A great update from Samuel-James Wilson on his adventures in Australia. The 60 days since he arrived have seen plenty of activity but very little work, now however there is work on the horizon too, which is fantastic. Samuel-James blogs about his latest project, the challenges of working with new material and in new environments – with unpredictable weather and working alongside unwanted Huntsman Spiders! Yikes.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the East Midlands. There’s everything to get you in the festive spirit, from big Christmas trees, to mulled wines, wonderful walks and pamper time, it seems as if Lindsay Narey can vouch for them all. Ho Ho Ho y’all.
I must admit that I wished for a story that featured a crowd (or accumulating wealth) and one with a mat in it so I could have titled this post “A mo, a mass, a mat” because the start of the title that came out of the Week 44 posts reminded me of the first Latin verb I learnt to conjugate, amare: “amo, amas, amat” (I love, you love, he/she loves). At 12, it felt as if we were stepping into adult territory with that first verb. It always felt slightly embarrassing to chant “amo, amas, amat; amamus, amatis, amant.”
Chris Bolton dug into the more recent past to find an old Commando comic to illustrate his post about extending a military metaphor: Keep advancing until you take enemy fire…. how to measure impact. I was relieved that he recommended peaceful methods to resolve situations!
Samuel-James Wilson was reminded of his relatively recent past when he heard about the Prime Minister’s announcement of new work training schemes and his post title expressed succinctly his scepticism: A new era for apprenticeships…apparently.
I’ve probably mentioned before the fun of the apprentices awards day many years ago. English Heritage employed specialist craftspeople for carrying out some of the conservation work. It seemed like an excellent idea to me for the very experienced people to teach apprentices in proper workplaces. This apprenticeship scheme at English Heritage stopped when the government (which happened to be Conservative) decided that the craftspeople should be sold off in the early 1990s.
Joseph Conaghan brought some past to life in contemporary South Wales in his delightful post Houdini In Cardiff. He described where it was still possible to see the traces of what used to be a theatre where Houdini had got into a situation from which he could not escape without harm. Wherever you are, the traces of the past are often still to be found tucked away, on the less prestigious sides of buildings or structures. His post includes an autographed portrait of the Great Houdini.
Richard Overy featured a handsome man with a fine moustache in Texas Mo, to mark #movember. Richard is taking part and growing a mo again so if you want to donate, do visit his Movember 13 page, and help raise awareness of men’s health issues, and to raise funds for charities focusing on these issues.
In the medical blogs this week, there a focus on the work of Allied Health Professionals (or AHPs), specifically occupational therapists. These were all very readable blogs that made me wish I or people I know had the help of these professionals. Vicky Widdowson asked What does work mean to you? on dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog as she focused on the role of occupational therapists in helping people to continue working or to return to work. Lyn Flannigan wrote on the AHPScotBlog (Allied Health Professionals Scotland Blog) about her work - Being an AHP Working with People with Dementia - and wrote about experience of caring for her grandmother and how that helped her to understand. Kerry Gilligan remembered her early training in the 1980s and a case that made her realise how occupational therapy could make a big difference in Make a splash on the Ayrshirehealth blog.
There was mention in the comments on Chris Bolton’s second post of the week - Loving and Learning from Failure. Great idea, but how does it work? - of how the NHS could learn from its failures, but Chris’s post was not focused on the NHS but on work places generally, and could be especially useful for public sector where people have not been encouraged to admit even the most minor failures.
I sometimes fail to work out sums involving percentages because I forget some when I haven’t had to use them for a long time. I think I need to bookmark Louise’s Can you calculate percentage increases and decreases? She shows what she did in her micro teach session that she did as part of her GCSE teaching mathematics course, and it seems her teaching was successful.
Karl Green remembered when he was about 8 and first learned a bit about France and met a Frenchman in Fifty Shades of Green: Part 7 – My First Encounter With a Frenchman. I first met a French woman when I was a baby. She seemed extraordinarily old, older than my grandparents, and she taught me to say a few French words, such as ‘bonjour’ and ‘mercy beaucoup’ when I was an infant.
If you want somewhere more exotic than Paris or Calais to explore on holiday, you should come up to Northumberland. Ross Wigham wrote using a social campaign to back-up a tv show on the comms2point0 blog to explain how he had been helping to promote an ITV series in which Robson Green explores the county. Tourism is essential for the county’s economy and the local authority is working on ways of encouraging the growth in tourism so there are more jobs for those who live there. Northumberland is fabulous. From Latin inscriptions on the Wall to modern sports facilities, there is something for most people. Do visit if you can!
