Week in Review (4/20)

This week I have been doing:

Walking

Having just got our boots cleaned up from last weekend’s hiking, we set out on Sunday for another epic walk. Except we didn’t know when we started it would be an epic walk. My initial idea was that now we’ve walked the Tube lines, we can start the London LOOP (or the Capital Ring, I don’t mind). But on this day we decided London LOOP it was, however the nearest section to us was only 4 miles, which is not much of a challenge, something we could knock off in two hours or so, until I had the idea that we could walk to the start point instead of taking a bus or train, adding something like five miles to the day’s walk. But we didn’t walk 9 miles; we ended up walking 16.4km (10.2 miles) and a long stretch of that was through mud. Again. My poor boots. But then again, that’s what they were built for, and I am grateful to them for keeping my feet warm and dry despite mud creeping up into the shoelaces.

Talking… and listening

I’m an introvert who likes to sit alone and do my own thing. Having to talk to people all day feels unnatural and awkward for me. (You might wonder then why I started the Speakers group? Precisely to challenge this behaviour in me and in others.) I mean, I like people, I like being around people. I just feel anxious when I’m the centre of attention. And I am surprised (although as manager of people and most experienced person in my team I should not be) when people come to me for advice or use me as a sounding board for their ideas or as a sounding off board for their stresses. That’s all very positive and nice, so don’t think I’m being stupid or falsely humble. I just find it exhausting to talk a lot. Maybe it’s just been a stressful week for everyone and everyone needs to let it all out.

Working

Ridiculous to be so busy and only the 3rd proper working week of January. I’m determined to cross things off my to-do list but the list keeps getting longer. Who are these people who keep asking me to do things for them? Not to mention all the personal thinking work I’m supposed to be doing for #BestDecadeEver and Find your Ikigai. Really I just want to sit on the sofa and do nothing and binge watch something happy and unchallenging and eat chips. Or crisps if you’re British. Although chips also works.

This week I have been reading:

Grace Jones: I’ll never write my memoirs

No wonder I’m exhausted. Even my downtime activity is high speed. Reading this book has been like being in a time travelling Formula One car spinning out of control. Unlike a usual biography it doesn’t follow strict chronography, as Grace freely admits to not having a good memory for timelines, so things get jumbled about – she might be writing about the 1970s and Studio 54 and then in the next paragraph she mentions someone or something that happened in the 1980s and you realise you’re getting a sneak peak ahead through time.

The book loosely follows her life from her strict church upbringing in Jamaica to her teenage life in the USA, her time as a hippy, her early modelling career and life in Paris and New York, life as a disco diva at Studio 54, friendships with the great and the good in the art world… although Grace Jones has lived only one life she has lived many lives and worn many hats (in an artistic and also in a fashion sense). The book also talks about performer Grace versus private Grace. Those outrageous acts and outrageous behaviour? That’s when she’s “on”. When she’s “off” she’s a different person altogether, and she comments that her boyfriends seem to expect she will be performing Grace at home too, and are sometimes disappointed to find that she likes jigsaw puzzles and watching the tennis.

This week I have been watching:

Nothing. I’ve been getting home too late to start watching any TV so have been writing or reading or playing Words With Friends instead.

This week I have been thinking about:

A Book

I have taken up the 750words.com challenge and started drafting a book. It doesn’t have a name yet but I have a plot outline and thanks to the 750words approach I have given myself permission to drop into the plot at any point that appeals on that particular day and write my words around that event or character. It’s liberating! And 750 words a day is manageable. It takes 30 minutes if I type hard and fast and don’t stop to think about what I’m writing too much. The aim is just to get words down on the page and to do it regularly. They don’t have to be perfect words, just words. And in 100 days, I could have enough words to make a book! Why didn’t I think of doing this before?

Cash

My local market in Walthamstow is still very much a cash-based environment, and that’s a rare thing these days. If you want to do business with the market traders, you’d better have some physical cash on you. These guys don’t take card. (There may be some dubious business/tax reasons for this but I’m not asking those kinds of questions.) At the other end of the spectrum is the new Walthamstow hipster shopping/eating/drinking place called Crate. Everything here is card only, don’t come here waving handfuls of cash, they won’t take it.

It’s not often now I need cash apart from Walthamstow market, and get-together lunch at our favourite felafel popup. But there are a few other occasions that require cash, and I wonder what will happen to their business model when people don’t have cash:

  • Buskers: how will I financially reward someone with a shiny pound coin for playing “Somewhere in my Heart” by Aztec Camera if I don’t have any cash on me?
  • Charity box / collectors: how will I be inspired to give money to a good cause if I don’t have a pocket full of change? And who has pockets full of change now anyway?

What are buskers and charities doing to adapt to the future cashless society?

This week I have been listening to:

Grace Jones (to complement my reading, obviously)

Brandenburg Concerto playlist (24 versions of the Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 Allegro). I love this, it’s such a cheerful piece of music and a great help when I need to tune out to the world and concentrate at work.

Song of the Volga Boatmen Not sure why I needed to hear people singing mournfully in Russian about working hard pulling boats along the river, but I did, so hit repeat and off we go: Ey, ukhnem.

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