Open Thinkering


Weeknote 08/2024

Photo of sunset in Faro

I’m composing this just after 6am on my laptop in the car. It would have been earlier, but the first public EV charger I drove to wasn’t working. I can’t wait until we move house and have a home EV charger installed; it’s going to make a large difference to my life.

Talking about large differences to my life, during Team Belshaw’s holiday in Faro, Portugal this week we managed to book accommodation that had five bedrooms and four bathrooms. As Hannah wasn’t feeling 100%, we decided that we’d all have a bedroom and bathroom each. Then we came back to our rental property, which features a single bathroom (and toilet) for all of us. First world problems, I know, but I remember Catherine Zeta-Jones attributing separate bathrooms as being one of the ‘secrets’ of her long marriage to Michael Douglas.

Our time away during half-term was only four nights, between my son passing his driving theory test and him being booked in for a flying lesson. The latter was a last-minute Christmas present after he insisted that he didn’t want anything else than the expensive graphics card we decided not to buy him. In the event, it was too windy on Friday, so he had a lesson on aerodynamics from the instructor, and he should be going up in the plane this morning. It’s one of the reasons I’m out charging the car so early.

Yesterday, my daughter’s team played some of the best girls football I’ve ever seen. They’re playing a year up and beat the team that won the league last year 6-0. It wasn’t even close. In a weird twist of fate, they’ve got to play them again in the league and then in the cup final before the end of the season. My son’s basketball team also won quite easily, with my favourite part of that game being when he accidentally tripped on the court and then styled it out by doing a press-up! Classic.

I’m not sure if I’m fighting off what my wife has had, or whether it’s just being out of my routine, but I’ve felt fat and unfit this week. I did go for a couple of runs while on holiday, but I guess I drank more alcohol, ate different and richer food, and didn’t do any weights. I enjoyed being away, but there’s a lot to be said for a productive routine.

As I added as an addendum to my last weeknote, I managed to score 90% on my second MSc assignment, which surprised me. Yes, I put a lot of work in, but I felt all over the place while doing it. Not only was it the first time I’ve ever asked for an extension for an assessment, but I went over the word count significantly. Ah well, it looks like I’m continuing, so I’ve got some catching-up to do. I won’t be doing another module this academic year, as I’ve got enough on with moving house, etc.

To that end, I published three posts about systems thinkers:

I also published 13 posts over at Thought Shrapnel, and my guest appearance on the Artificiality podcast went live. You should be able to find it wherever you get your podcasts, or via the links at I discussed the idea of a ‘serendipity surface‘ which, now I come to search for it, seems to have been taken up by others since I first mentioned it in 2016. I’m glad: people don’t ‘own’ ideas.

Next week, we’ve got plenty on work-wise, so I’ll be getting into that. Laura‘s away the week after next, so with me being away last week we’ll have plenty to work on together. My main aim over the coming days is to get back into my routine, catch up with MSc work, and gather together the things I need to sell on eBay before we move house. No point in just moving them from the cellar of our rental property to the garage of our new house!

Image: taken from LAB Terrace, a sunset bar in Faro using Lento camera (not currently available)

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