Category Archives: national government

Looking forward, facing up, going on

I’m starting the Week 2 summary with the final contribution of that week. Mrs Malaprop and Mr Waugh, Karen Hart’s beautifully written post, is well worth a read. She has just lost her father and wrote about the arranging of the funeral, including a touch of affectionate humour created by her mother’s language traits. I think that the other Weekly Blog Club members would join me in offering condolences to Karen and her family.

Crabbit Old Woman by Gladys Haining is a moving post for the @dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog in which she looked at the way in which people with dementia were treated historically, how they are looked after now, and looking forward.

Mark Braggins looked back a bit but mostly looked forward in UKGovCamp – Looking Forward not Back, not just to this year’s UKGovCamp unconference but to how digital public services will look in the future. His concern that they will still be discussing the same thing in 5 or 10 years’ time is followed by the thought that this is only an event, and that “the challenges facing public services are huge, complex, persistent, and growing.”

Karl Green started to look forward in The Importance of Taking Breaks to his birthday near the end of the month when he finally takes a break, even from blogging.

Diane Murray tackled one of the tough issues in the public sector on the Ayrshirehealth blog this week: The power of “apology”. She looked at why “sorry seems to be the hardest word” in the National Health Service, and how it can be the best thing to say.

Phil Jewitt posed a challenge in his Facing up to our facts. What image do you use as an avatar? If it isn’t a recognisable picture of you, why not? There is a very interesting discussion in the comments. My avatar is a compromise with an image that is from a photo of me but I have cropped and altered the colours to make it a more stylised image. This is partly because I don’t like the way I look these days, but also because I don’t want to be recognised instantly.

Peter Olding hasn’t mind putting his face on national television on occasion. He follows up on his previous post this week in Best fans in the world (part 2), and considers media priorities, such as discrimination against train spotters versus an old pop star’s wife being pregnant, as well as AFC Bournemouth.

Carol Woolley is taking up a new instrument in her spare time. She has waited many years to play this instrument so I hope very much that she thoroughly enjoys Making more music… at last.

I wrote about Artist’s block for Week 2. I have been trying to break through it for several years and it’s becoming crucial that I do. I have set myself a deadline by when I must break that block. If – no, when – I do, my next problem will be where and how to get the work exhibited. I already have quite a few photos that I would like to exhibit but cannot afford to print, let alone frame. Whether I can even find the money to paint enough pictures to go into a joint show is another problem. Paints have become very expensive. But my first problem is breaking that block.

Art also gets a mention in Diane Sims’s post On the margins (not on the fence). Micro organisms and the edges where one thing comes up against or merges with another, such as sea and land, are the main focus of her post. Which are you? Someone who stands firmly in one field, sits on the fence, or waits ready for action in the margins?

Don’t wait to contribute posts to Week 3! You can join in with Weekly Blog Club at any time. Our About page tells you everything you probably need to know about contributing a post – and if you want some inspiration, look back at past posts, or tweet us to as for ideas. I won’t set an [entirely optional] theme* this week. If you lack inspiration for a post, tweet us and we will suggest a theme specially for you.

Thank you very much to all who contributed posts or support (commenting, Liking, following, and sharing posts) this week.

Have a good blogging week! The lovely Kate (‘Cake’) Bentham will be summarising next week – and I’m looking forward to reading her kind and wise words.


Janet E Davis

*Photos of or recipes for cake might go down well with Kate.

Summary of week 2 posts

UKGovCamp – Looking Forward not Back by Mark Braggins.

The Importance of Taking Breaks by Karl S Green.

Artist’s block by Janet E Davis.

Making more music… by Carol Woolley.

The power of “apology” by Diane Murray on the Ayrshirehealth blog.

Facing up to our facts by Phil Jewitt.

On the margins (not on the fence) by Diane Sims.

Best fans in the world (part 2) by Peter Olding.

Crabbit Old Woman by Gladys Haining - @gbhaining - on the @dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog.

Mrs Malaprop and Mr Waugh by Karen JK Hart.

Fighting talk, scrutiny, Spinal Tap, and the odd zombie

The themes that emerged in Week 50 included the importance of being local (heritage and networks), scrutiny, communicating in better ways, and how to do things.

