Weeknotes S5 Ep7

A cartoon parrot writing notes.

Before I begin…

Hi hi. How are you? I hope you are OK and looking forward to the Christmas break. I told you this would rattle around quickly and I bet you still have lots of shopping to do, don’t you? Yeah. We all do.

I had some time off and away from weeknotes. Two whole weeks! It was nice. I backed out of Twitter for a bit too and although I felt weirdly lonely the world didn’t collapse around me. I travelled to Bristol to see my friends, eat lovely food and meet their new three legged cat, Marmaduke. He was cool, and seeing my friends was really soul reviving.

I also had a short but very sweet (cinnamon bun-based) breakfast at a cafe at Temple Meads with wonderful weeknoter Louise.

I had some new windows fitted in my house, and I really leaned in to the school run, like a proper grown up.

I am an adult

I also played a lot of Pokemon, which is less grown up, but it’s all about balance.

Oh Eevee, you total cutie.

I’m calling this S5 Ep7 And keeping it a continuation despite the two week break because we have Christmas coming up and it didn’t seem right to start a new series and then go off again.

However this could easily be a new series, and in another world I would have made it a Brand new series, because on Monday I started my new role at MHCLG!

New Job notes

I’ve found moving between roles in the Civil Service really strange because I’ve already had a baseline of knowledge and I’ve known some people already, so it doesn’t really feel like a new role as much as the same me in a new place.

Does that make sense? It feels good.

I’m only a week into my new role and I only work a three day week, so I don’t have any huge insights to offer yet. What I do have are a load of initial thoughts about how things have gone so far…

1. Delivering inclusion

I’ve been so grateful this week for Rich, our delivery manager, and it’s really brought home how just how valuable it is to have a team member who is so focused on inclusion and gaining consensus in workshops and meetings.

Rich makes it look easy, I know for a fact that it is not easy. I’m looking forward to working more with Rich.

I’ve also been really pleasantly surprised at how quickly I’ve felt included.

When I arrived at 9.30 on Monday I immediately found myself in a standup, and once I’d got my kit it was easy to book in meetings and other sessions with people. I’ve joined in show and tells and a retro, And had other chats and meetings too.

I spent my first two days pretty much back to back and although that would be suboptimal to many people it’s been very useful for me as a starter.

It’s easy to see that I will soon start delivering value which is motivating, though it is also slightly daunting because I also need to remember that I’m new and make sure I still make time to listen, learn and reflect.

There were also a few induction things that have really helped me:

  • A Trello induction board with loads of pointers split down to first week, first month etc
  • An end of first day and end of first week catch up with Rich.
  • Mandated coffees with team members to talk about the work (yay chats).
  • A building tour.

2. Air to Surface (not Surface to Air)

I have exclusively used a Mac for the past five years and now have a Microsoft Surface laptop. It’s a relatively nice piece of hardwear and it’s lighter than my most recent MacBook Air…

But! I’m really struggling with a couple of things; the size of the keyboard is a tiny bit smaller and it’s throwing my touchtyping out of whack. I also didn’t realise how much I rely on certain keyboard shortcuts, and some keys are in different places.

I’m struggling to remember to right-click and I can see why people would be more likely to use a mouse with a windows machine. I haven’t used a mouse in years…


I’m being curmudgeonly and I need to get my brain to stop being so frustrated by things being a tiny bit more difficult. It could be a whole lot worse, at least I have a nice new laptop.

3. Shadows

Our team use Google GSuite despite this being different to the system currently in use across the rest of the dept, so I have two email addresses. Still, I’m happy about this because it means I can use Google Mail which I’ve previously used at Cabinet Office and GDS, so I don’t have another IT thing to learn.

4. People

I randomly spent lunch with Paul and Rebecca on Tuesday which was lovely.

I also discovered that my team run a weekly playlist competition where everyone anonymously submits a song relating to a theme. Then, everyone guesses who made the selection, they all get scored and the winner wins… what? Glory probably.

Anyway, playlists are something I can definitely get on board with. Playlists as a way of getting to know my team seems like an excellent idea.

So I’ve made my submission this week on the theme of Happy/Smiling which has meant that my weeknotes playlist is also very happy-heavy .

I’ve had to remove my actual selection for work though lest I give the game away.

But perhaps you can have a guess at what I would have chosen…

What else happened?

On Wednesday I went to One Team Gov breakfast and I made some notes:

We also had a lovely One Team Christmas lunch in the DfE canteen. And I saw Morgan and Jenny for the first time in what felt like ages, which was lovely.

So much food!

Other stuff

I quite enjoy watching BBC Four documentaries about art and design. The latest I watched was Secrets of British Animation (below) which I really enjoyed.


Most of these one-off documentaries tend to only scratch the surface but for a non-expert they’re always a pretty good start and I like them. I really liked how this one framed animation as being at the “slightly weird end of the design spectrum”.

I also read this articul on Man Repeller:


My new team announced the first projects that they will be funding this week so I read this blog about that…

I got a copy of Pete Fowler’s book Decades of Lead which he crowdfunded and I was a backer. It means I got it early and my name is in the back. It’s also a great tour through his sketchbooks from all the way back in the 90s…

I think it’s going on general sale soon, so you’ll find it here:


I also spent some time re-familiarising myself with International Art English after I saw that people in Margate are planning to rewrite all of the Turner Contemporary’s press releases in plain English so that people can understand them…

And finally I’m currently reading this article about Transphobia on Mumsnet… depressing stuff.


And that’s it. Here’s my playlist for the week. As I mentioned it’s mostly “Happy” songs but there are a few at the beginning that I started putting in there before I’d started selecting the happy songs. The Cass McCombs track is particularly lovely.


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