Paul Strickland

A long day at work. Twelve hours or so. It’s always tiring but the sort of work that leads to this is quite energising at the time. Tomorrow will be a different matter…

For what must have been the first time in over a year, I spent the early evening sitting on a bench in the cathedral grounds, reading a book. The weather has waited until now to turn out pleasant, if a little warm for my tastes, but the feeling of normality was quite something.

As we head towards the end of May, I noticed something strange during my run yesterday. A warm, almost prickly sensation on my arms, accompanied by a bright light. It reminded me of when the sun used to shine…

There is a small selection of voices that will cause me to immediately mute my radio. Those voices belong to Gove, Jenrick, Johnson and anyone else in the Cabinet.

January 2021 has been hard work so far. It is winter, there is a pandemic and the country is yet again in a nationwide lockdown. But it’s been such an exhausting month so far. I’m physically tired as well as feeling mentally drained.

Although it’s been hard, it’s not all bad. There have been some changes that show promise, both at work and at home, but they all add to this fatigue that I seem to have gained.

Most January’s have a bit of a slow start to them, as life adjusts to being back at work. This year is particularly tough though. Trying to find any sort of motivation whatsoever is such a struggle.

It’s the eve of a new week of lockdown v2.0. Still nothing is set to change for me, but I can’t help but feel some slight apprehension.

In other news, how refreshing it is to hear a political speech encouraging unity rather than division. Can hope replace hate?

Day two of lockdown v2.0, and I was incredibly grumpy. I don’t think it can have anything to do with the situation, as nothing has changed for me so far. Still, it was unpleasant.

And so we learn that the government is the last part of the country to realise that a nationwide lockdown is necessary. I wonder how many people feel worried that nobody who is supposed in charge actually knows what they are doing? It is quite a revelation. Fortunately I am confident in the common sense of my family and friends and the leadership provided by my employer, but sympathise with those who have felt nothing but fear all year.

Can a government lose moral authority purely through incompetence, or does it require malice? My own government certainly appears to have no authority. But if it was just the repeated bungling of a crisis and mistakes that cost thousands of lives, could they assert some weight behind their latest proclamations? Is the irreparable damage only caused by the lies, corruption and blatant disregard for the rules that they imposed on others, or would it have happened anyway?

One of the reasons why I love BBC Radio 6 Music is that it is not surprising to here something like “now for something new from the metal scene in Nairobi”.

Consistent stress is the aim of my running at the moment. After two weeks each of one speed workout, one long run, two strength/stability sessions and four easy runs, this week I’m looking at volume. I’ll keep the strength and stability but drop the speed work. Each easy run aims to be about an hour in duration but no more than a steady pace. The long run will stay the same, and I’ll review this after two weeks if all goes to plan.

For the last three weeks I’ve run six days a week, only resting on Saturday. Monday – Friday have been early morning runs with a speed workout on one day. Sunday is my long run. It works well, except that I feel exhausted on the Saturday and have to completely rest.

I can’t help but feel that there is a storm brewing on the horizon and that a difficult winter awaits us. That wouldn’t ordinarily be a concern to me, but at the same time I continue to be flabbergasted at the sheer incompetence of our government. I haven’t supported previous governments for over a decade, but there was at least a sign that someone knew what they were doing. Now, however…

It may have taken several months, but now I miss my family. I last saw my young niece and nephew at Christmas, and following my nephew’s recent birthday, I would quite like to see them again. Soon I hope.

What a difference a good night’s sleep makes. Not only did I wake up feeling rested, I was in a much better mood. Add a strong effort in a midday run and I can easily call today a good day.

Do you ever really relax? Reading this article at zen habits made me realise how little I do. I follow a 10-minute meditation course every day during which I definitely relax. And I think when I go for a walk I come close to it, except I’m almost always listening to podcasts (if only passively). The rest of the time I am always doing something or fretting about doing something. I should take more time to do nothing.

The oppressive heat has gone for the timebeing, but last night must have been the worst night’s sleep I’ve had for months. I really cannot function today.

The trial mid-morning run went well today. It was all fine except when trying to navigate the human obstacle course that was the town centre…

I’ve just finished watching Fury (not that one. These day’s it’s rare that I can be truly gripped by a film, but at times I was literally on the edge of my seat. A truly great film.

I had a horrible experience this evening during my run. People everywhere, the idea of maintaining a safe distance all but forgotten about. I normally find running calms me down but not this time.

I’m starting to think I need to change approach from what has probably been a lockdown coping strategy into something more sustainable.

A much better day today, mostly spent reading about systems and requirements. It’s a dry topic but there are some great nuggets of information to extract somehow…

Today was one of those days when nothing was good, but for no particular reason. It was horrible, but I know it will pass.

With the good news at New Zealand’s success, today marked the first day where I actually felt depressed at the vastly different responses, outcomes and forecasts for the various countries around the world.

So much for the “cautious” and “gradual” relaxing of lockdown today. Everywhere seemed to be packed with people! What were they all doing?

I don’t know whether it’s the heat or the hidden stress of the lockdown, but thinking seems to be incredibly difficult at the moment.

For the first time in a while, today actually felt like a Friday. That end-of-the-week feeling was refreshing in contrast to the fairly monotonous tone of previous weeks.

It seems like 05:30 might be the new 06:00. After springing out of bed this morning I feel more alert than I have been for a while. And this is after only about six hours of sleep. I await the inevitable crash later in the day.

It seems that about once a week, everything collapses. Today was that day for me; I don’t know why, but it just wasn’t a day for getting anything done.

I received a great package of pens and pencils along with a new notebook from Cult Pens today. This year I’ve started to develop my bullet journalling techniques quite a bit. More to follow…

My hair has grown to a point that I notice it being there on my head. It’s as if it has become another entity. I think something must be done.