Mark Braggins started the week by looking at some of the images of his county in the out-of-copyright images released by the British Library recently. He includes a few of the pictures in Images of Historic Hampshire – thanks to the British Library. It would be great to see other people blogging about images from this British Library collection on Flickr that relate to them, perhaps the area they live in or perhaps connecting with the history of their work or workplace.

Peter Olding ended the week with a post about more recent cultural heritage in his local area. I don’t want to give away the subject before you read the post, but the title gives a clue: I don’t believe it!

Karl Green considered the modern phenomenon of zombies and how to survive a zombie apocalypse in A Zombie Story. I begin to stock up on tinned food even as you read – just in case, you understand.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu inspired Ross Wigham’s post on the art of public relations in his Week 50 post The art of communications: fighting talk. Do read it – it’s relevant to any work, including voluntary. I’m particularly keen on points 4, 6 and 7. I have been shouted at more than once for refusing to be rushed into a hasty, ill-considered answer.

Howard Walker became a first-time contributor when he decided to respond to Ross’s post with taking inspiration from the Spinal Tap manager, Ian Faith, in 6 life lessons from a man of Faith. I enjoyed this. There is always room for rock and roll in Weekly Blog Club.

Reading Twitter, there are times when I think some people working in commercial PR and communications might benefit from reading John Cane’s Reading Comprehension. He gives a really interesting breakdown of how he gets students to understand what they are reading, and many adults would benefit from it. I still hesitate to use some words in speech because I have never or rarely heard anyone say them and remain uncertain about pronunciation.

Of course, there are far greater challenges facing those caring for older adult patients, including patients with dementia. Lynn McLaughlin is a Senior Charge Nurse and wrote about Turning a negative into a positive on the Ayrshirehealth blog. I look forward to reading more about Lynn’s work and what she and her colleagues do to improve standards of care further, especially in helping those with dementia and the people who look after them.

On the dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog this week, Professor Craig White wrote about Ten Things I Have Learned About Governance. Do read this. It might sound like a dry subject but it is concisely written, very readable, and applies to most work, not just health care.

Governance and scrutiny are key to good public services, and we had contributions from Wales and Ireland via Wales on scrutiny this week. Mandy at Participation Cymru considered how they can make scrutiny “sexy,” and how they can involve the public in being “scrutineers” in Scrutiny! scrutiny! scrutiny!. Shane Carton of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (the Irish National Audit Office) visited Wales to attend the Scrutiny in the Spotlight seminar and to learn about what the Welsh public sector does. I was interested to read that a highlight for him was a presentation on inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. Shane shared what he had learned from the day in Celtic Scrutiny – lessons shared across the Irish Sea on the  @GoodPracticeWAO blog, and made an interesting comment on how the seminar was bilingual.

Diane Sims was looking at communicating at a more local level in her post for Week 50: Local, Social, Networks. Have you thought about how you connect in your neighbourhood and how your neighbourhood connects with your local council? I will be re-reading and thinking about Diane’s post in the next few weeks as I look for inspiration on how communities can build networks that are inclusive (I’m currently the comms lead in a community group). Tell us about how your local social networks work – or how you think they could work better.

Finally for Week 50, we have Louise Atkinson’s Practice as research Week 56: Visiting the Do It 2013 exhibition post. The Do It 2013 exhibition was based on a concept first introduced by Hans Obrist Ulrich. I could argue that most art is about what the viewer brings to it as much, (sometimes more) than about what meaning the artist puts into it; and that the Do It 2013 type of participatory art is a more overt form of ‘audience’ and ‘artist’ interacting to form the pieces of art. The artist provides written instructions that can be interpreted in different ways. This is an alternative approach to the way in which artists in residence work, often giving form to the ideas that the local people have. Which produces the better art? Which would you prefer to do?

If you are thinking of blogging, Just Do It. We don’t provide instructions on how to blog (well, there is some advice, actually) but we do provide some support and encouragement, including a bit of help on how to set up a blog, if really necessary. However, we definitely provide guidelines on how to contribute to Weekly Blog Club on Our About page.

Thank you very much for contributing posts, and for tweeting, Liking, favouriting, and commenting on posts. It really does encourage people to write if you indicate that you enjoyed their posts.

I am still thinking about how we take things forward in 2014 – see my Week 42 summary Say hello, hug, say goodbye? and also Um… half our space is used up… – several people have commented and put forward ideas and we’re still interested in hearing from other members.