Thank you very much to everyone who contributed a post, tweeted or retweeted links, made comments, and Liked posts. We are not far off having had 200 contributors to Weekly Blog Club, so if you want to join in, check out our About page which tells you everything you probably need to know.
Week 45 was already completed by the time I wrote this blog so the suggested [entirely optional!] theme for Week 46 is cold weather.
Summary of Week 44 posts
The Week 42 posts made me think again about Weekly Blog Club, as people move on and things quieten down.
Joseph Conaghan wrote a thought-provoking post Is Ambulance Reality TV …Insight or Voyeuristic? I can see an argument for producing such television programmes to educate people on what the emergency services do and what real emergencies are, but I avoid all these programmes because they feel voyeuristic to me. And if anyone asks, I definitely would not want to appear as a patient in any of those programmes!
Peter Olding is looking for some help from Weekly Blog Club members. He would like you to take pictures of historic churches, add a bit of information about their names and where they are, and send it to him for adding to a website he’s creating to share the pictures and information with everybody. If you’re going for walks in the countryside this week during the half-term holiday, it would be an ideal opportunity. Find out more about what Peter is doing in Update on my Historic Churches Website.
Karl Green went further back, way before history, and tackled the small issue of The Complete History and Future of the Universe (in 1,635 words) in Week 42. He considered stars, planets, black holes, what came before the Big Bang, the possibility of other universes and more besides. I remember my maths teacher explaining to me the mathematical concept of dimensions beyond the four-dimensional (length, breadth, depth, time), and that alternative universes or realities were mathematically possible. Maybe the next Doctor Who story will help us to understand…
Say hello and smile at people! Samuel-James Wilson advised this in his post about finding a job: Smile, it might just work. It depends on your type of work whether social media is more or less useful when looking for a job.* Even if your work focuses on social media, it certainly is a good idea to try to get out and meet people at events where digital media people will be, and to smile warmly at them.
On the dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog this week, Ros Gray advocated Getting to know you, getting to know all about you… at work, starting with a smile, saying hello and introducing yourself. She pointed out just how much time you spend with colleagues and other people you meet at work, and what a difference it can make to be people-focused. Seeing people clearly and without prejudice is the best start to understanding their needs. Joanne Payne in Let’s get back to our roots…. on the Ayrshirehealth blog wrote about being involved with establishing a new Occupational Health service in Ayrshire and Arran that focuses on what the patient needs rather than preconceptions of what help they should want.
When did you last give or receive a hug? I can’t remember, but it was months ago. I rather miss visiting London where there is more of a custom of hugging people in a work as well as social context. The funny thing is when I see people from The South whom I’ve met at London events and I’m suddenly unsure whether hugging would seem too forward in the less touchy-feely North. Georgia Parker reminds us of the good things about hugging in Hugs have health benefits.
Mark Wood described his role in a very different physical activity in Change of tempo – literally. He has been photographing the BUPA Birmingham Half Marathon. I found it fascinating to read about a commercial photographer’s work at such an event. I hadn’t realised that they had to arrive so early at such things or had so little artistic control over the pictures they take.
My own modest photographic contribution was Ouseburn viaduct scaffolding, a photograph from last year when conservation work was undertaken on an early 19th century viaduct that carries the East Coast Mainline across the Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle upon Tyne. I had thought about adding Ouseburn walk October 2013, a set of snaps on Flickr but ran out of time to add words to them so they’re not officially a contribution.
Ouseburn is where I’m involved with developing online resources and communication for a community group. I’m looking for tips and pointers as to how we can do this effectively so I was particularly interested two posts from Wales relating to accessibility and building online communities. Sarah Ball wrote on the Participation Cymru blog about October regional participation networks: Accessible information and technology, with lots of useful links and details about what they did in the workshop. I really liked their very practical approach to accessibility. What is the point of communicating in a way people can’t understand? Chris Bolton wrote about the development of online communities for Good Practice Exchange at the Wales Audit Office in The Rule of 1%. Why it matters to your online community. I was interested in how low the percentage of active members of online communities is, and the example of the thriving one and the secret to it.
I think that the engagement with Weekly Blog Club has lessened over the past few months. There seems to be less interaction on Twitter and less response to the weekly summaries. I have asked before whether you want to end it. I’m wondering again if we should end the blog at the end of this year? Is it time to say goodbye at the end of 2 years? Although I would miss the community we have developed, I wonder whether too many people are too busy doing other things now to be actively involved regularly.
