Weeknotes #68: eurovision and neon

A vibrant week filled with diverse experiences and enjoyable moments.

Week commencing Monday, 6 May 2024

A decorated car outside KOYN Japanese: a celebration of the artistry of Japanese cuisine
KOYN Japanese

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 6/7; Exercise 5/7 and Move 7/7. (86%). Morning walks: 2/3 (happy to have restarted the trend). Office days 1/5. Total steps: 67,658


  • Bank holiday Monday. It rained, quite a lot. I stayed inside, quite a lot (but not entirely).
  • As it turns out, the washing machine was not fixed by fluke as I thought last week. Awaiting another engineer.
  • Tuesday was sunny. I did a morning walk again and it felt good. It felt even better to do it again on Wednesday.
  • Even if you don’t like Eurovision, you should have watched it for the amazing sets & Petra Mede. Sweden knows how to do it. The final was fun and, for once, the winner was in my top 3.
  • Related. For the first time in many years we watched it away from our house at the home of friends. As we were not entertaining, and as they provided a helpful scorecard, we watched every song. Some of them felt much longer than three minutes. The accompanying food was lovely.
  • Dinner with Greg on Wednesday night was Japanese (Koyn) and wonderful (both in company and food). Also, expensive. But as it’s our once-every-two-years meet-up, I’m OK with that.
  • By the end of Thursday I was tired so skipped the work karaoke session. Probably for the best.
  • Went to hire a mourning suit in Wimbledon on Friday evening. They were closed. Met PY and sat in the – very small – beer patio at All Bar One. Spontaneous and fun.
  • Managed to do the hiring on Saturday. But it will be delivered the day before it is needed. Nervous.
  • Sunday, on the way back from our Eurovision stay, to God’s Own Junkyard: a treasure-trove of neon. Wonderful, evocative and bright.


  • Shardlake on Disney+. Although it was the monks being investigated, I couldn’t get Cadfael out of my head. This is probably more gruesome. Good characters, interesting plot. Set-up for a second series?

Weeknotes #67: Scan and disco

Hospital scan, humorous train delay, fixed washer, silent disco, gardening, voting.

Week commencing Monday, 29 April 2024

People waring headphones, illuminated with the a colour to indicate which channel of disco they are listening to.
Silent disco

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 6/7; Exercise 3/7 and Move 4/7. (62%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Total steps: 46,663


  • Finally, a scan on my shoulder. I am reminded how big, complex and unnerving hospitals can be. Now, the wait for the results.
  • It’s always amusing when a train service blames congestion on a line where passengers have sat for 20 minutes without a train passing. I understand the blockage might be elsewhere, but that doesn’t stop me laughing.
  • The washing machine was fixed by fluke. The blocked drain crew that arrived on Monday did not understand what they were called out for, but they inadvertently poked something in the pipes, and it worked.
  • Related, we spent a week figuring out how to put the units back together. By Saturday, I let PY do it.
  • On Friday, I went to a crypt with a silent disco. It was silent only in so much as you needed headphones to hear one of the three DJs. It was loud because there was no music to drown out everybody’s awful singing. Fun.
  • Dinner on Saturday night in Wimbledon Village. I was too tired to participate properly, so I was home before the end.
  • Sunday, with more energy, we bought some plants and put them in the pots for the summer. We managed to eat breakfast outside until the clouds came.
  • Oh, and ticked, hopefully, the right boxes on the three voting papers we were given. By Saturday, Sadiq was selected.

Weeknotes #66: productive Friday, immersive theatre

Busy week: St. George’s Day, productive writing, immersive theatre, cancelled boat.