Janet E Davis

Summary of Week 50 posts

Images of Historic Hampshire – thanks to the British Library by Mark Braggins.

A Zombie Story by Karl S Green.

The art of communications: fighting talk by Ross Wigham.

Reading Comprehension by  John Cane.

Turning a negative into a positive by Lynn McLaughlin on the Ayrshirehealth blog.

Scrutiny! scrutiny! scrutiny! by Participation Cymru.

Celtic Scrutiny – lessons shared across the Irish Sea by Shane Carton on the  @GoodPracticeWAO blog.

Local, Social, Networks by Diane Sims.

6 life lessons from a man of Faith by Howard Walker.

Practice as research Week 56: Visiting the Do It 2013 exhibition by Louise Atkinson.

Ten Things I Have Learned About Governance by Craig White on the dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog.

I don’t believe it! by Peter Olding.

Trojan Horses are not Trojan Mice. 5 Questions to Spot the Difference

Chris Bolton is in sceptical mood as he considers Trojans that are horses, not mice in project terms (especially in the public sector). He provides advice on on how to tell a Trojan horse from a Trojan mouse. There’s also a photo of tumbleweed.

Trojan Horses are not Trojan Mice. 5 Questions to Spot the Difference by Chris Bolton.

Jargon busting

Dyfrig Williams writes about the training that he and his colleagues have had recently on the importance of understandable language in effective online communication, and where to find good guides to writing clearly such as Plain English and Cymraeg Clîr (Clear Welsh).

Jargon busting by Dyfrig Williams at the Good Practice Exchange at the Welsh Audit Office.

People that are close, places far away

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!


Janet E Davis

Summary of Week 37 posts

Failure* should be part of your CV (* = fast intelligent failure) by Chris Bolton.

My dad by Karl S Green.

I made it by Samuel-James Wilson.

Ladies drinking tea by Richard Overy.

Sokcho safari by Graham Budd.

It’s Been 28 Days Since I Used a Fork and Other Fun Facts by Rough Cat.

Autumn, winter, whatever by Rachel.

Introducing our new Training and Development Officer, Siobhan Hayward by Siobhan Hayward for Participation Cymru.

You don’t need to be a social media general to lead by Kenny McDonald.

Scrutiny in the spotlight: investing to maximise its impact by Huw Lloyd Jones.

Polishing Narcissus’s Mirror by John McGarva on the Ayrshirehealth blog.

Seeing things differently by Phil Jewitt.

My Crossfit Challenge: Dubai Fitness Championship, Here I Come! by Hannah Chia aka @SportingWag.

Why will paramedics be marching? by Joseph Conaghan.

Satellites, cricket, travel down under, and a ray in Wales.

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…


Janet E Davis

Summary of Week 35 posts

The Adventures of Gamesmaker Karl by Karl S Green.

Leadership: The Conversation Continues by Elaine Hunter.

A land down under by Phil Jewitt.

EXTRA COVER: 21 ways a cricket club can use Twitter (with lessons for organisations) by Dan Slee.

Telehealth: so obvious it must be true by Mark MacGregor on the AyrshireHealth blog.

Personal use of social media by Dyfrig Williams on the Good Practice Exchange blog.

Testing understanding and not just facts by Louise Brown.

Pretty Brutal Library and the politics of labour by Louise Atkinson.

Learning from failure. The more it hurts the better you learn by Chris Bolton.

An out-patient journey by Heather Currie on the dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog.

I wished on them but they were only satellites by Andrew Jacobs.

A Welsh Walk by Kate Bentham.

Introducing our new administrator: Jon Birts by Jon Birts on the Participation Cymru blog.

Time travel, rock stars and chilli peppers

Not so many posts for Week 34, but it was the week after the bank holiday and some of the regulars are busy travelling or getting back into the routine after travelling. And less posts mean that you have time to see or read all these wonderful posts – especially as three are pictures with very few words.

I regard myself as a Doctor Who fan (though I was not keen on Colin Baker, Peter Davison, or Sylvester McCoy as The Doctor) and have watched most series since I was a toddler – but I would be totally unable to tell you the names of episodes or what happened in the old ones . I couldn’t name all the types of aliens that have appeared, nor even the companions. Karl Green reveals himself to be a true Whovian in The Seven Doctors, in which he picks out his favourite episode from each of the first seven incarnations.

