cracking on with some client work, and meeting 1:1 with the Catalyst cohort who we’re supporting over the summer. I’m also looking forward to spending next Wednesday with my head in a good book while sitting in the garden, hopefully with the sun shining down on me.


Photo of my son in front of me in a two-person kayak paddling down the River Coquet in Northumberland. The urn was emptied over the left arch!

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