Week 18 of 2020 brings team changes, domestic games room, obligatory May fitness challenges, return of Make Life Work, kitchen speakers, Nick Spalding and some Japanese philosophy.


It’s the week before my probation review – how is it already 3 months since I started this job? It was a real mix of emotions though as a colleague who started just before me decided the role wasn’t for him so left Friday and we also welcomed a new member to the Delivery team on Thursday. The function is relatively new but with some fantastic opportunities to address technical and logistical challenges; the team have a great mix of skills and energy to make things work.


The pool table came out this weekend – a freecycled acquisition from a few years back when a neighbour was giving it away. We’ve spent the majority of our time knocking balls around, teaching the kids the rules, whilst I’ve revisited my youth when I spent far too many 50p’s in the nearby pub honing my craft. It’s amazing how quickly it comes back.

We also got my decks out the loft to start sorting out one of the rooms as an entertainment hub to accompany the pool table. I’m now eyeing up a pair of Stanmore’s as an early birthday treat to get the true sound my old vinyl deserves. As long as it gets Mrs J’s aesthetic approval, we’re all good.

Fitness has taken a bit of a hit this week though; after an early 6km run around the village (a personal best according to Strava), I realised a terrible bloody blister had formed on my big right toe causing anguish on every step. To top things off, I’ve also caused some serious damage to my left foot after stumping it in the dark loft. Time to recover, quite an annoying coincidence as I signed up for a 60 day trial of Strava Summit. However, I have given myself a goal:

Signed up for the #MayAnyway Challenge to run 50km through May. Nice goal to motivate some fitness during these times. https://t.co/tcVQV1vdAZ

via Twitter

As the lockdown continues, the family have continued to find creative ways to keep entertained. The boy helped grandad create a little area for growing vegetables, the girl got a desk setup in the summerhouse for some crafty time, the wife has been moving furniture around for a change and I’ve been organising the loft prior to a proper refurb. Being stuck at home does give you some ideal time to give it some much-needed TLC with no excuses. Amazon Prime is certainly getting it’s moneys-worth through these strange times.


So, considering it was a resounding “yes” (despite relatively low numbers), I’m now working out the logistics to make it happen and keep it as simple as possible.

via Twitter

I’ve now organised the first recording for Make Life Work “Home Edition”, inviting fellow podcaster Luke Murphy along for a chat about how he’s coping through the lockdown. There are a few other gentlemen keen to get involved including previous guests but I’d also like to get some diversity on the line-up before it just turns out to be another podcast of middle-aged white blokes chatting about how hard things are.

Speaking of which…

Lovely to wrap up the week with a cheeky @OnTheSideNet virtual beer session this evening. Just a shame it was cut short for Princess’ first homemade dinner instead of the @Beer52HQ taste test.

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Like many geek dads, I’m trying to find a decent level of smart tech around the house with our “Ladies in the Tube”, Alexa, Google and Siri supporting the speaker systems.

The kitchen now has a (small) pair of Bluetooth speakers for a good boogie whilst cooking and cleaning and, as mentioned above, we’re now sourcing some high quality speakers to accompany the record player.

It was great to discover another company doing good through the Coronavirus, offering an opportunity for people to buy beer for the carers:

Dear NHS workers, have one on us! I’ve bought one of you heroes a round so go ahead and claim it. 👏

via Twitter

Fellow side-project advocate Kevin took to a live mob-coding exercise Monday evening extending Gatsby with a “digital playground” (think wiki) which was fascinating to watch. Kevin has a natural energy which comes across wonderful and I really liked how there was a group of people coordinating the event which allowed Kevin to concentrate on the code whilst others monitored Q&A from viewers.


I’ve just finished reading Fat Chance by Nick Spalding – an easy-read about a similarly-aged couple battling in a weight-loss competition for a local radio. Nothing challenging or enlightening but easy escapism during my daily half-hour read.

I’ve now started reading The Courage To Be Disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness by Ichiro Kishimi – the first non-fiction read of the year with an appetite for some philosophy and self-help.