Changing Plans

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While Steph and I were in London she mentioned that she was a planner, this was in the context of her judgement that I was very ‘laid back’ and adaptable to change.  The same topic came up with Debbie a few days later who’s also a ‘planner’.  The implication from both conversations was that they were planners and I wasn’t which is very far from the truth.  In actual fact I’m a strategic planner and they’re not.  A strategic planner looks at many scenarios, assesses them all, chooses the scenario that best balances the objectives against the resilience to uncertainty, but keeps other scenarios available just in case.  In practice this means that I have a plan, but I anticipate and am adaptable to change.  In my view this is the only type of planning that is worth doing in the real-world where uncertainty is normally rife.  At it’s simplest this might mean, looking at the weather forecast, deciding that it’s unlikely to rain, but still packing a very light weight jacket just in case. 

My plan for today was torn up last night, we were meant to be going on a family hike followed by a family evening meal, the hike was a vehicle for Steph to get to know Lewis (Tessa’s boyfriend).  Tess however was too tired for a hike, so we had a family breakfast instead, Steph still wanted to got for a hike so the two of us went to Rivington, Tess had to work over dinner so Steph and Lewis went out for, getting to know you, meal and Deb and I ability to execute alone (actually I just had a smoothie).  Everything turned out just fine in the end, all objectives met, several alternative scenarios used, no stress.

It was great to be back in St Annes after almost two weeks away, back to walking along the sea-front and leisurely mornings in Caffe Nero, pottering around the garden and reading.  Unfortunately that wasn’t quite the case today as I had to cut short the Caffe Nero time to have a lovely family breakfast and then immediately set off for a walk. 

The walk with Steph involved lot’s of wide ranging, animated, discussion.  The most vigorous topic involved us both evangelising our respective personal productivity and personal knowledge management systems to each other.  I’m a fan of Evernote, she’s a fan of Microsoft Word etc. etc., of course there is no best work style, everyone is different, but we both have very refined systems optimised over time, neither of us is likely to change!

Steph is leaving the country on Monday and heading for the Netherlands, but we are taking her to Manchester airport tomorrow, she’s staying at The Hilton, which is a treat for her, as her flight is at 4am.  Each time she leaves it gets easier for me, in part because social media keeps us, ever better, in touch and also because I’m more confident in her resilience (and mine) to cope being away from home.  This time is particularly easy for me because in a month I’m going to be seeing her in Amsterdam and then she’s coming back for Christmas. 

I made the tough decision to give her my ‘new’ ThinkPad x230, which is a nicely spec’d machine to replace her ageing x220, which despite the numbering is two generations older.  She needs long battery life and good power for her graphical information systems work.  She will also be taking a spare machine with her, when you’re in another country spares are essential.  That’s left me with a difficult decision though, buy something new and shiny, use her old machine or replace the x230.  In the end eBay provided a bargain that was too good to miss, a new x240 that’s an un-used return machine, if it’s actually the claimed spec then it should be sweet!  It’s not as fast as my old machine, but for my modest needs it’s ok and it was half price, not half price of new, but half price of the refurbished price!  Less than a quarter of the price that a new x250 (almost the same spec) is going for.  It seems then that I will be rebuilding two laptops next week, creating a family spare from the x220 (Deb and Jen use x220’s) and setting up a new PC for me, both will be running Windows 10.

It was a sad day in the garden today, a months worth of Kale was cut down and consigned to the recycle bin, because it had developed powdery mildew while we were away, the result of me planting too close together and the damp weather, still I might save some of the plants.  I’m also lucky that I have lots of alternative greens that are still fine as there are several different types of mildew that affect different varieties of kale and other brassicas.

Anyway that’s my day, it’s time for some TV time with Debbie before reading in the bath.

The photo for today’s post was from today’s walk around the Rivington reservoir system.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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