Chris Bolton looked to rock rather than television stars for his inspiration this week in Oblique Strategies – Random Disruption, Rock Stars and Innovation. You too can learn how to disrupt thought patterns to be creative like a rock star with the help of some cards (now also an app) invented by Brian Eno and visual artist Peter Schmidt. Chris has actually handled a set. For the past 3 years, I’ve wanted to hold a CreativeCamp to do some disruptive things and get people to do some creative things because I think people will learn different ways of thinking about things, and about working with others.

Of course, another way of disrupting one’s thinking about work is to bring in some people who are not part of that workplace but who need to use the services – and to listen carefully to them. In Community engagement: its time has come, Sandy Watson, Chair of the NHS Tayside Board and Chair of the Scottish NHS Board Chairs’ Group, wrote for the AyrshireHealth blog about not just paying lip service to the idea of community engagement but to change thinking. He wrote about the use of social media to communicate with people, and also about working with the public not just to steer the boat but also to build it together. It will be interesting to see what they achieve.

At the other end of the UK, Mark Braggins explained about the Hampshire Hub – a responsive approach on the Hampshire Hub Prototype Local Information System blog. He also asked questions about what people want. This should be an interesting post particularly for those involved with creating or using public sector websites. I started trying to get public websites made in a way that is now called “responsive” about a decade ago. I find myself still explaining the concept to people this year. And please note Mark’s point about browsers. For so many years, so many have been groaning in horror at having to try to make their websites accessible to those with Internet Explorer 6 (which included many public sector staff).

I have always been very much in favour of sharing examples of when things have worked well (or have failed to work) so that we can learn from each other, and not waste time and money on often scantly-resourced projects. Ena Lloyd’s post for the Good Practice Exchange this week, We are passionate about not re-inventing the wheel, interested me a lot. The desk hire idea is a good one, and something we are beginning to see in North East England.

Dan Slee is always sharing good ideas. This week it was 18 things the Ashes can tell you about digital communications. I still know nothing much about cricket though I did manage to recognise Viv Richards and Ian Botham in a nightclub in Newcastle one night. Mr Slee’s 18 things is very readable, in an enjoyable way and no matter how much you don’t know about cricket. Everybody who has to communicate in any way, especially using social media, should read this.

Rachel also wrote about sport this week, but she wrote about another sport that traditionally involves wearing white in A slice of tennis. It sounds as if her family had lots of fun, although I do hope her mother’s leg muscle mends quickly. She proved that you don’t need to spend lots of money to have a fun time playing sport with family and friends.

The people on the trip Round the Isle of Wight in a boat do not look as if they’re having fun in Richard Overy’s post about a vintage postcard that he found in a car boot sale. Richard’s blog has been featured in The Shropshire Star recently too:

Well done, Richard!

I was out creating my own pictures of a day trip recently. It was not a very successful trip but was redeemed by Some Tyneside street art. I do look out for street art in certain areas, and it had been a while since I had been to the CoMusica walls and arches behind the Sage Gateshead. If you go to an event at the Sage, do try to go early or get out at lunchtime to see the street art (painted with permission). We get artists from elsewhere in the UK and from other countries in Newcastle and Gateshead. I find myself increasingly wishing I could do some. It must be interesting to work on a large scale. I have only done large things for stage scenery in school productions when I was young.

Louise Brown’s vegetables have got well beyond the baby veggies stage, judging by her lovely photos in Harvest time – part 2, including some very fine peppers. Well done, Louise, on growing such a wonderful crop!

Thank you very much to all the contributors and readers this week. If I have left out any posts, just let us know on Twitter and I will include them in next week’s summary. I was going to suggest a beginning of autumn theme for Week 35 (I listened to September Song early on 1st September and have to admit to bursting into tears at the sadness of it), but then I saw the weather forecast predicting a return to warm weather for most of the week. Perhaps the [entirely optional] theme should be going back to school, or writing about your summer holidays?

If you want to contribute posts to Weekly Blog Club, there’s info on what to do (1st Rule of Weekly Blog Club is to talk and tweet about it), on our About page. If you want to help look after Weekly Blog Club, there is more info on what’s involved on the Admin info page (but we also do things differently sometimes).

Have a great week, whether or not it’s going-back-to-school/work week for you!


