Sunday Summary – February 2021

As I mentioned before February (and to a large extent January) have been very busy work-wise. We discovered that a process that should have been done on a regular basis for the last 5 years has not been done. And it was my job to fix it, by the 25th February. So my work life for the last 2 months has pretty much involved the sole-task of transcribing pathology reports onto our Case Report Forms for all 850 of our patients (each patient has at least 2 path forms!)…as you can imagine it took a lot from me! But after accruing 20 hours over time and a lot of other work being put on the back burner. We did it! (Or at least 95% of it, which was more than enough for our trial statistician. So all round…a win!!!

WORK HARD —- BUT PLAY HARD!

But all this work business left me pretty high and dry for blogging. My free time was spent, resting, as much as possible. So what else have I been up to in February?

Gears of War 3 & 4 – That’s right! Xbox time! I’ve mentioned on the blog before, that I’m not a big gamer during “term time”. It usually takes a couple of weeks worth of holiday to get me even remotely interested in gaming. But once I’m there, I’m there, all in. Because I was working hard, with overtime most days, consistently, I rewarded myself with mindless-relaxing evenings! Working my way through the Gears of War series – which I’d started around my birthday time. It’s amazing how quickly you can complete games with 1, 2, 3+ hours a day! 😉 My next gaming series will likely be the Assassin’s Creed games, which I never even completed the first one as a kid!

Work out! – When my mind is stimulated and working over time, it’s important to let my body match the pace. Otherwise, I start getting in some bad diet habits and will really bulk-up (in the bad sense!). Not to mention, that I find exercise a massive stress release! So beginning of February I drew up a 12-week workout plan. This morning’s cardio session – saw me complete week 3! Now, heading into March, I’m enjoying the first “rest week” of my programme:

Wife’s Birthday and Valentines! – Yes, lucky me, it’s an expensive month! It was Wife’s turn for her ‘lockdown birthday’ this month. We Skyped family and friends, took the days of work, went for some walk and ordered a Thai takeaway! Very very nice! Interestingly we both got each other pretty much the same gifts and cards!!! Whilst we had agreed on the mugs, the cards were a complete surprise for both of us! I suppose one bonus of lockdown birthday’s is we had a whole cake between the two of us! Ended up giving some to our neighbours, who returned the favour this week and brought over some homemade brownies!!! Win-Win! (It’s a good thing I’ve been exercising!)…we also spent quite a bit of time playing our own version of Backgammon, a modified version called ‘Wet-gammon’ (don’t ask about the name!). New rules include: rolling 7 having to move backwards, double evens at the end get another go, double odds at the end miss a go.

Handyman time – Yes, another opportunity for me to show my skills with the tool kit! No furniture assembly this month. But I did do some “corking”. I would say I did it like a pro- and only show you the before and after photo’s….but truth be told, I didn’t read the instructions…and therefore, I didn’t wear gloves…and therefore I had “corking” on my hands all week! I tried everything getting it off, even pouring some old vodka into a bowl, and using that to scrub with a metal sponge! No fruit. It just doesn’t come off! But, here, enjoy the fruit of my labours:

4 Player Chess – Yes, you heard that right, myself and a group of childhood friends have been spending the last few weekends on online Skype calls whilst playing 4-player chess together!

Other interesting things this month?! Well, yes, I officially ordered myself the weirdest thing from Amazon! Marmite Shower-gel! It was a complete accident, only showed as Lynx Africa on my phone. The verdict? I didn’t love it, as much as I love actual marmite, this just felt too weird.

Plans for March 2021? 1) Get a haircut as soon as possible! I’m very close to shaving my hair all off and going bald again! 2) Get back into blogging aiming for at least 3 posts a week. 3) Get back on with book editing. With Jan/Feb being so busy, and all my gaming, the book edit has well and truly been on hold. I’ve enlisted some friends to Skype me 6-8am this month, to work with me/hold me accountable for 2hours book-work a day. Hopefully by the end of March we’ll have made serious headway towards getting this thing clean cut.

Quick update

Dear supportive readers,

I’m sorry I’ve missed a couple of days and will likely miss a few more. Work is pretty busy at the moment, with a few deadlines all coming up together.

The result? I’m burning the candle at both ends. So I’m having to be extra cautious and sensible with how I use my free time.

All is well, and God is good. But this is a busy season. Will try and get back on with blogs next weekend.

Best wishes and thanks for your prayers

Paul

Sunday Summary 24th January – It’s Snowing!

Where we live, there is not very much snow…ever! But this weekend has seen a lot of it, our neighbours have made more snowmen and we managed to get a late night walk together in the middle of the heaviest part!

Aside from the snow, this week has been pretty good. I took a day off work on Friday to make up for some Christmas overtime. Went for a walk, played a couple of games of backgammon with wife and made significant progress on my ‘latte art’ technique!

This is the closest I’ve ever got to anything resembling a flower. Still a way to go, but making progress.

