Open Thinkering


Weeknote 30/2022

Teams lining up before England vs Sweden women's Euros

This week caught me by surprise. It wasn’t supposed to be that way.

On Monday night we travelled down to stay over in Doncaster in preparation for the England vs Sweden match as part of the Women’s Euros. Ideally, we would have stayed Tuesday night after the game, but everywhere was booked up. We found out why the next day, as we saw people in university graduation attire as well as lots of swimmers competing in an international event at Ponds Forge.

Consequently, we spent most of Tuesday wandering around Tickhill, the market town in which Hannah and I lived for five years. Our son was born in Doncaster, but we moved to the North East when he was two, so despite our best efforts, he couldn’t remember walking around the pond next to the castle, feeing the ducks! We also spent time in Sheffield, eating and shopping before the match. It was an absolutely incredible occasion which we all enjoyed, my daughter (face-painted, and be-scarved) in particular.

I spent Wednesday co-working with Laura and Anne, finishing things off as they were due to fly to the US the next day. While we’re all meeting in Colorado for The Badge Summit, they’re including the event as part of a longer trip to visit Laura’s family in different states. It’ll be the first time since January 2020 I’ll have seen Laura in person, and the first time ever meeting Anne in 3D!

On Thursday I spent time doing logistics: upgrading my travel insurance, preparing invoices, getting small-denomination US currency for tips, and booking a train to cover the last leg of my journey back from London to Newcastle next Thursday. British Airways cancelled my Newcastle/Heathrow flights on the way and the way back, replacing them with ones that mean that I have longer layovers. I wasn’t willing to experience a 9.5 hour layover on my way back home, so instead I’m getting the Tube to Kings Cross and then the train home. Fingers crossed everything goes well, as we’re in the midst of industrial action and strikes.

Friday was interesting. It began with me running my fastest 10K for a decade, and ended by sleeping in an airport hotel. Between those times, I collaborated on and sent a grant application, finished painting my office (despite an unscheduled torrential downpour), and… Hannah tested positive for Covid. As a result, I had to organise getting the kids looked after by my parents while I’m away.

It’s ironic that Friday was a bit mad — my smartwatch told me I didn’t sleep as well because of the stress involved — as I’d consciously spent most of the week winding down. After The Badge Summit, I’m taking most of the rest of August away from work and although I haven’t got the most stressful ‘job’ in the world, I do like to relax. My time off will also involve travel: down to Devon for a family wedding, and then to France for a much-anticipated Team Belshaw holiday. We’re looking forward to doing some kayaking and sightseeing.

Next week, then, I’ll be in Boulder, Colorado at the event and hanging out with people I think are awesome. It should be worth the slightly painful travel. After that, my kids have got various football-related things and then we’ll be heading to Devon.

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