I’ve spent most of this week in the Netherlands with my WAO colleagues. We stayed in an American-style villa north of Amsterdam, complete with jacuzzi, ping pong table, and trampoline! Instead of client work we worked on things like the journey we’ve been on since being founded in 2016, how we can have a more consistent approach to projects, and contributor pathways.
A big part of meeting up together, though, was just to be in the same place for the first time in three years. Due to the pandemic, it was the first time Anne, our intern-turned-cooperator had met John and Bryan IRL. So Laura taught us all different types of poker (for peanut M&Ms), we played video games, went out for dinner, as well as going to an awesome ‘new school arcade hall’ called TonTon Club. Some of us also managed to sneak in a run.
Back at the ranch, it was another birthday celebration which we celebrated in Newcastle-upon-Tyne at Lane 7 and I Scream For Pizza. Everyone had a great time, and Hannah won bowling for the first time in Team Belshaw history. Our daughter played in a football match where she scored a hat-trick and was awarded player of the match. The Boy has a game today.
What’s been interesting to me this week is being able to see (with data!) the impact that increased alcohol consumption, less protein, and later bedtimes has had on my body. While I had a great time, routines are important to feel well-rested — as you can see on the Garmin ‘Body Battery’ chart above!
Next week will be back to client work. Part of our time away was to kind-of-formalise having a Project Lead and a ‘Context Understudy’ for each client. We couldn’t really think of a name other than something like ‘Skills Provider’ for other roles, but I’m sure the naming and approach will evolve. For me, it means that while I’ll probably still be involved in some way with each of the seven projects we’ve got on at the moment, I don’t have to keep the context for all of them in my head 😅
This time next month we’ll be perilously close to my birthday and, therefore, Christmas. The end of the working year is so close I can almost smell it.
This week, I spent almost the entirety of my Wednesday travelling to London, facilitating an Away Day, and then travelling back. I ended up taking Friday off as a mental health / self-care day. It’s been a topsy-turvy week, and feeling faint at the gym on Saturday morning just topped things off.
At least the Away Day went well, though. The spectacularly-successful LocalGov Drupal project is currently funded by the UK Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities and aiming to move as soon as possible to being self-sustaining. To do that, the project needed to make several decisions about how to do this, which is what Wednesday was all about. I’ll let the representatives of the project itself tell their own story but I was absolute delighted to have such able co-facilitators in Aaron Hirtenstein and Nathan Brown. We did everything we needed to do, and everyone went to the pub happy.
Our other projects are going well. I’m just kind of on autopilot now, though, until Christmas. Things will get done, but this is not my most creative or energetic time of the year. At all. In fact, I’d happily fast-forward to April as if I were playing Football Manager. I could do with some sun.
Happy Easter to those who celebrate it! This has been the second of my three weeks off work this April. I’m also planning to take three weeks in August, as well as all of December off.
As planned, I mostly spent this week recovering from walking Hadrian’s Wall and doing DIY. I’m not sure if it’s because I walked it so quickly or because I’m getting older (or both) but it pretty much took me a full week from last Thursday to recover.
I’ve painted the decking, stained the fence, drilled and screwed things, listed stuff on eBay, and have generally been on-hand while Hannah worked and the kids were off school. I had visions of playing a lot of video games, but that didn’t really materialise. Two things I did do, though, were to install Asahi Linux on my Mac Mini M1 and to read the excellent novel Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of the Dead. My favourite highlights are here.
Team Belshaw is currently in Croatia after an early-morning flight on Saturday morning. We drove up the coast from Dubrovnik to a little place near Makarska. The photo at the top of the post was last night’s sunset. The view over the Adriatic Sea is magnificent.
The Bora wind started blowing last night and is just easing off now a bit. It’s due to return, though, later in the week. In the meantime we’re planning to explore Split and the Dalmatian coast, do a lot of reading, eat lots of good food, and generally (as my teenage son would say) ‘vibe’.