Another option that I have considered before is possibly finding some sponsorship, turning this blog into more of a magazine, get a WeeklyBlogClub domain, inviting people to contribute directly or give permission for their posts to be re-blogged in the WeeklyBlogClub magazine, possibly with a summary going out as a newsletter with pictures. I had hesitated about such an option because it would be a very different way of doing things. There was also indication that the forthcoming press charter would affect all online magazines which would make it necessary to have insurance, I think, and add a lot of complications.
I will leave those ideas with you to think about, discuss if you wish, put forward alternative ideas.
Thank you very much to everyone who contributed this week. If you want to contribute to Week 43, our About page tells you everything you probably need to know. If you would like to help look after Weekly Blog Club, there’s the Admin info page to tell you about what’s involved. If you want inspiration, how about storms, or Lou Reed, or half-term holidays as [entirely optional] themes for this week?
Hope you and yours survive the storms safely!
*(Incidentally, I’m still looking for paid work, should anyone be wondering…)
Summary of Week 42 posts
Karl Green considers the universe and beyond, in time and space.
We had 11 contributions for Week 41, the week in which this tweet:
— Weekly Blog Club (@WeeklyBlogClub) October 21, 2013
was our 5,000th tweet – thanks to Derek Barron for noticing and pointing it out. We also reached 20, 020 views on this blog by 15:00 on 21st October, and we passed the 180 contributors milestone sometime last week or the week before. That’s probably not too shabby for a blog that just collates links to other blogs and summarises posts. If you have been inspired by this blog to set up something like it for other groups of people, we’d love to hear about what you’re doing and, if appropriate (that is, open for anyone to read), to add a link to your blog.
This week’s posts were as diverse in subject as ever but with some topics in common. Mike Pratt, on the dghealth (Dumfries & Galloway Health) blog, wrote a thought-provoking post on something that affects or will affect almost all of us: Clinical Care and the Financial Challenge – How do we Respond? He raised difficult questions that we should all consider.
On the Ayrshirehealth blog, Jane, an occupational therapist working in mental health service in NHS Ayrshire & Arran, wrote about going on a yoga and meditation retreat: My Path to Mindfulness. I’m not at all sure that I could cope without a laptop and at least a few hours of access to the Internet, nor other offline activities to distract me, so very much admire Jane for doing it.
Georgia Parker’s post also had an element of reflectiveness in it as she advised Respond rather than react when you find yourself getting upset or irritated by others. A friend of mine advised me years ago never to write and send an email hastily when feeling like that. Keep it as a draft, and re-read it after sleeping because often it will need deleting or severe pruning.
By sheer coincidence, Louise Atkinson’s post - Art and research Week 49: Mexican paper rituals, Amatl and Papel picado - linked in with mine because I chose to draw an object from Mexico that seemed to be linked to or referred to ancient ritual. I was fascinated to read about the ancient Mexican paper, how they made it from bark; what they created with it and, later on, how they used paper imported with goods from China by the Spaniards who had colonised Mexico. I went on to do a bit more reading beyond Louise’s post and discovered that the popularity of amatl today has led to some environmental problems as demand outstrips the quantity of suitable bark available.
My own post was the second of my posts about attending art sessions Hatton Gallery drawing session 2 that give me the opportunity to draw with other people. I am hoping it will kick-start my drawing more regularly. It is a good discipline, a bit like practising scales on a musical instrument some of the time. I rather like the going-back-to-basics because it’s good to be reminded of the basics now and then, even when having drawn for decades.
Ross Wigham’s post Another brick in the wall took me back quite a few years this week as he blogged about his first visit to Hadrian’s Wall. Many years ago, I was involved with the management of some of it when I worked for English Heritage. On this, his first visit to the Wall, Ross was asked if he were connected with the local Lords of the Manor, and you need to read his post to find out the answer. He included some lovely pictures of the central section of the Wall in his post to tempt you too to visit.
Jane McIntyre wrote about the temptation of chocolate and her inspiration for a business idea: Chocolate emergency? Dial mine,mine, mine….. It’s something that I rarely crave – but even I was getting twitchy for at least a hot chocolate by halfway through her post!
I understand the addiction of gaining more knowledge, but not sure I understand the apparent addiction of spotting activity. Peter Olding wrote an interesting post, Spotting (Part 2), about plane spotting that explained a little of some of the level of knowledge required, and also about the plane spare parts market. I had come across planes-as-spare-parts when watching a tv programme about self-building houses.
