How well do you know your colleagues? How well do you know the people with whom you come into contact regularly at work? Ros Gray asks these questions, says why it’s important, and gives examples of what you can do to get to know each other better (including singing in a choir).
Having been without my computer during Week 37, I got it back, mended with a new hard drive and fresh Operating System, and then I had days of getting all the other software I need back onto it during Week 38. Actually, I left it sitting by itself for a day because Anna At The Ambler offered me a lift down to the Talk About Local 2013 unconference, held in Middlesbrough. I will probably blog about that this week.
Earlier in the week, I had been at a book launch for Liam Barrington-Bush‘s Anarchists in the Boardroom, organised by Stephanie Cole (who also founded the Newcastle Social Media Surgery). Liam has previously contributed a post to Weekly Blog Club, but I hadn’t realised that our Louise Brown had worked with him. Then I saw that Lorna Prescott had organised one of the launch events, and that Dan Slee was tweeting about what Liam was saying… You see the pattern here? Social media is enabling us to have conversations with people whom we would never have met before, and I find that people who think and do things to try to make their bit of the world better often have some ideas in common. One of the common ideas is to keep or return systems to a human scale, with people at the heart of things.
There were some very moving posts in Week 38. Two were particularly outstanding and I really hope that people will read them and pass them on to others. Firstly, Kathryn Graham’s Just An Ordinary September Day. She is waiting for a heart and double lung transplant, and wrote about her thoughts as she was cooking for some friends and her family. Something that everyone should know is that there is a shortage of organ donors. You can help Kathryn and the 7,000+ people waiting for organs by signing up to be an organ donor. I am sure that all Weekly Blog Club members would join me in hoping that Kathryn doesn’t have to wait much longer.
In the second must-read post of the week, David Hall revealed a painful personal experience in What motivates me? on the Ayrshirehealth blog that helps drive him as a medical professional to put people at the core of practice. I have always tried to remember that my colleagues, the other people I meet in their professional roles, people in the bus queue, are all human beings but this post really made me think. I admire David greatly for writing it and sharing, and even more for using his own experience to be even more passionate about helping others.
Enhanced patient experience by Ken Donaldson and Peter Bryden wrote for the dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog about workshops to encourage a better experience for patients. At a recent big event that they organised, Ewan Kelly introduced people to the concept of Values Based Reflective Practice (VBRP). The “Values Based” element of this sounds interesting. There is a question in the middle of this post that I wanted to emphasise: “Whose needs are being met?” I have wondered this sometimes in my own experiences of being a patient in the NHS. Look out for Ewan Kelly’s post in Week 39: Rays of humanity.
I was really sorry to hear that Karen Hart has been through a horrible experience again, but also smiled at and was intrigued by the concept of her story’s elk character, and her daughter’s exhortation to Kill the Talking Elk. Karen writes beautifully and I was interested to read about what element of writing she finds tricky. I admire her for writing fiction. I have intended to try writing fiction for decades but have not even decided on a genre yet. Karen had prompted my dreams of luscious oil paints during the week when she mentioned an art supplies store near her from which I ordered paints in the distant past (when I could afford oil paints). Of course, an artist should be able to paint with any old paints but… the textures and precise colours of the good paints and the way in which they mix makes a very different painting experience (and brighter paintings).
Dan Slee is a man who understands the power of a good picture! This week he shared his understanding, a stat and a list of where to find pictures in BIG PICTURES: How pictures make Facebook posts fly (and where to get them). I would add that if you spot an image that would be good in a blog about an event, it might be worth asking if you could use it even if it doesn’t have a Creative Commons licence. I’m usually happy to let people use an image or two from an event (without a fee) in their blog if they ask, if they are not blogging for money, and if they put a credit with it (even better a link to my Flickr or web page). I would be even happier if people offered me some money to use my pictures, of course (not least so that I could replace my broken DSLR and take more photos).
