Open Thinkering


Weeknote 52/2023

Well here it is, the end of the year! I’m publishing this early Sunday afternoon from Ulverston, birthplace of Stan Laurel. I’d like to go to the Laurel and Hardy museum; the rest of my family would not. Instead, we walked up a hill and back down again.

Team Belshaw is having a short holiday over New Year for several reasons. The first is the weird way that the schools in Northumberland decided to break for Christmas. The last day was Friday 22nd December, meaning they don’t go back until January 8th. As my daughter pointed out, once Christmas is over, “you don’t really want to watch Christmas films any more”. So this holiday helps break up the long period between Christmas and going back to school.

The second, related, reason is that our kids do a lot of sport. Those activities don’t run over the festive period, which means that they just sit and eat a lot of chocolate and play Fortnite. So this is an attempt to get them out and about.

Third, we wanted to go somewhere warm, but didn’t start thinking about going away until we moved house at the start of November. By then, prices to temporarily escape this isosceles triangle of wind and racism were sky high. So instead we’re going somewhere closer to home.

This was the first Christmas we spent at my parents house since Brexit. That’s somewhat of a dramatic way of putting it, as although my dad and I did fall out a bit, the main reason we haven’t been there for Christmas is because we usually go down to Devon. Last Christmas we stayed home because it was going to be our last one in that house.

My mother’s cooking, including catering for me now as the only vegetarian, was impressive. She used to eat less meat, and my son used to be vegetarian until earlier this year. My influence, it would seem, is waning.

I woke up on Wednesday, the day after Boxing Day, feeling rough. This was unsurprising, as my wife and son had felt a bit ill over Christmas. We all did Covid tests, and then re-tested once we realised the first tests weren’t in date. But it must have been some other kind of lurgy.

Usually, I try to get back to exercise as soon as possible after being ill. I’ve come to realise, though, that this actually prolongs the ‘long tail’ of any infection. So although I feel like I could run (and certainly want to!) I’m still more tired than usual and my lungs don’t feel quite right. So I’m giving myself a full week to recover.

This week I did stuff I’d rather not have done. The first was move away from Substack for my Thought Shrapnel newsletter, as I explained here.

The second was studying while ill. As I’ve explained before, my MSc doesn’t stop over Christmas, so I had to keep. It’s interesting stuff, but is rather have had a rest.

I published the following posts relating to my MSc in Systems Thinking this

I’m not doing any studying while on holiday in the Lake District, so when I get back I’ll have to spend Wednesday to Friday catching up again.

Being ill, moving newsletter, and forcing myself to study has meant little time for other things I’d usually do at this time of the year. One of these is an end-of-year collage made from each issue of The Guardian Weekly. You can see last year’s here. I haven’t done a roundup here of the year on this blog, but I did publish the Best of Thought Shrapnel 2023.

This coming week sees the slow restart of our kids’ activities, including an important game for our daughter. I’m going to get back to the gym and running. I’ll be back to work work on Monday 8th January.

Happy New Year to one and all when it arrives!

Photograph of the Hoad Monument near Ulverston taken by me this morning.

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