Janet E Davis

Summary of Week 34

The Seven Doctors by Karl S Green.

Hampshire Hub – a responsive approach by Mark Braggins on the Hampshire Hub Prototype Local Information System blog.

18 things the Ashes can tell you about digital communications by Dan Slee.

Round the Isle of Wight by Richard Overy.

A slice of tennis by Rachel.

Community engagement: its time has come by Sandy Watson on the Ayrshire Health.

Oblique Strategies – Random Disruption, Rock Stars and Innovation by Chris Bolton.

Harvest time – part 2 by Louise Brown.

We are passionate about not re-inventing the wheel by Ena Lloyd for the Good Practice Exchange.

Some Tyneside street art by Janet E Davis.

Well Done Andy

This week Peter Olding blogs about Andy Murray winning the men’s Wimbledon Tennis Championships, and the subsequent call from the Prime Minister for Andy to receive a knighthood for his achievements. Peter discusses the debate which followed this suggestion and questions if people were protesting against the proposal or the person suggesting it. Peter also sensitively looks at Andy’s childhood and the impact it would have had on him.

Well Done Andy. by Peter Olding

Hope, History and Guerilla Gardening

Hello lovely bloggers, it’s me Kate Bentham, sitting in the Weekly Blog Club hot seat this week, and phew isn’t hot! I bet it’s that hot it’s even giving Ross Wigham a break from the snow. I’m not complaining mind you, I like the sun. I like the ice creams. I like coming home from work and sitting in the garden. I like it that much it’s caused me to neglect you for a while. I’m sorry about that. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s not me, it’s the sun. Anyway it seems as if some of you haven’t been distracted by the garden or ice creams and still managed to find the time to blog. I’m impressed. Respect.

I want to start this summary with a blog on the Dumfries and Galloway Health Blog called Who is Molly Case…? The blog is written by Alice Wilson who an Associate Nurse Director and blogs about how the use of social media helped generate a buzz around a talk from Molly Case, a second year nurse student at the Royal College of Nursing Congress. Alice shares the clip of Molly’s talk – which I encourage you all to watch, it’s fantastic. Alice also blogs about how nursing may be changing but the fundamentals of caring still remain.

On the Ayrshire Health Blog, Claire Muir  share with us the work which is taking place to support people in Ayr in recovery from substance misuse. Claire blogs about the positive elements of Recovery Ayr and the impact this is having on the community and the professionals supporting individuals. Hope is in the Ayr  is an inspiring read.

We’re really pleased that Scottish Health Monthly  has been curating the Scottish health care blogs for 6 months now, congratulations of this impressive landmark. It also shows the size of the Scottish health care blogging community. In A magical montage  we look at the blogs posted during June.

Our congratulations also go to Samuel-James Wilson  who has been shortlisted for the Nector Business Awards in the Tradesperson Category. We’re really pleased for Samuel-James who is clearly a very talented, knowledgeable and skilled craftsperson. We look forward to finding out in September how he gets on.

In A PTLLS microteach on copyright for the classroom, Louise Brown  shares with us a session she planned and delivered as part of her ongoing PTLLS. This microteach session focused on licensing and copyright. Louise shares the activities she prepared and reflects back on how the session went.

In 5 Reasons Why Posters are a Great Knowledge Exchange Method, Chris Bolton shares with us his thoughts on posters, and why they shouldn’t be under estimated or over looked when it comes to not only conveying information to a wider audience but also to engage with staff. In POST RELEASE: What are you doing writing just press releases in 2013? Dan Slee blogs about the subject of press releases, their role in comms, and looks at the alternatives. In this post he also shares with us a table by Fred Godlash which sets out the reasons for writing a press release now, compared to 2007. Dan encourages us all to think print and digital.

This week Karl Green blogs about his name, and shares where it came from and how special it is to him, and how it is important to a person’s sense of identity. Karl does leave us guessing what the S may stand for. A Brief History of my Name

There are lots of preparations underway for Llama Rockette aka Rough Cat’s move South Korea. This week she has been having a massive to sort out at home. This has involved making several trips to the charity shops, and also a win win trip to a Cash 4 Clothes outlet. You can read all about it in the brilliantly titled One Man’s Doormat’s Another Man’s Pizza

The final post this week is someone else who has been distracted by the garden. Karen Hart blogs about her illegal stash of plant pots on the roof of her flat. Karen has been doing some Guerilla Gardening which not only helps to improve the environment but also the quality of life and well-being of this East End London Community, but don’t tell the ‘Officials’ they’ll only disapprove.