Congratulations are due to professional photographer Mark Wood as he reveals in his blog this week that he has finally got his UK Press Pass! Read about what sort of events he has photographed and will be photographing in Hard Core Press Core. Best of luck, Mark! Watching the press photographers at an event a couple of years ago, with their stepladders and enormous lenses and huge equipment boxes, I realised that I could never be that sort of photographer. I couldn’t even carry the equipment!
Louise Atkinson’s post for our Week 38 (her Week 47) – Art and research Week 47: Working with collections and visiting @ArtemisLeeds - was about the kind of territory that is far more familiar to me than the press pack’s stepladder forest: collections of historical material. When I was an undergraduate, I remember a museum lending me a piglet’s ribcage to draw and I was wondering recently if it’s possible to draw skeletons in museums these days. I am already curious about what Louise will make in response to the objects in the Artemis Leeds handling collection. I would love to see more artists working with collections and giving us fresh views of them through curating or interpreting them visually.
Karl Green’s post – Sophie Gets the Best of Me - made me aware of some popular culture that I had never noticed before: the songs of Sophie Ellis-Bextor. I had noticed Sophie because of her unusual shape of face. How much popular culture have you managed to miss over the years? Watching the programmes that look back on decades, I sometimes think that I must have lived in an alternate universe at the time because the culture seems so different.
You might want to take Georgia Parker’s advice in Life Lesson 1: Make like a turtle on taking a breather after reading Chris Bolton’s amusing and accurate Helping without being directly helpful – Mandarin English and Sabotage with very useful links. Every profession has its own jargon but few are so rich with implied semantics as the Mandarin English language. I should point out that this is different from civil-servantese, an argot that is being replaced by Plain English.
Thank you very much to all who read, appreciated and shared the Week 38 posts, as well as to those who wrote them. If you have been inspired to write, do visit our About page to find out how to contribute blogs to Weekly Blog Club.
Many thanks also to the lovely and generous-hearted Kate Bentham and Louise Brown for looking after Weekly Blog Club for Week 39 and Week 40 respectively. Help with looking after Weekly Blog Club is always much appreciated – and it’s so much better for everyone if it isn’t just me wittering on every week!
Have a good week of reading and creating blogs!
Summary of Week 38 posts
An extremely powerful story this week from Steve Nestor about two women, strangers to each other, but who were there when it mattered. The story looks at how the one saved the other, one was from pain and injury and one from a miserable life. The one factor which brought these women together was that they both cared.
This week’s summary has been an endurance trial just to find the posts and create the summary list. I have had to do it all on a mobile device because my laptop is broken. Although the WordPress app has been designed for using on a smartphone, it is nowhere near as easy to do as on a laptop. It doesn’t have a WYSIWYG editor for writing posts but shows the HTML one adds – which makes it even trickier to see things on the tiny screen. Copying, cutting and pasting is also harder to do as one switches in between apps. Trickiest of all is highlighting a block of text because the box of editing actions appears in the area to where I want to drag the highlighting. I accidentally ended up cutting or pasting and deleting swathes of text. I haven’t found an Undo button yet, so the only solution seems to be not saving and returning to the last full saved version, and losing anything added in between.
So, I don’t recommend this kind of blogging on a mobile – though it does work quite well with a straightforward post with one picture, some text, and limited or no links.
Thanks very much to Kate Bentham for the last couple of weeks – and to Louise Brown for covering Week 25 – when I was suffering badly from inflamed joints, especially in hands, arms and shoulders, as well as lacking a functioning laptop or desktop. Kate is in a field by the seaside as I type, enjoying a summer holiday with her family. My own short post, ‘Seaside in the sun,’ is a reminder of such sunny family holidays, weekends and days out. I also remember times when it poured with rain. By the age of 11, I was good at wiping down and packing up muddy ground sheets in pouring rain.
Someone else remembering their early days this week was Karl Green who recalled some of his first friends in ‘Fifty Shades of Green Part 3 Early Friends.’
The Shropshire Family Information Service contributed an excellent post on the importance of emotional and mental health for children: ‘Think Good Feel Good – a Parent’s guide to supporting emotional health.’