Week commencing Monday, 22 April 2024

Boats, as floating cafe's, at Hackney Wick with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the background.
The Milk Float, at Hackney Wick

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 7/7; Exercise 6/7 and Move 6/7. (90%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Total steps: 65,257


  • Tuesday was St George’s Day and also BBC Radio Shropshire’s birthday. I found some tuning guides produced in the 80s by BBC Engineering Information which got posted around. They seem quaint now.
  • The washing machine engineer did not fix the washing machine. Saturday spent, partly, in a launderette. £1 a minute seems to be the going rate for everything.
  • Thursday, farewell drinks with a colleague. Started earlier than usual Thursday drinks and ended later. There were no trains home from Clapham Junction by the time I got there, so a taxi was needed.
  • Related, Friday was my most productive day for weeks. I am not sure how that could be but I powered through quite a lot of writing.
  • Stand, for 2 hours, at The Bridge Theatre to watch Guys and Dolls, they said. It’s immersive theatre par excellence, they said. Get out of the way of the rising and falling platforms (aka stage), said people dressed as NYC cops. Be right up close to the action that the cast talk to you, in full character, as they pass. Join the cast dancing at the end of the show. It’s was a wonderful way to spend a Friday evening and wholeheartedly recommended.
  • Sunday, boat trip cancelled but we went out east anyway. Westfield Stratford was busy, the sun came out for coffee on The Milk Float and The Great British Garden a hidden gem that proved London 2012 keeps on giving.


  • Rory, Alastair and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan spoke for The Rest is Poltics: Leading. Interesting to hear just how much – or little – power the Mayor has?
  • 30 years after Jurassic Park, you’d hope mankind was smart enough to know that, (1) if you work with dinosaurs your facility will be destroyed, and (2) the largest dinosaur will have a its eye right next to you but not see you. Jurassic World Dominion did not understand this. The reprise of every set piece was annoying but, somehow, in a bad movie the cast were terrific. Campbell Scott’s Dr. Lewis Dodgson, played as Tim Cook, genius.
  • A-ha meets Doctor Who in a fabulous version of Take On Me. All the doctors in sequence.
  • For the first fifteen minutes, I thought Dead Boy Detectives was going to annoy me too much to stay with it. And then it didn’t and turned out to be fun.

Weeknotes #65: quiz nights and art galleries

Enjoying quiz night, office mishap, pizza, chats, and art gallery.

Week commencing Monday, 15 April 2024

The Ryde Art Trail: a tribute to HoverTravel

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 6/7; Exercise 5/7 and Move /57. (76%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Total steps: 59,328


  • I won’t beat myself up about the last few weeknotes being late. At the start of the year, I told myself completion was better than meeting the self-imposed weekly deadline. But I’m sorry, me.
  • Monday was Quiz night again. This time, we struggled. We lost count of where we were placed. Last time, we started strong with the ‘name the celebrity from their eyes’ round. This time, scoring 7 out of 10 on that round put us on the back foot.
  • Thursday was the first time I’d forgotten my pass when going into the office. It was easy enough to get a temporary replacement, but it was hard to return when reception wasn’t staffed.
  • Friday night was pizza night in Ryde. It was lovely after a few drinks in a pub and sausage crisps. Saturday night was Chicken burger, delicious but not home-cooked.
  • Related, Colin Hall and Bob Harris were in conversation on Saturday night about the songs The Beatles Gave Away—several fascinating stories. However, if you are booked for further tour nights, be warned: these two can keep talking.
  • Relatedly, related. The bar flooded before the break, so interval drinks were in the gallery, where there was exciting art: walking around with a glass of wine made me feel like I was at a preview event.
  • Completed eight out of the nine murals painted for the Ryde Art Trail. The missing one was in a venue that wasn’t open on Sundays. Impressive art.


  • Saturday Night Live sketches have been amusing PY for weeks. I must admit Beavis and Butt-Head is funny.
  • Christian Wolmar, writing for the Irish Independent, on congestion charging, how the argument against the charge was lost in 2003 and why the 21st Century “must be the century of sustainable transport”
  • I could not listen to the related Radio 2 documentary, The Songs The Beatles Gave Away, because it doesn’t appear to be available anymore.

