Open Thinkering


Weeknote 40/2021

A field covered in plastic netting.

This week started off with a migraine. My wife, Hannah, was away on a combined work trip to visit the NHS Digital offices in Exeter and to see family in Devon. I got the kids into bed early on Sunday night so that I could play PS4 games with Adam and Sean. But then the aura began. Despite taking my meds, and going straight to bed, it was still there when I woke up at 2am. Monday was a write-off in terms of work. I just went for a long walk. Eventually, I nailed down the migraine trigger: annatto in one of the cakes we ate to celebrate my father’s birthday last weekend.

I’ve had some pain in my right shoulder recently. Not so bad that I can’t do, for example, pull-ups at the gym, but rather an aching at rest, particularly when I wake up in the morning and when I sit for any length of time. I finally got around to going to the physio, who diagnosed me with a damaged rotator cuff, and gave me some exercises to do. It’s important to get it sorted, apparently, as otherwise the muscles around it compensate while it gets weaker.

The rest of the week seems to have been all about interviews. I screened a number of applicants for the newly-created Product Lead position at Julie’s Bicycle, as well as participating in the next round of interviews with JB’s co-Managing Directors. But I also was on the other side of the virtual desk, as it were, being interviewed for roles at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and Open Climate Fix (OCF). I’m happy enough consulting and working through the co-op, but every now and then it’s worth seeing what’s out there and making sure I’m doing the right thing with my life.

The CISL position would, to some extent, take me back to my e-learning roots, helping them develop and build out their online course provision. The OCF position is with a small new non-profit and ostensibly focused on program management, but as with any tiny organisation, there would be plenty of mucking-in and helping with whatever needs doing. Neither position pays anywhere near what I earn from consulting (especially when you consider hourly rates) but there’s a part of me that wants to get my teeth into longer-term projects. And there’s more to life than money.

My non-work time is largely taken up by parenting, and especially taking our kids to various activities. Including school and County, my daughter now plays for four football teams, and my son three. They both swim. He plays basketball, she does Scouts. It’s busy; there are balls to be juggled and plates to keep spinning (and lots of kit washing to be done!) This time of year isn’t exactly my most energetic. If it wasn’t so sunny between the rain showers, I’d already have my SAD light out; I don’t like the nights closing in.

If there’s one thing that enables me to be productive even in the face of adversity it’s getting enough rest, and in particular getting enough sleep. So I didn’t particularly appreciate stirring in the early hours of this morning, coming downstairs, and discovering our teenage son either watching TV or playing Stadia. It’s not exactly the first time. I chased him off to bed, and went back to bed myself, taking the controllers with me.

The night was warm, especially in our ‘penthouse’ loft conversion so my wife and I opened the window. There was some ambient noise, so as usual I put a bed cushion over my head. I don’t know how on earth it got there, and it will haunt me until my dying day, but I woke a short while later with a slug crawling across my forehead. I truly may never sleep again. (No, I didn’t dream it.)

Having spent some nights wild camping over previous weekends, I must admit to having accidentally brought a couple of slugs into our house which had clung to my tent. But after seeing trails in our kitchen, I thought we’d got rid of them ⁠— and I thought they were just downstairs. I’m shocked. I shudder to think what would have happened had the slug got near my eye… or my ear. Ugh.

So I’ll be starting off the week a little sleep deprived, which to add to my joy happens to be one of my migraine triggers. Next week may, therefore, be a bit of a rinse-and-repeat of this week. I’m kind of just waiting for the aura… 🙄

Update: as we changed the bedding in the cold light of day, we found a slimy trail wiggling from the inside of our third-floor bedroom window, across the ceiling, down the wall, and onto the headboard of our bed. Disgusting. I don’t think I’ll ever open those windows again.

Image from a photo I took on my Monday walk of a field covered in plastic netting… presumably to stop slugs attacking plants. Perhaps it was a sign.

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