There was something of a mental and emotional health theme this week. Joanne Payne, writing on the Ayrshire Health blog, gave an example of how an older person could need support with the emotional and mental aspects of going from crisis care in hospital to a changed everyday life at home. In her post this week – ‘A whole new adventure’ – she wrote about starting something new in her area to try to bridge that gap. I hope she tells us how it’s working in a few months’ time. I certainly recognised the patient’s fear of how to cope when home alone.
Susan Munro’s post – ‘The Language of Mental Health’ – made me think. How many people suffer from this condition and get ignored by people who don’t realise why they have language difficulties?
The focus of the career that Hanif Leylabi has chosen is communication. Hanif wrote a guest post on Ross Wigham’s blog about being a PR intern at Northumberland County Council: ‘My year as a PR intern.’ It is a local authority that takes digital communications seriously, in a county with some of the least-densely populated areas in England.
We had an update from another early career person this week. Samuel-James Wilson wrote about the bricklaying work that he has been doing in ‘Project catchup.’
Lindsay Narey made me feel better with her amusing post about the downsides of the summer heat: ‘Do one summer sun! Dealing with a daily cycle of boiling weather misery.’ I thought it was just me struggling to cope in the heat!
Do read Karen Hart’s ‘Amanda Palmer’s ‘Dear Daily Mail Song’ and how history is written.’ The description of donkeys mugging unwary visitors for their fish and chips made me laugh.
Finally, not Weekly Blog Club, but a collection of blogs written last Friday about one day in the life of archaeology, written by students, professionals and volunteers, and organised by very dedicated and enthusiastic people: Day of Archaeology – and that should top up your quantity of holiday or commuting reading for a while.
I was going to try an audio summary this week – even downloaded an app to try to do it. I chickened out! That could be one of the entirely optional themes for the next couple of weeks: what do you chicken out of that others seem to think quite easy to do? Other [entirely optional] themes are holidays – past, present, future and lack thereof; or sunshine – actual or metaphorical. The deadline for Week 30 is midday next Thursday.
Blog away, my pretties, blog away!
Janet E Davis.
Summary of Week 29 posts
- The Language of Mental Health by Susan D Munro
- Project catchup by Samuel-James Wilson
- Fifty Shades of Green Part 3 Early Friends by Karl S Green
- My year as a PR intern by Hanif Leylabi on Ross Wigham’s adaywithoutoj blog.
- A whole new adventure by Joanne Payne on the Ayrshire Healthblog.
- Do one summer sun! Dealing with a daily cycle of boiling weather misery by Lindsay Narey.
- Seaside in the sun by Janet E Davis.
- Amanda Palmer’s ‘Dear Daily Mail Song’ and how history is written by Karen JK Hart.
- Think Good Feel Good – a Parent’s guide to supporting emotional health by Shropshire Family Information Service
An inspiring guest blog this week from Rob Graham, husband on Kathryn Graham who is waiting for a new heart and lungs, and who blogs to raise awareness of organ donation. Rob tells us of the first public performance of the newly formed DonateLife Transplant Choir which is made up by various members of the transplant community, those who had received transplants, those who are waiting, and also donor families.
You’re all welcome to a piece of my virtual, colourful birthday cake. It’s in all the colours of the rainbow, is calorie-free and suitable even for those who are gluten-intolerant. Part of it is lemon cake, part is vanilla and part is chocolate, and it’s decorated with edible glitter and sprinkles in rainbow colours.
Kate Bentham blogged about an ebook with a rainbow cover, the first ebook to be published by Shropshire Family Information Service, in Ebook Publishing in Local Gov. It seems a very sensible idea to produce ebooks that provide useful information and advice if a Council is likely to have to reduce or cut budgets for publishing printed versions. Kate includes some tips that others will find useful if they try the digital publishing route.
Professor Angela Wallace had lots of colour in her post, The Northern Lights on the Ayrshire Health blog. It was a lovely metaphor for a scheme to develop and encourage future clinical leaders in the National Health Service. There were lights and sounds to produce pictures of parts of people’s insides in David Hill’s A Radiologist’s Journey on the Dumfries and Galloway Health blog. It was fascinating to read about how the technology and ways of working have changed since he started work (and I enjoyed his confession of why he chose this specialism!). Whenever I have had an x-ray or scan, I would have loved to spend more time looking at them. I love images and I love digital technology.