Weeknotes #64: two hours in a theatrical loo

Home comfort, financial review, office camaraderie, tasty meals, fun events.

Week commencing Monday, 8 April 2024

Alex Lodge and Jessica Cervi performing Up Where We Belong
Alex Lodge and Jessica Cervi performing Up Where We Belong

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 6/7; Exercise 3/7 and Move 3/7. (57%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Total steps: 39,179


  • A week where my shoulder continued to give discomfort, I stayed at home for much of it. Friday brought news of the scan in a few weeks.
  • I had the first of what will become a series of financial pension reviews. Would my pensions work better for me if they were consolidated? This question remains to be answered.
  • Avanti West Coast has queried my Delay Repay request, stating they want more information. They keep asking for a copy of the ticket even though the machine at Shrewsbury ate it, and the website says a Collection Receipt is sufficient. Grumble.
  • I wish I had said I was going to Shrewsbury rather than asking. In the end, all was well, but for 24 hours, I was annoyed with myself.
  • Seeing people in the office is always lovely, but I had quite a gap in the afternoon where I had no meetings. I used the time to walk around and chat with people. It felt simultaneously productive and unproductive.
  • Lots of bowls of Vietnamese pho made from the chicken stock we got from last weekend’s roast. Endless nighttime loo visits.
  • Related, Boys on the Verge of Tears at The Soho Theatre: a one-act, almost two-hour performance with five actors playing all the parts, entirely set in a men’s toilet. Lots to think about.
  • Post-show French onion soup with gruyere cheese croutons was everything I wanted: very thick and rich.
  • Three Sundays in a row: tonight, an 80s party night at The Crazy Coqs with a bunch of great songs.


  • All Of Us Strangers: After watching it last week it’s been on my mind all week. Friday, I watched the excellent “Behind-The-Scenes Broadcast Special” on YouTube. It’s such an interesting film to think about. And it was filmed in the director’s childhood home, which makes it even more fascinating. The YouTube algorithm served up an interesting collection of clips featuring the film’s stars appearing on The Graham Norton Show.
  • Sunday night was the Olivier Awards on ITV. Lots of exciting musicals won, but Sunset Boulevard won the most awards. Tom Francis reprised Sunset Boulevard, starting outside the Royal Albert Hall and walking into the main auditorium (a version of how it was staged at The Savoy, even down to the cardboard Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s very impressive).
  • Apple Music has a new personalised play list: Heavy Rotation and I am loving it.

Weeknotes #63: A musical weekend

Airport time change, events, food quest, rail chaos, family celebration, musical, Bananarama.

Week commencing Monday, 1 April 2024

Bananarama on stage at The Palladium
Bananarama at The Palladium

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 6/7; Exercise 3/7 and Move 3/7. (57%). Total steps: 64,405


  • Last week’s notes were written in a departure lounge. This week’s in my lounge. Mine does not operate a one-out, one-in policy.
  • Never arrive at an airport at the precise moment the clocks go forward. The loss of an hour on the way home was unnerving.
  • I was a day out of sequence. Last Sunday was Esther’s birthday lunch and a Beatles night at The Crazy Coqs.
  • The quest for a ‘hot cross Bunettone’ (Panettone meets a hot cross bun in a spiced Italian cake) took us to Wimbledon. We are still looking for one.
  • There was nothing but rail chaos on Tuesday at Euston. We ended up taking the longer route from Marylebone, but it wasn’t much fun arriving over two hours late. The return train on Thursday was swift and efficient.
  • Mum and Dad’s Diamond Wedding lunch was great, and I made a short speech that got laughs in the right places. I’m glad I prepared something; nobody was expecting it. The card from the King and Queen had pride of place. I’m so happy that it worked out.
  • Related, I didn’t need the loaded fries in the bar in the evening. They were delicious.
  • Back at work on Friday. I don’t think people realised I’d be back before Monday. It gave me some time to go through everything that happened while we were away. The project I’m working on deployed our software, and everything ran smoothly.
  • Frank has a collection of dresses from divas across the years—think Judy, Dusty, Julie, and Agnetha (with a dash of Ethel Merman and Karen Carpenter thrown in)—which he is forced to give to a museum so that he can marry Alan. That’s the plot of Frank’s Closet, a musical we saw on Friday night. It was fun.
  • Saturday at The Palladium: Bananarama. The show ran continually for the allotted time, so Karen and Sarah did not chat. That’s sad, as they can be funny, and some stories from their 40 years in the business would have been interesting.
  • Related, there’s never enough time for all the hits, but the show was built around their greatest hits album, and I am not sure why they skipped some big numbers to play covers that are not part of their catalogue: Atomic, Lost in Music, and You Spin Me Round.
  • For the second week running, we went to The Crazy Coqs presents. Tonight, the songs of Disney and Pixar were performed. Eleanor Hudson also performed a medley of the big tunes from Frozen dressed as Elsa. I don’t think I have seen a costume at one of these nights previously.


