Highlight of the week was a trip to Disneyland Paris via Dover-Calais ferry. Why are British roads such a mess compared to Europe? The worst part is always on the “smart” motorways, limiting speeds to 50mph for the majority of the trip despite there being low volume. Toll roads to Paris only cost €17 and 80mph is a good cruising speed with no traffic either. More toll roads in the UK please!
Disneyland – a joy for the kids at endless cost for the parents. We forked out for FastPasses to enjoy all the main attractions with minimal waiting times. It’s also worth talking to customer services at City Hall if your child has special needs as they will try to accommodate them. We got priority access for our son’s autism diagnosis so there were no long waits for rides. (Hat-tip to my On The Side friend Dom Hodgson aka UKDisDad for his invaluable advice ahead of travelling too – he certainly knows his stuff)
We stopped at Staycity Aparthotels – a brand new accommodation experience just 10 minutes from Disneyland with a free regular shuttle. It still smells of paint, beds were ridiculously comfortable (not great wanting to sleep when you need to be up early for the parks) – but there was no bottle opener in the kitchen. In France?! Sacré bleu! Jokes aside, it was easily resolved by asking at reception and I’d highly recommend this accommodation if you’re considering Disneyland Paris with the family.
Zero contact with the office over the past few weeks – not even New Years messages to the team (all my contact details are on my work phone at home so it proved quite tricky).
On my return though, I will negotiate bringing my leaving date forward. If that goes to plan, only 4 weeks left at ASOS. That time will fly but, I’m sure, drag at points. I just hope a replacement is confirmed soon so I can start handover and end this chapter on a high.
I’m looking forward to a new challenge in 2020 at WorldFirst though; returning to finance, exploring new ways of working and delivering software across multiple timezones and cultures, learning about other industries and communities.
We’ve got a 50km walk challenge across the Jurassic Coast planned for May so time to get in some training. I intend to close my Apple activity rings every day this year (maybe allow 1-2 days a month buffer). I started the running regime Saturday morning after an unexpected early wake-up call – managed 3.5km in about 20 minutes, not bad considering the lack of exercise over the past few weeks. Back to the gym Monday too.
From next week, time to have a booze detox following the festivities (allowing for a few treats with weekends out planned). I’m also removing milky coffees from my diet; I’ve become far too addicted to a flat whites at work so going back to black coffee or the occasional soya replacement.
Make Life Work series 1 concluded this week with Mike Hince. There have been over 100 listens since launch with a gentle climb of followers and subscribers over the month so it’s certainly tapping in to a niche but to a limited audience. I’ve ramped up promotion of a “binge listen” (as I know some people prefer that approach) which seemed to engage quite well and even tried some Facebook advertising to improve visibility. The next series of guests are lined up for recording from next week and I’m looking forward to announcing the roster over the coming weeks.
Good old Multipack friend Andy Yates has also made a great start on the new open-sourced version of F1 Calendar with quite a few PR’s raised over the festive break (very encouraging to see the early motivation and output – especially during an apparent break from work). Andy H and I have both lacked the time to maintain the existing version which has caused a bit of a stir with incorrect times (following F1 updates) so, hopefully, this will help alleviate the problem where anyone can fix and update the service that is extremely popular.
I’ve also been thinking about the future of House Finesse too and whether it’s time to sunset it (inspired by the conversation with Mike about Howler). As we’re in the 15th year, we’re no longer breaking ground as podcasts are now mainstream and established as a talking format. Heavyweights like Defected and other professional DJs have a firm grasp on the streaming market and my personal interest is losing momentum. It might be time to call it but will be discussing options with my Finesse Brothers (Stu and Matt) and a few other industry contacts over the coming weeks about where to take it.
Travelling to Paris for 4 days has certainly limited my entertainment consumption (French TV certainly didn’t relate to me) but we have been catching up on some of the Christmas content on our return.
The Trial of Christine Keeler on BBC has certainly grabbed my attention with it’s political angle, delightful 60s theme and crime thriller nature.
Joe Lycett’s I’m About to Lose Control on All4 was probably the best comedy standup we’ve seen for a few months too. The fact my wife used to work with his dad definitely helps to relate with him, obviously with all the Birmingham and Black Country references we personally get.
The Rise of Skywalker was a joy to watch at the weekend too – a brilliantly epic conclusion to the saga, well directed, produced and acted by the whole team. I’m not sure if I felt a little underwhelmed at the end or disappointed that’s the end (for now). Surely Disney will be exploring all the spin-off’s though to make sure the franchise stays alive and continues to bring in the dollar.
Finally, as part of my personal wellbeing for the new year/decade, I’m trying to read a little more than 2019. I’ve setup a daily habit in TickTick to read for 20 minutes – perfectly feasible considering I spend over 90 minutes on the train every weekday.
I got Red Herrings and White Elephants for Christmas (thanks Mum!), a curious non-fiction book diving in to the origins of English idioms we use every in our day-to-day conversations. It’s interesting to observe so many originate from nautical times of years past; “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” came from the idea that disobedient crew-mates were made to whip each other with cat o’ nine tails with the likelihood of returning the favour in the future so took it easy on their counterparts.