January 2015

February 4, 2015

A whole month and my new year’s resolution is going strong. This month I enjoyed reading ‘Being Mortal’ by Atul Gawande. I think this book is a must read for anyone interested in the current debate about what Wellbeing means for people approaching the end of life and whether the systems we have created to support them are failing. The book is really thought provoking and even uplifting.

My son has secured his first full time, permanent job since leaving university last summer. He will be working in Harrods’ toy department but doesn’t want to give up his ‘zero-hours’ contract with Opta so he’ll do a bit of that too.

I’m still not cycling and using the weather as an excuse. I’m determined to sort this out in February. In the meantime I was inspired by an article I read about Kate Hudson who keeps in shape by skipping for three sessions of three minutes. I am managing 3 x 2 but it’s harder than cycling and an additional incentive to start soon.

I was very disappointed with the Welsh Government’s decision to reject our joint expression of interest to voluntarily merge with Conwy. The proposition is obviously worthy of serious consideration and the decision not to even develop a full business case is probably a missed opportunity that will cost the public more in cuts. A good case study of how poor leadership can suffocate innovation at birth. Being positive, we can now rule merger out for the next five years and concentrate on developing a new vision for the county after we deliver the current Corporate Plan.

New Year 2015

January 9, 2015

One of the things I like about the Christmas break is that it gives me time to reflect on the past year and think about the year ahead. Having ‘proper’ time with family and friends and slowing things down helps to concentrate the mind on what’s really important. This year I’d realised that I’ve been spending too much time thinking and worrying about work and not enough time doing other things that I like. While promoting a healthy work/ life balance to everyone else, I haven’t been paying enough attention to it myself. So I have made a new year’s resolution, which I will keep and I will use these blogs to maintain the pressure on myself.

During this year I will read at least one book each month and go to the theatre or opera at least six times. I will name the books and shows I have seen and encourage you to drop me a line and comment on them if you have read or seen them yourselves. I will also do more cycling and walking. I will try not to write too much about work related stuff in my blog, hoping that I’ve covered those communications in other ways.

So, last month I read ‘Do No Harm’, by the eminent brain surgeon Henry Marsh; an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone interested in understanding the emotional challenges, from the point of view of the professional, of such high risk and delicate work. I went to see the ‘Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night Time’ at the Gielgud Theatre in London. I’d read the book about five years ago and found the play to be excellent too. I have also seen ‘The Theory of Everything’ at the cinema, having read ‘A Brief History of Time’ maybe ten years ago. And I have done a lot of cooking. I haven’t, on the other hand, done any cycling for two months and I intend to address that too, although I don’t feel confident enough to commit myself to numbers.

I have not been able to avoid the political campaigning that appears to have started for the general elections in May and have felt slightly depressed at the general message from all the main political parties, that public sector austerity will continue beyond the elections and local government will not be a high priority. The approach to local government funding is short sighted, but I reminded myself that my job is to work with the hand the politicians deal rather than worry too much about what that hand should be. Mixing these thoughts with a good book or a film or a good meal helps to maintain perspective. This is why a healthy work/life balance is so important. But I have learned, again, that knowing this and actually doing it aren’t the same thing, thus my resolution.


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