  • All of Us Strangers: It takes some time to work out the timeline of the characters and that they are being presented at different points along that line. And I am still trying to figure out what to make of the ending. I’ve been thinking about it since Thursday.
  • Radio Geek Out with three episodes of Crunch and roll: Dirk Anthony, Dave Kelly and Ben Jones. All wonderful but Ben’s story about leaving Absolute Radio and the subsequent dark times is really interesting to hear. People on the radio are not always upbeat.

Weeknotes #62: hot tubs and paella hunt

Holidays, hot tubs, paella hunt, airport observations

Week commencing Monday, 25 March 2024

A beach in Lanzarote

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 7/7; Exercise 7/7 and Move 6/7. (95%). Total steps: 102,234


  • Holidays are relaxing, but the presence of a hot tub vastly improves relaxation.
  • Finding, what seems like, authentic paella is harder in Lanzarote than I imagined. Maybe it’s not a thing here.
  • Related, it’s definitely not at a waterfront restaurant in Arrecife.
  • The Arrecife branch of Zara is not permanently closed as some apps said. It’s moved to the mall.
  • Related, I did not indulge in the McDonald’s food. But my resolve may have been weaker if they’d had milkshakes on the menu.
  • Walking with toes in the sea is remarkably calming. The foot rinsing showers are super handy.
  • A museum told me that the first aircraft to pass over Lanzarote were Zeppelin airships, and they used to drop mail by parachute as they passed overhead.
  • Related, the bus should stop at Museo Aeronáutico del Aeropuerto de Lanzarote. I felt like I would be stopped by the police on the walk from the terminal.
  • Relatedly, related: Buses run to a different schedule on Maundy Thursday. Even the bus drivers didn’t know when they should go.
  • A couple of walks to Playa Honda and beyond took us past the modern airport. I still enjoy watching the planes coming and going while trying to work out where they may be flying to or from (there’s an app for that).


  • I was increasingly absorbed by Robert Elms’ London Made Us. “A cab diver stuck in a morass of road works and construction jams once said exasperatedly to me, ‘London is great, but it will be better when it’s finished.’ But of course the opposite is true, London will be finished when it’s finished.” (p291)
  • Bryant & May Investigate White Corridor is another wonderful book in the series. Even in Lanzarote, the descriptions of the snowstorm were chilling.
  • Beyoncé released Cowboy Carter while we were away. Wow, that’s a long album. Apparently, she recorded 100 songs for it. Thank god she could edit some out. I need to listen it more.
  • The only TV I watched while away was The Life And Death Of Lily Savage and I am glad I did. What a great story.

Weeknotes #61: holiday prep

Doctor visit, deployment uncertainty, social activities, travel joy, Lanzarote relaxation.

Week commencing Monday, 18 March 2024

Blue skies over the Lanzarote resort.