Copper featured in Joseph Conaghan’s blog as he wrote about infection control, use of microbial copper in hospitals, and his daughter’s very interesting degree work in Hospital Acquired Infections Require A Copper Bottomed Solution. I am very curious to know more about how copper works to lessen the spread of infections.
It was back to colour in Karl Green’s Fifty Shades of Green: Part 1 – It’s ’Orrible Being in Love When You’re 8 ½ (or 5 ½…) in which he told us about his first crush on a celebrity, and the following half-a dozen crushes (a lot of them on Doctor Who’s assistants). John Patterson was also remembering heroes of his youth, but of a more superhuman cartoon type, and wandered to considering the people that he now thinks of as heroes in Heroes are all around you. I totally agree with him that heroes are all around us, many helping in everyday situations.
Two people were thinking about good customer service this week. Rough Cat’s Death of an O2 Salesman will probably make you smile (and no actual salesmen were harmed in the writing of her post, as far as we’re aware. Please note: other brands of salesmen are available in most stores near you). Dan Slee had some really good advice about online customer services, written with the public sector in mind, but applicable also to the Third Sector, all businesses, and other organisations: HELP 2.0: What good Twitter customer service looks like.
Phil Jewitt took us for a wander through the ideas that came out of reading blogs by Catherine Howe and Elia Morling that so inspired him, he before 5am he was writing Context not cloaks and cliques. He thought about the need for leaders not just to be aware of social media but to understand properly, through experience, how it can be used. He also thought of a new kind of leadership and influencing, not about being high up in the hierarchy, but by curators. Do read his post – it is full of interesting ideas.
I didn’t go on my usual walk in town during May so put together a few snaps from several walks in the centre of Newcastle and on the eastern side of the centre in Ouseburn during the month: Urban walk May 2013. I really miss taking my DSLR for a walk. Snaps on my iPod Touch are fine for certain things but they are not the same.
Since the number of posts shared with Weekly Blog Club had dropped a lot recently, I had wondered if it might be time to suggest we end it. Derek Barron had recently mentioned us as being helpful when he wrote Ayrshirehealth Reviewed – a year of blogging. Kate Bentham had written recently about Weekly Blog Club encouraging her to blog. Then this week, I read John Patterson’s post in which he mentions being encouraged to blog by Weekly Blog Club. Then there was Karen Hart’s A love letter which starts off with surfing but is about something else, and includes mention of Weekly Blog Club encouraging her to write. I don’t want to give away too much about what she wrote because I want you to read it.
Perhaps I am just unsure generally about where to go from here, in life generally! Events such as birthdays make me try to review where I am and to try to see where I am going. At the moment I am still trying to see (urgently!) how to get back onto the path of paid employment. I am very busy with voluntary work in the meantime.
Thank you very much to all who contributed posts, Liked, commented or tweeted about them. If I have missed out any posts, please do say. Lovely Kate Bentham is taking over Weekly Blog Club for Week 24. The [entirely optional] theme could be:
- my favourite way to spend a sunny day in June;
- privacy in the age of PRISM;
- a walk (town or country).
If you want more inspiration, just tweet us. You can join in blogging any time and can find more about how to on our About page. Note that “weekly” is more of an aspiration than a rule. If you want to volunteer to look after Weekly Blog Club for a week, the details of what it involves are on our Admin info page.
Have a good week. Kate, over to you…
Summary of Week 23 posts
This week Karl Green is reminiscing about one of his all time favourite television programmes called Knighmare. In the show contestants had to work as a team to defeat the dungeon and the people who lived there. Karl blogs with fondness about the show and how it was one of the first proper geek things he became a fan of.
Mark Wood has been busy this week! He’s been photographing the Mayor, a boxer and the Dambusters, an event which he nearly didn’t attend. In this blog Mark talks about these different photo shoots and shares some of his favourite images, be sure to also click through and look at all of the images from these shots, there’s some wonderful pictures.