So, that’s your lot. Thank you to all of you who have submitted, shared and commented on the blogs we’ve had this week. If you want to have a go a writing a blog for week 28 then you can find out how on our About page.

If you want to have a go at being the Weekly Blog Club host and curator for a week, and let’s face it, why wouldn’t you, there’s an easy step by step guide on how to on our Admin info page. Go on, what have you got to lose?

I’m back again as your rubbish host for week 28, sorry about that. I’m going to be bold and say the summary will be ready on the Sunday, and not half way through the week after like this one is, that is unless I’m in the garden eating ice cream.

Take care and keep blogging.


Kate Bentham

Summary of Week 27 Posts

  1. Hope is in the Ayr by Claire Muir on the Ayrshire Health Blog
  2. A Brief History of my Name. by Karl Green
  3. 5 Reasons Why Posters are a Great Knowledge Exchange Method By Chris Bolton
  4. One Man’s Doormat’s Another Man’s Pizza By Llama Rockette aka Rough Cat
  5. A magical montage by Scottish Health Monthly 
  6. Nector Business Awards By Samuel-James Wilson 
  7. Who is Molly Case…? on the Dumfries and Galloway Health Blog
  8. POST RELEASE: What are you doing writing just press releases in 2013? by Dan Slee
  9. A PTLLS microteach on copyright for the classroom by Louise Brown
  10. Guerilla Gardening by Karen Hart

Warmth, compassion and new starts

After some variable and decidedly chilly weather in May, we seem to have started June with much sunnier weather and that was reflected in a few of the Week 22 contributions to Weekly Blog Club. There were also some tough topics tackled.

In a week when right wing groups and those demonstrating against them gathered on the streets in English cities, it was sad to read of issues regarding attitudes towards Indigenous Australians and of a specific incident in Australian football in Racism In Sport – Still A Long Way To Go by Trent Masenhelder on the @SportingWag blog. It was good to read that there was some positive outcome in the case of this particular incident.

Back in the UK, there was a lot of talk at the weekend about the 12th Doctor Who and whether he could be black and/or a she. Karl Green had been wondering about the possible extra Doctor Who? in a different way, before the news broke of Matt Smith’s departure later in the year. If you’re a fan of the series and have not yet seen the finale of the recent series, Karl’s post contains spoilers.

Although Doctor Who is a very hands-on sort of Time Lord, I wonder if some time spent on a community secondment might help his understanding of humanity? Chris Bolton wrote about a discussion he had on Twitter and a post by someone else in  If I ruled the world, all public sector senior managers would do a secondment in the community by @Jargonautical. What do you think? Would senior managers gain more understanding and compassion if they spent some time on hospital wards? Do people need regular experience of the front line work in order to understand the people there? Join in the discussion in the comments on Chris’s post.

Someone who knows all about the front line is Thomas Whitelaw and he shared his story  about his mother who has dementia and his role as her carer in My Filmed interview Mums story – part of the Patients story library acute services training. He makes some vivid visual points about the number of people with dementia and the number of their carers in Scotland.

On the Dumfries and Galloway Health blog this week, Dr Angus Cameron explained how  Guidelines in Medicine had been developed over the years to standardise and improve treatments. He writes about why he is unlikely to be invited to dine again with Members of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, and what he is concerned might start to influence the guidelines in the future.

The Dumfries and Galloway Health blog was inspired by the example set in Ayrshire by Derek Barron. This week, Derek wrote Ayrshirehealth Reviewed – a year of blogging. Happy birthday, Ayrshirehealth blog! When we first started receiving contributions from them, I did feel anxious about whether I would understand the posts well enough to do a micro summary post. Some weeks, I have had to read through a post more than a couple of times to understand some of the jargon, and sometimes the subject matter has been tough to read, but I have found each and every post well worth reading. It has been fascinating to understand a little more about the concepts behind approaches to care and management, and how the National Health Service for Scotland is changing. I feel  honoured that the Ayrshire health bloggers trust us with their posts, and admire how Derek has not only encouraged people to blog in his own area but has inspired others elsewhere. I know it’s not an easy think to do. I look forward to the next year of posts.

