April 2020

Well April was 400 days long wasn’t it. I don’t even remember who I was before this month! Apparently I have been on the ‘Coronacoaster‘ according to Kim. Up one minute, down the next. I’ve had various bursts of energy that has led to a couple of blogposts, some momentum on Sticker Stories and an idea for a (not) podcast – but unfortunately before I can really get going my mood shifts and I barely have the energy to get out of bed.

My diet went to crap for the first month of lockdown and I have barely done any exercise – I’m trying to change that now but it may be too little too late. Also I am drinking a fair bit again – I’ve been ordering from local breweries and a little indie off license to ‘support’ them…such a selfless act.

I have been cooking almost every day and probably eating more veg and balanced meals than anytime since my teens – it was just all the anxiety induced sugar that screwed me up.

Thank god for Essex County Council. Having a job to fill my days has been a real boon – especially with such nice people and with a whole bunch of things to do that really fall into my sweet spot. I’ve been really enjoying it – though six hours a day of video calls is wearing me down and I’m having to find a way to balance gathering intelligence, influencing people, supporting my team and actually finding time to write stuff. It is a real juggling act but a necessary one and it has been a good distraction for the world outside.

I’ve been getting involved with work around web platforms, accessibility, supporting Children’s services, death certificates and a bunch more – as well as working with a new team and planning to bring in new permanent staff. In many ways it is likely my early days at ONS – just via MS Teams. The similarity includes a Digital team (well Service Transformation at Essex) that isn’t the home of the technology offering – exactly as it was at ONS – so once again I am building the bridges between those worlds – hopefully with a lot more empathy and understanding than before.

I really worry that we are sleep walking a bit into a ‘new normal’ that replaces old problems with new ones without taking the time to really think about how to take the best learnings out of these days to build something really new. This has been a crisis response and while individuals and organisations have done some amazing things a lot of it is held together by string and adrenaline.

There are going to be opportunities to work in different ways. I really expect my days on trains and in hotels to be greatly reduced…and inspired by this I am leaning towards getting a shed office in the garden! Though I also wonder whether it would be easier just to rent a high street office space – I suspect a lot will become available after all this!


Watched this twice already. Cried both times.


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