Open Thinkering


Weeknote 27/2021

Tomato plants growing outside my home office

This week has been dominated by a death in the family which, although expected as inevitable, isn’t easy to deal with. As such, I’ve been largely in support mode: looking after the kids, providing emotional comfort, and keeping plates spinning. I marvel at how resilient some people are, soldiering on in conditions that I suspect might crush me.

Everything else has faded into the background somewhat, but I have been looking at buying a one-person tent for some more wild camping. As ever, that’s meant doing more research than is strictly necessary and, at times my children have wondered why I’m watching YouTube videos of middle-aged men lying down in tents. Life comes in phases, I guess.

A while ago, I talked to one of my neighbours about this Low Tech Magazine article about fruit walls and urban farming in the 1600s. We agreed that the south-facing brick wall of my home office would be perfect for this purpose. This week, he presented me with four tomato plants, all around half a metre tall. I’ve planted them in a peat-free bag of compost (see photo above) and bound them gently to some bamboo poles. We’ll see what happens.

I spent most of Wednesday morning preparing for the course I’m doing next week on Sustainable Leadership with Jem Bendell and Katie Carr. Both of them are involved the Deep Adaptation movement, of which Bendell is the founder. The pre-reading and required introductory lecture have been really interesting. As part of my preparations I was also asked to reflect on how my youth affected how I see leadership, and to construct a timeline of different leadership situations I’ve been in. Responding to the prompts was enlightening in and of itself.

I worked (as in paid work) fewer than 20 hours this week, partly because it’s the summer, and partly because of the situation I gave a thumbnail sketch of above. I really do appreciate the ability to be flexible in my working practices, and to wrap work around my life, rather than the other way around. My wife, despite everything, has worked three days this week, getting her head around the complexities of the NHS. Much of that complexity seems to be, as I suspected, due to our current government chopping it up for private financial gain. 🙄

I’ve posted to my side project most days, as well as Thought Shrapnel. I was delighted that Oliver Quinlan (aka Mentat) has started his own side project called Synth Soundscapes. He previewed this on a Slack channel we’re both on, and I encouraged him to make really long versions of his generative ambient work. The first one, Circuits Cycling, is available now!

On the co-op blog I published a post entitled Badges for digital transformation: Trojan mice, paved cow paths, and constellation-creation. I forgot to mention last week that I’d published two other posts there:

The next few weeks are going to be a bit odd. Next week, I’m on the Sustainable Leadership course every day. The week after, I’m working three days before heading to Devon on the Thursday (ready for the funeral on the Friday). Then, I’m off for a week, in Devon, for a holiday we’d already planned. Then I’m back and working through August.

Childcare’s going to be fun this year. Thankfully, Covid surged notwithstanding, there seem to be lots of sports-related holiday clubs our two kids can attend!

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