Karl Green’s post about My Favourite YouTubers revealed a common subject matter between the YouTubers of video games music. I had not realised that this was A Thing for some people. I have always known that people had a thing about Daleks, however, and was delighted to see them mentioned in Chris Bolton’s post: “Failure is not an option…..” Daleks, the enforcers of Best Practice. I had also listened to the radio programme featuring Professor Dame Wendy Hall and heard her talking about the need for technology start ups to fail faster if they are going to fail, and though Chris’s post very appropriate for publishing on Ada Lovelace Day.
Finally, but by no means least, there was a very useful post from the inimitable Mr Slee: #OURDAY: Some tips for telling your story during a Twitter event. His advice is applicable to most sectors, of course – and I would particularly agree with and pick out the tip that images really are useful for attracting attention (have a look in our Useful Links for articles on creating and using images and videos).
If I missed your post, do tweet me about it. Thank you very much to everyone who contributed posts this week, and to all who Liked, commented, retweeted, and followed. It really makes a difference if you express your interest in or liking for people’s writing. If you want to start contributing posts, our About page tells you everything you probably need to know. If you would like to help look after Weekly Blog Club, there’s the Admin info page to tell you about what’s involved.
Nobody really wrote about design last week (the entirely optional theme), so that can remain as a theme this week, should you be looking for inspiration. Also, since it’s half-term in many or most places, I think, perhaps autumn holidays or days out could be another [entirely optional] theme.
Remember that pictures, video and audio can make good blog posts!
Summary of Week 41 posts
Clinical Care and the Financial Challenge – How do we Respond? by Mike Pratt on the dghealth (Dumfries & Galloway Health) blog.
When was the last time you really switched off and let your mind rest enough for the thoughts to stop whizzing round? Jane, an occupational therapist working in mental health services, writes about her experience of going on a yoga and meditation retreat, and the benefits of being quiet and away from modern distractions (such as social media) in a beautiful place.
There seemed to be quite a lot of challenges in Week 35′s posts. I failed the challenge of getting a post written, but Chris Bolton advised Learning from failure. The more it hurts the better you learn. I wish Chris luck on his next sea swimming challenge, but I wonder if it depends on a person’s personality or state of mind at the time of a failure as to whether they respond by learning from it. Some respond to failure by avoiding the thing another time.
I don’t think I’ve tried to swim in the sea since I was 5 or 6 (with armbands!), on holiday in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It was either the fear of getting stung by a jellyfish after seeing hundreds stranded on the beach one day, or the experience of a wave covering me and depositing seaweed on my face. I spent much time as a child at Welsh beaches. I still love the coast, and remain fascinated by the creatures that live there so Kate Bentham’s post A Welsh Walk caught my eye. She shared some pictures of an obviously happy seaside holiday (including of the strange-looking ray), after vividly evoking a past of kipper ties and pineapple hedgehogs that seems a world away to me even though I recognise it.
Phil Jewitt had travelled even further for his summer holiday this year, to the other side of the world. The occasional tweet had indicated that he was having an interesting and enjoyable time but I was delighted to see that he had found time to blog about it in A land down under (a reference to a 1981 song by Men at Work - you might want to listen to the song as you read). He shares lots of lovely photos of different aspects of Australia (including fabulous views from aeroplane windows, wonderful landscapes, shiny cityscapes, and cute little kookaburras). It really is a good read.
Another blogger quoting a song this week was Andrew Jacobs in I wished on them but they were only satellites. If you want to listen to it whilst reading Andrew’s post that gives news of the forthcoming #learncamp at the Royal Festival Hall, try a live and lively version of a young Billy Bragg singing his own song A New England, or what could be my favourite version by the late and great Kirsty MacColl. Don’t forget to read the post – you may find it really useful.
Louise Brown wrote about learning about teaching people in Testing understanding and not just facts. This is something that I have not spent much time thinking about although I have informally taught people for years, so I found it interesting to read her post. Please do share your experience and knowledge with her in the comments on her post.
Dyfrig Williams has been learning different approaches to social media and reflected on them in Personal use of social media on the Good Practice Exchange blog for his Week 35 blog. Meanwhile, back in Participation Cymru where Dyfrig used to work, Jon Birts introduced himself in Introducing our new administrator: Jon Birts. He told us he previously worked in Health and Social Care, and is interesed in the the idea of hearing views and opinions on how care and support should be delivered from those receiving it. Lovely to meet you, Jon, and we hope you enjoy your new job!
It was good to see Mark MacGregor, Associate Medical Director in NHS Ayrshire & Arran, writing for the AyrshireHealth blog again. This time he confessed to a liking of shines, but expressed a scepticism about how effective some new technology is for patients and whether it is value-for-money in Telehealth: so obvious it must be true. Objective evidence is a good thing, as long as there are decision-makers who understand the evidence.