After some theme trouble, I’ve redesigned this website with a simple light theme. I’m quite pleased so far. Hopefully now I can focus more of my free time on other things.

Exercise has been a key part of my day for a while, but during this situation it has taken on a whole new meaning. I seem to prefer frequent lower-level efforts over preparing for, and recovering from, the big weekly long run.

Lately the lockdown has seemed like business as usual. Ups and downs still occur, but on the whole I’m doing well.

During the past few weeks I’ve been trying to educate myself with some knowledge of model-based systems engineering. I’ve found a couple of resources for this and whilst the information is useful, it is presented in such a dense and abstract way as to make the subject appear almost impenetrable!

Today was a big struggle. I woke up tired, and the day never really got going. Still, a run in the sun was a great relief this afternoon.

One surprising source of solace in these times is the daily engagement I have with one of my favourite YouTube creators – TheGingerRunner. As a Patreon supporter, I get the opportunity to watch a live show every weekday evening. It’s trivial, but I guess it just adds a sense of community to my life.

Well I survived a 4-day weekend of isolation. I didn’t get much done, but I ran and also managed to solder my new keyboard.

One thing I’ve been mulling over lately is the ethics of online shopping at this time. On one hand, I don’t want to put people at risk for non-essential purchases. On the other, so many smaller businesses will suffer and I want to do what I can to help keep them going by buying from them.

Today was a day of two halves. A long, slow morning was filled with underlying dread of what was to become of an afternoon call. The surprisingly good call led to a very pleasant, if tiring afternoon of warm weather and relaxation. And now for Easter…

As much as I quite like my new routine and way of working, what this will mean for the Easter break is unclear. Still, I’m glad it’s only a 4-day week!

The temperature is rising which is nice, but with it has come annoying little flies. Runs have become itchy and it makes me want to get my hair cut.

My daily run outside is an invaluable source of stress relief and calms any anxiety I have. So when I see other people outside for their one permitted outing still staring at their phones I silently shout “look at the world around you!”

I can summarise the week thus: a cautious start that slowly became more more manageable as I settled in for the long term; after a few days I was quite enjoying my new routine. Suddenly this afternoon, some utterly appalling behaviour knocked me down off that wave of hope. It was ordinary work behaviour rather than anything related to the lockdown, but reminded me of my fragility. The challenge now is to recover and not let that person ruin my weekend.

Following yesterday’s positive experience, today continued along those lines. I think I am starting to see a future where I actually choose to work from home on a more frequent basis. I think that whatever happens with our current situation, the way we work in future will be profoundly affected.

Today was positive. I think I might be easing into a routine. I prefer starting and finishing work early, and exercising much more than I used to before. It’s very strange, but I am coping.

An eventful day today. I spent two hours standing in an outside queue at the pharmacy, ten minutes queueing to go into the supermarket and, for the first time this year, did my evening run in the daylight. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about this being the new normal. I worry that I might forget what life was like before.

A fairly calm day today. Daylight saving started this morning and threw my body clock right off, so my morning run was later than planned. Tomorrow I have errands to run, which means going outside. That shouldn’t make me anxious…

Yesterday ended up being much calmer than Thursday. I don’t know why, but was glad of it. It’s now the weekend, I think…

Today was not good. No early-morning enthusiasm before the afternoon slump, just the slump. The weather was gorgeous, and I cleaned my windows for the second time this week (though they did need it; they were filthy). But gorgeous weather that you can only look at offers little solace. Still, I got outside for a run this evening and that was nice.

As I write this I feel like I’m not coping well at all. I’ve actually had a good day, getting up early and working quite well. The afternoon’s just seem to grind to a halt. A run this evening will help I’m sure.

I got out for a run today – my daily exercise is fortunately still permitted. Whether or not it was nervous energy, I ran harder and further than my usual weekday running. Despite looking like the set of 28 Days Later it was great to get outside.

Our country has taken the next step and requires people to remain indoors. I am not surprised that this has happened, but that doesn’t make it any less surreal. Already I have to work out what day of the week it is.

Although we aren’t yet mandated to stay isolated it is encouraged. Therefore, I tried to spend the weekend at home, not going out except for one run this morning. It was tough, demotivating and quite scary, but I managed it. If the situation gets worse, I must try not to dread the idea of staying indoors.

I’ve nearly finished collecting all the components I need for my next keyboard – a 40% ortholinear Niu Mini. Looking at the options available with QMK firmware I’m very excited at what I might be able to do. The main decision for now, however, is whether I find it easier to use QWERTY, as on my full-size work keyboard, or Colemak that I have on my original Ergodox at home. I want to try Colemak but I’ll see how easily my hands adapt to the new hardware.

This week we finished a project that was quite challenging. It took a lot of effort in a short space of time. Now that it’s finished I feel deflated; I must have invested that much of myself into the job that it has left me empty. I wonder if other people feel this way about their work at all.

204 km over 23 hours and 26 activities. After running fairly consistently over the past month, I was a bit disappointed to see my fitness level not improving much. I’ll have to look a bit more closely at how I’m running.

I’ve spent too much time today looking out of the window at the clear blue sky and wanting to be running. I like running in the rain too, but watching a glorious day slowly pass by from inside an office is a little disappointing.

Collaboration between different organisations is essential to our modern way of working, but it is at constant risk from trivial failures in communication. I would like to study the single source of truth concept to see how working together could be improved by enabling everyone to refer to the same information.

It’s nice to see the sun out today following a bit of dreary first week back at work after Christmas. The sunny weather helps to boost my cautiously optimistic start to the year.