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 7/7; Exercise 3/7 and Move 5/7. (71%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Total steps: 50,437


  • Finally to see a doctor about my shoulder. Initial diagnosis is a rotator cuff injury. Scans and physio called for. No immediate relief but stronger pain killers prescribed.
  • Lots of planning work this week in preparation for my week off: mainly about connecting systems together. Really good engagement across teams.
  • “Will we, won’t we?” for the deployment of our new automations went on all week, when I left the office on Friday the team was planning on Tuesday but we had all our sign-offs by Friday evening so I feel less guilty about being away.
  • Monday’s pub quiz in Wimbledon was fun and so the four of us have booked again for an April Monday. How Mark identified the celebrities from the poor photocopy of the pictures of their eyes is a great mystery of our times.
  • Thursday catch-up with Linda, who is taking a short break from globetrotting on her boat, was lovely. It felt like St John’s Wood was going to be a bit ‘out of the way’ for a Thursday. But not.
  • Friday was full of last minute things: holiday Euro cash, foot appointment, Easter egg ordering and then, at the very end, packing. Happy we’d ordered extra on Thursday’s Indian takeaway so that dinner was a fast re-heat.
  • Saturday involved leisurely travel to Gatwick as the flight was early afternoon. The airport was pre-Easter packed, BA carrying double the number of Saturday passengers. The lounge was not the screaming-child free oasis I might have hoped for but the wine compensated.
  • Airport security at Lanzarote was a breeze, with electronic gates that accepted British passports.
  • First evening dinner: duck and chips. The honey rum came with the bill. I paid for it with indigestion.
  • Sunday, first full day in Lanzarote, started hot, rained, hot again, slight rain, then too hot. But I was immediately relaxed, had slept well and – as I write – delighted I came.


  • Plane tunes were albums from Breland, Kane Brown and Macklemore. Also, last week’s musical discovery, Ada Morghe. An unexpected musical change from what I would have been listening to five years ago.

Weeknotes #60: new music Monday

Busy week: concerts, work, strategy, birthday, historic paddle steamer.

Week commencing Monday, 11 March 2024

PS Ryde, a slowly rusting paddle steamer
Slowly rusting PS Ryde

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 5/7; Exercise 2/7 and Move 4/7. (52%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/4. Total steps: 54,334


  • Monday evening, we headed to the Pizza Express Live (Holborn) to see Ada Morghe, perform a set. Now I am streaming her album, Box, all the time.
  • A four-day work week for me. Planning for up-coming work took a big chunk of several afternoons and, as we get closer to the go live of our new integrations, the inevitable gatherings of people to agree on the deployment details took up more time than it should.
  • An all-hands talked divisional strategy talk was interesting and I’ve broken down into team-specific talks for next week. The horizon is 12 months which seems far off.
  • Friday, PY’s birthday. Lunch was the Hanoi menu at Six By Nico, with the matching number of courses, was superb from start to finish. Initially I thought we’d do the accompanying wine flights but glad we decided against it. It would have been too much.
  • On a walk from Wooton Bridge to Newport, we passed a slowly rusting paddle steamer. It’s the PS Ryde, a paddle steamer run by Southern Railway to ferry passengers to the Isle of Wight from 1937 to 1969. They wanted to preserve it but, I guess, nobody had the money.

Weeknotes #59: first to the restaurant, not first in the dart game

Restaurant surprise. Work trip, health concerns, darts, project progress, website update, dinner.