Healthcare professional Heather Currie wrote about her observations of her father’s experience as an out-patient in An out-patient journey on the dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog. This is a post well worth reading, along with another one that will be included in next week’s summary. Hospitals remain rather scary places to those of us who don’t work in them, even those of us who have to visit them regularly enough to lose the initial fear of unfamiliarity.
It was also good to see Elaine Hunter, an AHP (Allied Health Professional) return to her blog. In Leadership: The Conversation Continues, she reported on and considered her experience of delivering the Dr Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture. She talked about leadership, the need to share, and asking people to share their key messages about leadership on Twitter. It was interesting to see how created an opportunity for collaborating with others in this way.
Karl Green seems to have got a lot out of working with others a year ago when he was one of the Gamesmakers at the Paralympics in London in 2012. He recounted his experiences of it in The Adventures of Gamesmaker Karl for Week 35.
Dan Slee also had sport on his mind this week in EXTRA COVER: 21 ways a cricket club can use Twitter (with lessons for organisations). If you don’t like cricket, you should still read Dan’s post (not least because Dan’s writing is always an enjoyable read) and you may find some tips on more useful ways of using social media for your work or voluntary group.
Finally, artist Louise Atkinson’s post this week for her Week 46 - Pretty Brutal Library and the politics of labour - is about some exhibitions she has visited recently that connect with her own work. I was quite fascinated by the concept she mentions of poetry that came from the Amazon Mechanical Turk, and the exploration of the ethics of artwork that uses workers who are exploited. I have had cause to think about this in the past, particularly in relation to the 19th century British social realist artists whose work helped to raise awareness of issues and situations affecting the poorest and most vulnerable in society.
I was too busy thinking about today’s community issues to write a blog myself for Week 35, but I did contribute several 130 character stories during the week on Twitter (look for @130story).
During this last week, someone unexpectedly tweeted something nice about me. It made me feel more cheerful instantly, especially since it was so unexpected. So my suggestions for the [totally optional] theme for Week 36 are unexpected nice things that have happened to you, or what you appreciate about one or more of the people you know. Kate Bentham has kindly offered to take over looking after Weekly Blog Club for Week 36. I am very grateful to her for doing this, and in her honour, I suggest another theme: cakes.
Thank you all for reading, writing, Liking, commenting and retweeting or otherwise passing on link to the blogs. This wouldn’t happen without you. I leave you in Kate’s very capable hands (and I know that we already have blogs in by new members Nic Davies Uley and Simon Harrington, and a very interesting one on dghealth, so we start the week off well).
Over to Kate…
Summary of Week 35 posts
We’ve had 10 contributions this week – thanks to everyone who’s blogged, read and liked the posts, as well as anyone who’s decided to follow the blog. It’s been great reading all your posts, and I highly recommend looking after Weekly Blog Club for a week – you get to read lots of people’s interesting thoughts and experiences, which is a great way to spend some time. If you’re interested in looking after the Weekly Blog Club, or even if you’re thinking about contributing a post for the first time, check out the About page.
After having a midweek discussion about Pinterest, I’ve decided to collate the posts using it this week. Hope you all like how your posts have been represented!
An (entirely optional) them for next week is doing things differently – have you changed the way your work or a habit you have?
The deadline for week 33 is mid-day on Thursday. Happy blogging everyone – it’s been a pleasure!
Diolch a hwyl,
Summary of Week 32 posts
- Sometimes its the little things …. by Stephanie Mottram of dghealth.
- The Further Adventures of Karl: God’s Existence – The Time Argument by Karl S. Green.
- Week 43: 8th – 14th July by Louise Atkinson.
- BREW EXPORT: 22 things I learned at two events with tea and cake by Dan Slee.
- Urban walk July 2013 by Janet E Davis.
- Integration – one year on by @garrycoutts.
- Bilingual facilitation – how can we be better? by Dyfrig Williams for the Good Practice Exchange.
- Do Mundane Things. Get Your Ideas Accepted by Working Behind Enemy Lines, and Don’t be a Martyr by What’s the PONT.
- Words by Mhairi Hastings for dghealth.
- Back to school? by Karen JK Hart.
It can be easy for us to miss beautiful things and places that are right on our doorstep when we see them every day. Fortunately Janet Davis has chronicled a walk in two different areas of her city, with a bus ride and short drive in the car in between. It’s well worth visiting her blog to see how the urban environment and nature mix in her lovely photographs.