Open Thinkering


Tag: holiday

Weeknote 14/2024

It’s 7am on a Sunday morning while I’m on holiday. So, of course, I’ve been up for about an hour and a half.

This week, I’ve started the end of module assessment for my first MSc in Systems Thinking module. It should be a lot easier than my last one and, given that I’m a lot less stressed about the whole thing, have registered for the next module, starting May 1st.

We’ve got a moving date! After checking everything that needed to be checked, and signing everything that needed to be signed, we should exchange contracts on Friday 12th April, and complete a week later. This time around, we’re getting a removal company to move us, rather than doing it ourselves.

After I was under the weather last week, this week it’s been the turn of other family members. My son had what I thought was a chest infection but seems to have cleared up. My daughter has a pretty bad cold which, along with the ankle she injured in a futsal tournament last week, is making her feel quite sorry for herself.

There’s not much else to report, other than I’m doing plenty of reading and have published a few posts over at Thought Shrapnel. Next week, I’m aiming to get my assignment finished and, once we’ve exchanged, order an EV charger for our new property, etc.

Image: boxes and other things ready to move in the ‘cellar’ of the 17th century coach house we’re currently renting.

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)

Weeknote 01/2024

Photo of older teenagers in a football training session under floodlights on an artificial grass surface.

I’m back to work today and just realised that I didn’t publish a weeknote over the weekend, as I usually would. So this is just a short post for the sake of completeness.

Last week, I did the following:

  • Worked on my MSc and published a number of posts that you can find in this category of my blog.
  • Returned to running after having a bit of a cold and deciding to take it easy at the end of last year. (I’m aiming for 1000km this year, which means doing a 5km, 7.5km, and 10km run each week)
  • Took down the Christmas tree and decorations. We recycled the tree at the local council point.
  • Restarted the parental taxi service taking our two youngsters (they hate being called ‘children’) to their sporting fixtures.
  • Watched the Sunderland vs Newcastle derby. The least said about that the better, as we gifted the Geordies three goals.
  • Planning the time off I’m having off in 2024 and what I’m going to do with it. I might not get to finish walking the Pennine Way this year, alongside my MSc modules, work, and moving house(!)
  • Playing a fair amount of Sniper Elite 5. You’ll be pleased to know I killed Hitler.
  • Gave up drinking alcohol for Dry January. That should be reasonably straightforward, but I also tried giving up refined sugar. My body really didn’t like that, and I had three migraines in four days. So I’m back on the sugar train (although moderately).
  • Switched back to MailPoet for Thought Shrapnel. I may still go with Ghost or
  • Watched a few things on Netflix. We don’t have it all the time, we just pick and choose times of the year to get various streaming services. Except football. We have all of the channels for that.

This week, WAO members are deciding whether to respond to an ITT, getting back into existing client work, and thinking about the work we want to do in 2024. It’s also my daughter’s birthday (a milestone celebration!) so that there’s that to prepare for.

Photo showing how I spend a lot of evenings: standing on the side of a football pitch or basketball court watching my kids train. I love it, except when it’s really cold.