Week commencing Monday, 4 March 2024

The dart and score boards at Flight Club
Flight Club

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 5/7; Exercise 2/7 and Move 4/7. (52%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Total steps: 40,344


  • It’s not often I am first at the restaurant. I didn’t know which of our group had booked it, so I nearly crossed the road. I was in the right place.
  • Related: The old Carreras Cigarette Factory building is stunningly lit in the evenings. I think that’s one to come back to.
  • PY went on a work trip to France and seemed to enjoy immersing himself in the art. I had the alarm serviced.
  • My arm continues to cause me problems. A colleague joked he wouldn’t speak to me on our in-office day if I didn’t book a doctor’s appointment, so I did.
  • Thursday evening Flight Club darts with colleagues and friends. I hit the dart board, which counts as winning. It was nice to catch up with Alex.
  • We continue to make progress on the work project. It’s been two weeks of testing, and it is progressing well. A spanner may—or may not—have been thrown into the thing on Friday morning, but I decided not to worry about it (until next week, at least).
  • Part of the weekend was updating curnow.org to have a dedicated weeknotes page. While reading some older writing, I also decided to collect film (and other) reviews on a single page.
  • Delicious dinner at 40 Dean Street, followed by The West End sing The Oscars where Jack Reitman and Lewis Asquith did a funny version of “I’m Just Ken”. The players sang Happy Birthday to PY ahead of next week.


  • Tears for Fears: Scenes from the Big Chair was a great insight into Songs From The Big Chair and I want to listen to the album again.
  • I wasn’t fully concentrating on A-ha: The Movie and missed a lot because it was subtitled. But I gather the band gets together, has hits, falls out, and then makes up and makes music again—a pretty standard band story. Or did I miss the subtleties?

Weeknotes #58: Generative AI, the seaside and a garden centre

The Turbine Theatre revives Closer To Heaven, while AI conference stresses adaptation urgency.

Week commencing Monday, 26 February 2024

Burger and chips: my garden centre Sunday lunch
Burger and chips: my garden centre Sunday lunch

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 5/7; Exercise 2/7 and Move 4/7. (52%, very poor). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Total steps: 48,560


  • The Turbine Theatre announced a revival of the Pet Shop Boys musical Closer To Heaven. The theatre will be transformed into Vic’s Club for the show. I loved this musical when it played in 2001. It will be interesting to see what the theatre can do with it. Tickets are not cheap.
  • I went to a Generative AI conference organised by Google UK, which focused on the business aspects of AI. What made it enjoyable was the panel from companies actively using AI in their business, including a case study from formaula-e. The message across the day was consistent: the pace of change is means you need to move fast to keep up.
  • Related: The food during the breaks was delicious.
  • Relatedly related: nice catch-up with my boss in the bar downstairs afterwards.
  • The summary of this post was generated by ChatGPT.
  • Thursday: I attended a collaborative workshop, and feedback on our v1 integration was positive in another meeting. It was nice to be in the room for both of those.
  • Saturday: A lovey brunch at a new (to us) cafe and a train down to Shanklin and a lovely gin by the sea. Sunday: Lunch with PY’s Dad at a very posh garden centre.
  • Reading about The Isle of Wight Distillery’s plans to move into Ryde Arena on the same day they withdrew the application. It’s utterly ridiculous that such a site goes unused.


  • Watched the last episode of the current season of Slow Horses. Disappointingly, I felt it rushed to the conclusion. There was jeopardy in the early part of the episode and a lot of shooting, of course, but it squeezed the ending into the last few minutes and it would’ve been better – or at least more satisfying – to play it longer.
  • Went back to Ted Lasso. We’re way behind and only starting season 2. My favourite line: “Low Fat Custard that doesn’t make you sad” Ted Lasso, S2 E2.
  • Archive on 4: Motorway City is a fascinating history of urbanism. The current political climate means there increasing protests from a large number of residents opposed to the pollution they are living with and those who feel any changes to existing road systems is an anti-motoring stance.

Weeknotes #57: Busy Week: Leaks, Buses & Live Music Fun

Despite minor hiccups, the weekend was filled with enjoyable outings and live music.