This week also saw me finish book 4 of the Wheel of Time series: The Shadow Rising. It was an incredibly good read, even if very long. I’m really enjoying watching the three main characters grow. And trying to keep track of what everyone else is doing, and whether they are good or ‘dark friends’.

I must admit…I’m using the glossary a lot!

I also managed to meet with a friend after work this week, we went for a long walk in the pouring rain. It was good to get out and see someone else for a change, even if we did get pretty soaked. One of the things we talked about was my future engagement with the Navigators UK. Something that has been put on the ‘back burner’ for me over the last year – not least of all because of COVID (I don’t think I’ve written about all the reasons, on this blog before, but I did mention it in this post: Reflections: A New Bible and a New Season

But this is something I’ll be thinking about over the coming month. Especially now that I’ve re-joined the preaching rota at my Church. Probably more detail on that later!

Any other highlights? Well, my wife has prepared her Valentines day card stock!

If you want to buy one and support a small business, you can order directly from her website, or order them through thortful.com here: https://thortful.com/profile/5f9f080bcdda5e0001499146 .

Sunday Summary 17th January – A new bookshelf!

This week I continued in the spirit of DIY and put up a new bookshelf to replace the one we’ve had since we first got married (5 and a half years ago!). It was beginning to fall apart and wasn’t looking too stable. It was quite fun trying to sort through the books, work out which ones I wanted to keep, which to give away (or give back to the people I’d borrowed them from!). And then, I tried to use each ‘block’ in the new bookshelf to separate different genres. It’ll probably need some tweaking.

The new one is a different style but actually has a little less space, so we got a mini book shelf (see below). I’ve used the top two shelves on this new one to keep all my ‘favourite’ books – although this will also need some tweaking!

My top three are ‘Invitation to a journey’ – Robert MulHolland, ‘Making of a Leader’ – Robert Clinton, and ‘Red Moon Rising’ – Pete Greig. Although that was a lot more difficult a decision to make than I thought it’d be and I’d probably change my selection on another day.. They’re all very good on those top two shelves.

In other news, I made very little progress with my own book writing. Although I have now written out a checklist of all the different sections I still need to edit. The list is on my wall above my computer, so I’m hoping that will motivate me to get on with it.

This week also saw me have a great catch up with a friend via Zoom. We talked about sharing our faith, work, aspirations and callings! He has agreed to read the edited versions of each section of my book when I’ve edited it. Hopefully this will also provide some accountability and more motivation next week.

In work updates – please pray for me (if you’re the praying type!). I have a mammoth task over the next month and I’m really not sure I will get it done. I’m in the process of transcribing 700+ pathology reports onto our trial related forms. Aside from having no medical training, these reports seem to be written in another language. So it is very slow going. Especially that it’s all on top of my usual job. But thankfully, other areas of the trial have been quiet this last week so I made good progress. Still have a long way to go.

The view on my walk home from work one night!

Anything else going on?? Not really, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a video I posted on YouTube a week or so back, has around 400+ views. I didn’t expect it to do so well (I know relatively that’s not much, but it feels big for someone with only 3 subscribers.

Sunday Summary 10th January – New Year!

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I’m a little out of practice! I won’t try and cover everything that happened in December and Christmas.

Some of the most exciting things this week has been the return of snow, where I live in the UK snow is a rare phenomenon. We’re lucky if we get it twice a year. But one morning I woke up early, saw the snow, and decided to go for a walk. Spoke to a friend over the phone, and then enjoyed the fresh cold snowy atmosphere.

Another highlight this week was the progress I’m making with latte-art. Yes, you heard me right. When we first got married some friends of ours moved to America, and gave us their fancy coffee machine. That was 5 years ago! Recently I discovered a YouTuber – called James Hoffman – who is like this proper coffee snob/expert. And it inspired me to finally learn how to use the fancy machine for coffee. (Embarrassed to say, I’ve been using it wrong all this time!)

Although I’m still far-off from making anything resembling a heart or a flower, this latest attempt was long debated amongst my family as to whether it looked more like a lobster or a peacock!

I’ll let you know if I make any steps closer towards a professional image.

All this is well and good, but it does mean I’m making (and therefore drinking) a lot more caffeine than usual. So far, no adverse events.

What am I watching?! Well, I’m glad you asked.

Around October time my wife and I jumped into the world of the 1980s and watched the Karate Kid! We loved it, around 30 years late to the party. But we were instant fans, and watched all the old films. Not long after we discovered that Netflix/Youtube had been working on a spin-off sequel. Cobra Kai. Well if you haven’t watched them, I’d highly recommend it. This New Years day, wife and I sat down and binged the entire third season (which was released in the UK on that day!).

It is incredible! Not just exciting, with great characters and good story line, character development and awesome fight scenes. But it also manages to draw the fine line between cultural differences between the left and right, in a tasteful yet sharp way. Not only that but each episode is only 30 mins and each season only 10 episode.

Finally, I got down with my tool-kit and did some personal DIY this week, see if you can spot the difference! How long do you reckon before I forget it’s not there and roll off the back!!