Open Thinkering


Tag: work

Weeknote 37/2023


It’s midway through Sunday afternoon and I’ve only just had a chance to sit down. Life as a parent of two sporty kids means spending a lot of time standing watching them. Today is the first time in a long time that both of them scored in their football matches. A normal day at the office for my daughter, a striker, but a red letter day for my son, who plays as a defensive midfielder.

The weather has definitely turned this week. After last weekend’s glorious weather, there was a thunderstorm which involved a torrential downpour meaning I had to unblock a drain with a neighbour after coming back from a run (“it’s not due to rain yet, I’ll be fine”). Ever since then it’s been positively autumnal. There’s a good chance I’ve worn shorts for non-exercise-related reasons for the last time in 2023.

We’ve looked round more houses this week, and did a bit of haggling with a house builder over one particular property. Although they were willing to reduce it a bit, we didn’t think it was enough and so have walked away. The other one we viewed was lovely, but probably too far away from ‘civilisation’ (as my daughter calls it) in the sense of the centre of Morpeth, for us to buy. So it’s seeming more and more like we’re going to be renting over Christmas. Perhaps we should go away somewhere.

Work is slower than usual at the moment, although picking up a bit. With everything else that’s going on, including the house stuff, kids going back to school, football season starting again, and the seasons changing, that’s not so bad. But I probably need to do some business development not only for the co-op but also for my own individual consultancy. I did make some small changes to my website yesterday.

One of the things that it’s important to do when there’s less work on and you’re not employed is to try and enjoy it. For me, as well as ensuring that I do some business development to get new work in, that means doing more writing as well as reading up on different areas. It’s also a good opportunity to catch up with people and do some life and work admin.

I published a bunch of stuff, including a microcast, over at Thought Shrapnel this week, as well as sending out the Sunday newsletter. I’m considering switching to Substack for the latter, mainly because MailPoet keeps unsubscribing ‘inactive’ people from my list. Given I’ve turned all of the tracking off, I’m not sure how they’re working this out. Also, Substack seems to be much better for discoverability.

Next week, Hannah’s away for a day for work, I’m doing a UCL Systems Thinking one-day course, and we’re both (separately) getting our winter flu jabs. I wonder if I’ll be called for a Covid jab, given that I’ve previously been in a ‘vulnerable group’ because of my asthma. On Friday, we’ll be at the Stadium of Light for the England Lionesses match against Scotland. I might be there again on Saturday to watch Sunderland play Cardiff with my dad.

Weeknote 36/2023

I’ve written quite a lot this week, and combined with having to make decisions about our next house purchase, my brain doesn’t feel like directing my fingers to type many words into this box.

Below is a list of what I’ve published in different places since my last weeknote. I’m not usually going to link to my Thought Shrapnel posts here, so you might want to subscribe to my now (fingers crossed!) weekly newsletter.


WAO blog

Thought Shrapnel

Next week I’m going to do all of the business development in the entire world so that we can buy a much bigger house on a hill. Also, more sleep would be nice 😴

Photo taken during a morning run along the old train track next to the golf course in Morpeth

Weeknote 34/2023

Screenshot of Sniper Elite 5

Famously, but apocryphally, Hemingway advised to “write drunk, edit sober”. My best writing flows from writing while angry, and editing while calm. Right now, I’ve had three hours sleep, just given both barrels to the builders who left the generator on at the site near our house. The words are flowing.

This week I’ve been back to work after three weeks off. I’m still in some pain from my ribs, caused by coming off a mountain bike three weeks ago. Getting old isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (especially when your ribs might be cracked). I had one day off ibuprofen on Thursday and was miserable. My exercise regime is all over the place.

As expected, I haven’t been very busy at work. It’s still summer, and this week is Bank Holiday weekend. So things will pick up next week. It’s been good to catch up with Laura, though, and get my head back into some projects. We’re experimenting with a newsletter via LinkedIn called WAO Weekly, because that’s where most of the work-related chat is these days.

Talking of newsletters, an issue of the Thought Shrapnel roundup that I used to do monthly is going out tomorrow. I make no apologies for the fact that there hasn’t been one since January, and instead direct you to the insights of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who stated, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds… With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”

Our son got his GCSE results this week, and then went back into school to get his grade breakdowns. Given the pandemic and the fact that he was so ill during the first few days of exams he almost didn’t go in for them, he’s done well. The grade breakdowns showed that in many subjects he was only a couple of marks away from the next grade up. He’s planning to study A Levels in the Sixth Form of the school he’s at, and is still firming up his final choices.

Meanwhile, our daughter has been ordering her kit for Sunderland ETC, which she’ll start next month. We had to take her to a physio as the injury to her toe which she sustained made her over-compensate when walking, which affected her knee. She’ll be OK.

After test driving several EVs last weekend, we thought we were going to apply to lease a Skoda Enyaq iV. However, a subsequent conversation led us back to the Polestar 2. I realised that the test car had literally all of the options, including the dual motor which takes the car from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds. The single-motor version, which we’d be getting, is still quick, but not quite so ‘lurchy’. I’ve also found out how you can make the ride less firm, which might help with my wife feeling a bit car sick.

Last time I applied for a business lease, I was turned down. I ascribed this to the fact that while doing so, our shortest-serving Prime Minister was doing her best to tank the UK economy. If I don’t get approved this time, I can only think it’s down to the way that I pay myself through my business (mostly through dividends).

After a year of running it, and with domain renewal time approaching, I considered shutting down It’s not that I don’t think it’s a good idea, it’s just that after an initial flurry, it hasn’t had quite the traction of people posting that I’d hoped for.

Thankfully, as I explained in this post, I’ve managed to hand over ownership to the most active user on the site. He’s pleased about it, and so am I. Win/win.

It’s Bank Holiday weekend in England this weekend. I took Friday off to do some life admin. What we really need to do during the gloriously-sunny weather is to find somewhere to live. As I explained last week, we’re still selling our house, but we currently have nowhere to go.

Next week, I’ll be ramping up work through the WAO and doing some business development to help keep us gainfully employed over the coming months.

Screenshot from Sniper Elite 5, which I’ve played a lot this week.