Week commencing Monday, 19 February 2024

Rainbows over Ryde beach
Rainbows over Ryde beach

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 6/7; Exercise 4/7 and Move 5/7. (71%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Total steps: 54,470


  • When the day starts with “Have you got 2 minutes?” You can tell something is up, and I was only having my first coffee of the day. It wasn’t the best news, but it was resolvable.
  • It was good that a call with a financial advisor from the bank turned out to be less “hard sell” and more practical advice. I wish I had the money to implement the suggestions.
  • A message from James, who says BT has sold the iconic Tower to be turned into a hotel. I joked that I hoped it would have good WiFi! I think that line could’ve gone down better. The Tower’s not an official secret anymore.
  • I had drinks with Esteban on Wednesday evening. We concluded at a decent hour so I could get home and to bed in preparation for the office the next day. Instead, I had indigestion and didn’t sleep: getting up was cruel.
  • Thursday to The Island. We were greeted upon arrival by another round of water coming in through the ceiling and an inability to raise anybody from the upstairs flat. It resolved itself the next day, but the sound of dripping into a bucket added to my inability to sleep.
  • We discovered live music at The Star on Friday night but missed the cider and sausage festival. We made up for it by returning on Saturday night, when there was another band, and we consumed cider and sausages. 
  • Walking by the sea, as we did on Saturday, reminds me why I like this place. We saw lots of rainbows.
  • Sunday’s return involved a rail replacement bus service from Worcester Park. It worked better than the other times we’ve had to do it, but being pointed in one direction and then made to walk back to where we started because the various bus drivers couldn’t agree on where we should stand soured the experience. When we went out later, we ended up with the same driver on the same coach heading to Wimbledon.
  • On Sunday night, we had very different live music, with the sounds of Carole King and James Taylor, as we returned to The Crazy Coqs for more cabaret-style entertainment. Again, it was brilliantly done; the house was packed, and everyone was very much up for the music.


  • Finished Christian Wolmar’s history of British Rail (the nationalised years up to privatisation). He makes a good case that, over the life of BR – especially from the end of the Beeching cuts to privatisation – the organisation was a lean, well-run public service and that the sell-off that was to come didn’t really improve on the business in the last years of its existence in public ownership. Worth reading to put that part of BR’s history into perspective.

Weeknotes #56: Not tracking you

Site removes trackers, mourns radio presenter, TfL Overground naming.

Week commencing Monday, 12 February 2024

Inside a Central Line train
The state of a Central Line train

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 3/7; Exercise 2/7 and Move 4/7. (43%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Total steps: 46,088


  • Not tracking: I’ve always hated the need to have the cookie notification on this site to be in compliance with GDPR. I am not sure how many personal sites bother but I always did. Thinking about this recently, I decided to remove all the trackers and cookies because they only served two purposes: providing stats on the site and enabling comments (with the associated need to block comment spam). I don’t get many comments and I hardly look at the stats. So, I worked out how to remove the lot. I feel it’s better.
  • I do like it when I discover leaders in other organisations ‘weeknoting’. A lot of the people I follow are in the public sector? Where are all the private-sector ‘weeknoters’?
  • Maybe the saddest news of the week, especially for those of us who grew up with the Afternoon Boys: Steve Wright: Radio 2 presenter dies. Lovley tribute from Chris Moyles. Listened back to his vintage Radio 1 episode: a great insight into his love of radio.
  • TfL announced their naming plans for the Overground network. It will become 6 individually names lines. I asked ChatGPT to name a fictional line that might run through Raynes Park, “a London Underground line named after Raynes Park could be called the “Green Arc Line.” This name could symbolise the lush green spaces and parks in the area, such as Cottenham Park, while also referencing Raynes Park’s position within the arc of suburban communities southwest of central London”. I thought it was quite good.
  • Beer near the office with colleagues was good on Thursday. For some reason I became acutely aware of the dirty tube trains on the way home. I don’t think the one I took was especially bad.
  • Pancake fun seems remarkable similar year-on-year: 2021 | 2022 | 2023. Also, Shrove Tuesday will be on 14 February in 2040. It’s never happened in my lifetime.


Weeknotes #55: catch-ups and anniversaries

Weeknotes: Vibrant catch-ups, cinematic delight, insightful media exploration.