Sometimes, the health bloggers write about ways of doing things that are highly applicable to sectors other than health. Susan Hannah’s on the Ayrshire Health blog this week was a great example as she used an ancient Greek tale - A Warm and Sunny Lesson From Aesop - to show how a more collaborative approach to management can be more effective.

Richard Overy shared a wonderfully sunny picture of smiling people in Lady & gentleman at a windmill. The bicycles in the background suggested it was a leisure outing. Some people prefer to create their picturesque views at home. Samuel-James Wilson’s post this week described how he constructed a Folly/Garden Feature for a private garden. Graham Budd wrote about getting park rangers in his local authority involved in telling people about the work they do (including setting up new beehives) in A new reason to bee excited. He was so successful that they now want to contribute so regularly that they need their own blog.

Mark Braggins wrote about the proposed end of the Knowledge Hub that was set up for local authorities to use and share information and advice in Knowledge Hub: Good CoP or Bad CoP? He and others have been talking about what they can save and possibly doing things in a new way.

It was Out with the old and in with the new in Mark Wood’s post this week, as his work involved photographing the outgoing and incoming Mayors of Walsall at the formal ceremony, and then taking a set of photographs of the new year to be used as his publicity pictures for the year.

There was a surprise in Graham Budd’s second post of the week, hinted at in the title - Aloha: goodbye and hello: he is heading off to exotic parts to do a new job (I’m not telling you where or what because you should read about it in Graham’s own words). I’m sure that other Weekly Blog Club members and others who know Graham would want to join me in wishing him a very happy time in his new home and new job. I, for one, am already looking forward to his posts and really hope he will get into photo blogging because I want to see what his new environment looks like.

Karen Hart could probably do without the distraction of Graham’s pictures of his exotic new environment because she is a virtuoso at the gentle art of displacement activity. In fact, this week she had BAGs of displacement activity! I do hope she also managed to get the writing done by the deadline.

Finally, in a week of news of yet more protests elsewhere in the world, Louise Atkinson’s post, Practice as research [Week 33] Why art is not protest, seemed especially relevant. Louise considers art and protest, from the agitprop forms that began in the 1917 Russian Revolution to work by the world-famous British artist Banksy, and the Chinese artist, Ai Wei Wei.

We set the [entirely optional] theme last week as heroes/heroines and this could continue as a theme this week. You could write about your childhood heroes/heroines; how you relate to a particular, famous hero/heroine; or unsung heroes/heroines whom you think should be recognised. It’s also National Volunteer Week from 1st to 7th June, so it would be great to see posts about volunteering.

If I have left out anyone’s post, please do say. It is not always easy to keep track of which posts are to be included in a week when handing over from one host to another.

Thank you very much to all who contributed by writing, reading, liking, following or retweeting the Week 17 posts. If you are inspired to join the contributors, more about how to can be found on our About page. As Derek mentioned in his post, it is really helpful if you retweet posts via Twitter or post them as links on other social media channels you use.

Help with looking after Weekly Blog Club is always welcome. It does take some time, but those who try it have found it rewarding. The people who contribute posts here are lovely.

Have a wonderful week.


Janet E Davis

Summary of Week 22 posts

Guidelines in Medicine by Dr Angus Cameron on the Dumfries and Galloway Health blog.

A new reason to bee excited by Graham Budd.

A Warm and Sunny Lesson From Aesop by Susan Hannah on the Ayrshire Health blog.

Doctor Who? by Karl S Green.

Aloha: goodbye and hello by Graham Budd.

Folly/Garden Feature by Samuel-James Wilson.

Knowledge Hub: Good CoP or Bad CoP? by Mark Braggins.

My Filmed interview Mums story – part of the Patients story library acute services training by Thomas Whitelaw.

Practice as research [Week 33] Why art is not protest by Louise Atkinson.

Ayrshirehealth Reviewed – a year of blogging by Derek Barron on the Ayrshire Health blog.

If I ruled the world, all public sector senior managers would do a secondment in the community by @Jargonautical by Chris Bolton.

Out with the old and in with the new by Mark Wood.

Racism In Sport – Still A Long Way To Go by Trent Masenhelder on the @SportingWag blog.

BAGs of displacement activity by Karen JK Hart.

Lady & gentleman at a windmill by Richard Overy.