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.
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.
In 2011, Dan Slee was part of the team at Walsall Council that was the first in the UK to tell people what a council did across 24 hours, in real time on Twitter (I remember it well). He gives some really useful tips for live tweeting such an event, which also are good advice for getting across what a council (or other public or third sector organisation) does – and gives some ideas about the benefits.
A super blog this week from Georgia Parker as she shares with us some wonderful photos and up close encounters of hummingbirds. Georgia has been observing these curious little birds as they visit and seemingly flaunt themselves in front of her.
My apologies for the delay in the Week 37 summary due to catastrophic laptop failure, resulting eventually in having to replace the hard drive (and losing some files from the last couple of months since it last broke down when I had to lose quite a few files when erasing the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system was tried).
Chris Bolton’s Week 37 post was, coincidentally, about how Failure* should be part of your CV (* = fast intelligent failure). This was a very good post for me to read. I am happy to share what didn’t happen to work on a project (though am usually constrained by more senior management), but I fear and hate personal failure. At times when I feel I’ve failed, I would love to go for a brisk walk (something I cannot do currently) as Rachel did in Autumn, winter, whatever. I remember an occasion years ago, when striding along the Newcastle Quayside in the rain in winter, listening to Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe on my Sony Walkman, my black coat swirling in the wind, feeling that same feeling that Rachel describes.
I admire those who take on physical challenges such as Hannah Chia is tackling and told us about in My Crossfit Challenge: Dubai Fitness Championship, Here I Come! If you have read Hannah’s blog before, you’ll know she has always preferred getting dressed up to watch sport rather than participating so this will not be an easy challenge for her.
Paramedics face challenges every day as part of their work. Joseph Conaghan wrote about a few of them would be joining a big march in support of the NHS and to protest outside the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Sunday 29th September in Why will paramedics be marching?
John McGarva, in his post for Ayrshirehealth, considered the importance of reflective practice in quality improvements in the NHS. He wrote about the need to remember to focus on the patient, from the micro level of individuals, to institutions and groups of institutions at the middle level, and country as the macro level. The title of his post – Polishing Narcissus’s Mirror - conjures up the warning tale from Classical mythology of Narcissus so in love with his own reflection that he is aware of nothing else.
Public sector standards and improving effective communication between local councils and citizens were the focus of Huw Lloyd Jones’s blog - Scrutiny in the spotlight: investing to maximise its impact - on the Good Practice Exchange at Wales Audit Office blog. Having been encouraged to tweet, he has looked at how six local councils are using Twitter and saw its potential.
Kenny McDonald considered public sector use of social media in Scotland in You don’t need to be a social media general to lead, his account of his experience at ScotGovCamp 2013, his first experience of an unconference. I was glad to hear that he had met Dan Slee (one of Weekly Blog Club’s founders), and enjoyed Carolyne Mitchell‘s cakes.
I was interested that Kenny thinks that it will take as long as 5 to 10 years for “social media to be proficiently relied on in the public sector in Scotland and for staff to be trusted with it.” About three years ago, I was helped at a couple of workshops to help cultural institutions in England to overcome barriers to using Web 2.0 tools, including social media. Very few of them were on Twitter then, and saw it as difficult to start. The increase in museums, galleries, archives, and libraries using Twitter has been phenomenal in the past couple of years (so what we were doing three years ago possibly helped). I have also seen how attitudes in local councils in England have changed over the past four years so that it now seems normal for them to have some sort of online presence. The fact that social media channels are regularly mentioned on television and are used by newspapers has probably helped to see them as more normal communication channels.
I am sure that Siobhan Hayward will help people to learn how to communicate in her new role at Participation Cymru as a new Training and Development Officer. Siobhan wrote a blog to introduce herself: Introducing our new Training and Development Officer, Siobhan Hayward. We hope that she enjoys her work there and will blog with us again.
Samuel-James Wilson has moved well beyond the UK for his next job. He has moved all the way to Australia, and has made time to give us an update in this big change in his life: I made it. He includes lovely pictures of where he has visited so far, and the news that his blog is up for an award.
One of our other regular bloggers, Phil Jewitt, visited Australia for the first time this summer (or winter from an Australian perspective) and found he was Seeing things differently as a result. Do read his blog and think about his revelation. How do you see your world, and what do you take for granted that those visiting it or new to it might not regard as normal?
I was delighted to hear from two of our other bloggers who have gone to a distant land with a different culture. Graham Budd wrote Sokcho safari - an introduction to where they are, with some great images. Rough Cat started with an observation of a practical difference: It’s Been 28 Days Since I Used a Fork and Other Fun Facts, and shared some more great photos (including squid drying on a washing line) plus a word picture of a dog wearing make up.
It sounds as if all our emigrated bloggers are having a great time, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about their new lives and seeing more photos of places I’ll never visit myself. The British have long been fascinated with the Orient. It is hard to tell from Richard Overy’s vintage picture this week, Ladies drinking tea, where the photo was taken but it looks decidedly oriental in style of building as well as clothes. I wonder if the ladies were visiting or lived in the Far East? It is an intriguing image.
Finally, Karl Green’s post for Week 37, simply entitled My dad, was a moving one to commemorate what would have been his father’s 70th birthday. His dad certainly did an unusual and interesting range of work during his life, and Karl’s pride in and love for him comes through so clearly in his post. It reminds us that we should always appreciate the people in our lives whilst they are here, with us.
Thank you very much to all who read, appreciated and shared the Week 37 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. I always find it fascinating to read blogs by new contributors, and look forward to those by names and faces that have become familiar. Do join in!
Summary of Week 37 posts
Introducing our new Training and Development Officer, Siobhan Hayward by Siobhan Hayward for Participation Cymru.
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.
I have tried an audio summary (for the first time) of the Week 30 posts. Apologies for the rather stilted, self-conscious delivery!
Thanks very much to Louise Brown for helping me by doing the list of the Week 30 posts, and for covering Week 31.
Normal service should be resumed soon.
Janet E Davis
Summary of Week 30 posts
- The magical world of podcasts by Dyfrig Williams on the Good Practice Exchange blog.
- Dudley Council social media use celebrated in White Paper by Lorna Prescott
- Why I write by Karl Green
- Using historic images in social media by Matt Murray
- You are the message by Ross Wigham
- Bouncing back by Billy McClean for Ayreshire Health
- A peek around the path labs by Kathryn Graham
- Nun in garden by Richard Overy
- Turning Social Media ON in NHS Wales by Joseph Conaghan
- Continuous Improvement – why it matters to Squeeze the Pips, Release Trojan Mice and Win Small by Chris Bolton
- A garden of words by Janet E Davis
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