Week commencing Monday, 5 February 2024

A pint of beer on a table in a pub with a view of the bar in the background
Catch-ups with beer

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 5/7; Exercise 4/7 and Move 4/7. (62%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Plant diversity: 39. Total steps: 46,626


  • Lovely to catch up with Cornelia for our revised Thirsty Thursday (on a Tuesday) meet-up. Lots of talk about cooking. We seem to be converts to the slow cooker way. And a catch-up beer with Frank on Thursday back on Grey’s Inn Road.
  • I read more about companies tightening their belts in the current economic climate. I wonder how that will impact the push to ‘return to the office’ when, again, it’s proven to have no impact on productivity and a negative impact on people?
  • Did I miss it or has there not been a lot of discussion about this being the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Channel tunnel? Has it been a wasted opportunity? I love travelling Eurostar.
  • It was also the 20th anniversary of Flickr. I couldn’t explain how my first photo had been uploaded before the service was even launched until I remembered Yahoo used to own it and Yahoo Photos was merged in at some point. Meta data retained, I assume.
  • As a Product Manager in my day job, given I have feedback on your product, and I leave a feature request, is it good enough?


  • To the cinema, to see Poor Things. Lovely screening room at BAFTA where I’d never been. Stunning building. But the film? Another beautifully shot movie (see, 2023: Asteroid City). In the colour parts I could only describe it as steampunk Victorian through a fish-eye lens. Wonderful. The story weird, horrific and compelling. A child in an adult body questions the world. Outstanding performances: Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef and an incredibly funny Mark Ruffalo. But, somehow, too disturbing to be great.
  • More episodes of The Morning Show and, after the last couple of episodes had missed the feel of the ‘newsroom’, this episode felt like the show was back to its old self.
  • I saw Kara Swisher at an event once. She was as you’d imagine. Thank god somebody’s watching the tech giants: Over Three Decades, Tech Obliterated Media.
  • Stephen Fry, reviewing Apple’s new Vision Pro: “Technology is a verb, not a noun; a process, not a fixture”.

Weeknotes #54: Seafront, holiday parks and regulation

Weeknotes: Active week, scenic walks, insightful tech discussions, enjoyable media.

Week commencing Monday, 29 January 2024

A view of the bay at Seaview, Isle of Wight
The bay at Seaview, Isle of Wight

Quantified Self

  • This week: Stand 3/7; Exercise 4/7 and Move 4/7. (52%). Morning walks: 0/4 (days in the office don’t count). Office days 1/5. Plant diversity: 27. Total steps: 55,705


  • The pain in my shoulder is getting worse. I’m sure it’s just a frozen shoulder but I should get it looked at.
  • Related, I was nervous about doing Tai Chi because of the discomfort. It wasn’t as bad as I expected.
  • Another office day on Thursday. Lots of catch-up discussions and, finally, we managed one of the team meetings in a room together rather than spread out around the building on video calls.
  • Saturday, six mile Red Squirrel trail from Merston to Sandown with a stop at the lovely cyclists cafe. Not too wet underfoot meant it was a lovely afternoon.
  • Sunday, a walk along the sea front, brunch and more sea views. It’s good for the soul. Peered though the fence at the former Harcourt Sands Holiday Park. Not much happening but then found an Isle of Wight Guru blog about it and accompanying You Tube video. Sad when so much prime Seafront land is not available to anybody to use.
  • Apple announced compliance with Europe’s Digital Markets Act this week. There was lots of commentary and all of it quite interesting; critiquing their approach or broadly justifying it. Personally, I buy iPhones because of the restrictions Apple puts in place. I don’t want – even the merest possibility of – a virus-laden mini computer. That’s Apple’s offer. There are other choices if you want them.
  • Related, James is trying out the Apple ecosystem after years in the other world
  • I haven’t done a Kickstarter for a while. Poem/1: AI rhyming clock looks like a lot of fun.