Mark Boulton

Weeknotes 20

  • First weeknotes in a little while. Actually first in a month. Good reasons, though. In December, I had some big news. Then, true to form, I caught a pretty terrible virus over Christmas and spent it in bed. My poor family had to have a Christmas with me in bed for three days. Since returning to work, it’s been pretty busy as I start transitioning.
  • Started job hunting too. At the moment I’m well and truly on the fence about what I want to do next: take up another design leadership role, or do some consultancy. Maybe the later will lead to the former as it’s done in the past. Part of me would welcome some autonomy and the room to really play to my strengths. In either case, I’m available soon, so get in touch if you want to talk through a project.
  • With the time off sick over Christmas I was just a little over two weeks off the bike. With that duration and the illness, my fitness fell off a cliff. Ridiculously so, in fact. And so begins a long period of building back up, but progress so far is pretty good. Keeping one eye on goals this year.
  • Given I'll be leaving my job soon, I started dusting off the laptop I bought just before getting this job. It's the same spec as my work laptop: 13" MacBook Pro. In doing so, I noticed that about a third of the keys were, unsurprisingly, not working correctly. I did the laughable advice of blowing it with a can of air. It didn't really resolve it at all, so then I remembered that Apple had a replacement program. I booked it in the next day. The Apple Store in Cardiff didn't just replace the keyboard, but the display too as it had some 'marking and blemishes' (I couldn't see them to be honest!). The added bonus of the replacement keyboard is that it's a top case replacement so you get a brand new battery, too.
  • After the new hardware fixes, I decided to wipe and reinstall everything for a clean start. I remember when you had to do that quite regularly with Macs. I also remember that pressing f10 used to immediately crash Quark XPress so badly you had to rebuild your desktop. Ah, System 9. Or was it 7?
  • Spent a gratifying few hours at the weekend ageing some scaffolding planks to put up as shelves in my daughters bedroom. Who thought using a blow torch could be so therapeutic?
  • Since buying our ageing house in 2012 I've had to level up my DIY. When we first moved in, I learnt how to tile, fitted our bathroom (including the plumbing), managed to wire in some spurs to extend plug sockets. Still can't get my head around light switches though. Probably for the best.
  • A couple of weeks ago, Emma and I spent a wonderful evening with some special friends at Ynishir run by Gareth Ward. It was ridiculously good. A thoroughly designed experience and just shows how every tiny, considered element of an entire experience adds up to something amazing. Marginal gains, and all that. Emma and I enjoyed the interior design so much we spent the entire three hour drive back home discussing what improvements we were going to make next at home.
  • It was a challenging menu; 24 courses, starting with a miso broth and ending with some beef fudge. Yep. Challenging. But incredible. The team's blending of flavours and textures, and the some-what bizarre Japanese umami influence, totally work. Highlights for me were a fabulous crab salad, and a miso toffee fudge pudding. Very good and highly recommended for a special weekend.
  • I've been in Germany for a few days but now I travel back to the UK to Nottingham for New Adventures. For one reason or another, I haven’t been back since the first one when I spoke. Incidentally, it’s the only time I vomited before speaking due to nerves. Maybe because Simon is a friend, and that it personally mattered so much, or that I was trying to distill a year's worth of thinking into just 20 minutes. Regardless, I’m very looking forward to the day and seeing old friends and new. And not having those nerves.

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