Baskers World

Frustrations, Fun and Feelings


Has it really been half a month since I updated this? I guess it has. I guess I’ve been rather busy. I guess I haven’t really had a lot of free time, because actually I haven’t. It’s been a couple of weeks of fun, frustrations, loud shouty meetings, drinks, travel, trains and being honest a lot of it has kind of blurred into one great big wibbly wobbly ball of randomness that is my life.

So in this randomness I’m going to try and make some sense of it all, and to do that I consult;

  • My work Blackberry
  • Photo’s and random texts on my iPhone

Which actually is rather quite useful because it’s a good way of marking time and I’m crap at remembering things. And low and behold I can start piecing back the last couple of weeks relatively easy. Yup. I’ve been busy. So lets get this thing kicked off.

1st Week of Feb

Five things made the highlights this week

  • Drinks and the Smoke Faries
  • Meeting up with Comms to debrief on UKGov Camp
  • My very first Teacamp
  • Lunch with an old Team Member David
  • And a trip to Lincolnshire to meet up with Stuart

So sets start with the Smoke Faries . Work for once, wasn’t too bad. Monday is usually spent catching up on all the priorities for the week with my Team Leaders meeting and my separate team meeting, setting out the agenda for the week, various deadlines and what needed to be delivered. After all of that is taken care of it’s time to head across to Eland House

To pick Tim up and travel up to Camino’s for some munchy tapas at Kings Cross before we wander up to the Lexington to pick up the tickets I’d booked online for a gig that I had no idea who was playing, what they sounded like, what they looked like, who the support acts were or if indeed they were any good?!

Ah… the strange things that we do at times.

So, after we’d eaten and went to the pub, there were no tickets to collect because they would rather dab a great big ink stain on your hand for proof of entry. Bollocks.

They always say that these ink stains will wash off easily. No bloody way do they do. I had ‘The Lexington’ stamped on my hand for days. It took forever and a lot of scrubbing to get the damn thing off!

Now the gig… well… that was ‘different’.

Very different.

I can’t remember who the first support act was, but suffice to say she was easily forgettable. A girl with a guitar singing about her crappy life. Well, newsflash lassie. Move out of your parents house and get some real problems to sing about.


Possibly. But you weren’t listening to it. I was.

Now, the next support act.

Uhm…. I have never seen anything like that before. It was a;

  • Bloke
  • with a piano
  • a overhead projector (like the kind you got at school)
  • a puppeteer who was changing the slides to the music
  • Singing about a ‘Flyboy’… half fly, half boy…..

Mathew Robins was the guys same;

And being honest… I kinda liked the quirkyness of it all. It was a not bad set, I think we both liked it. A vast improvement on the 1st support act.

So, moving onto the headlining act.

The Smoke Fairies.

They had a couple of good numbers, sort of Folks/Blues…. but after a while it all seemed a bit samey… I did buy a couple of CDs which I have to admit that I still haven’t listened too yet but I’ll get round to it.

The next day…

Oh the head was hurting, the hand still had the ink stamp on it but it was a well deserved sore head. I’d forgotten that I was supposed to be debriefing our Communications Division on my stint at UKGov camp….. with a sore head.

Was I expecting more?

Yes. Of course I was expecting more. I understand that the very nature of the Civil Service is to avoid risk, to avoid anything that might be construed as being engaged or listening… *sighs*

Slowly, central Gov is coming to terms with Social Networking. But it’s a slow and cautious approach, and I suspect across most other Central Government Departments it’s all external looking and not looking to address the dire situation that our own internal comms is in.  That’s just my opinion/observation it might not necessarily be the case as I only interact with a certain cross section of people across Gov and freely admit to not being exposed to the bigger picture.

Whilst we are moving in the right direction, it’s still too slow. The whole world is changing around us in how we communicate, in how the younger generation are communicating – most access the internet through their mobile phones, not computers and here we are in Government posting large bulky PDF consultation documents onto websites that haven’t been optimised for the mobile.

It probably hasn’t even occurred that this is an issue, and it probably never will.

But at least it’s a start.

I think that we are beginning to realise that Web 2.0 isn’t going away, Social Media isn’t going away, Social Networking isn’t going away and somehow we have to start tackling that. We have to start ‘listening’, and engaging.

Of course I’d like us to be moving faster, and doing more, but as has been said to me many a time ‘Baby Steps’. There’s nerves here, it’s new, it’s interactive, you can’t control it, it’s almost realtime, it generates conversations, it generates controversy, it doesn’t require rules and regulations – everything that the traditional Civil Service isn’t. So, we are gingerly dipping our toe in the water, and I’ve been asked to sit on my Departments Social Media Group to help shape the Depts Social Media policy and advise on how we take things forward…… and I’m all for shoving the rest of us into the bath. But perhaps an inch at a time….  🙂

Who know’s what the election will bring? Are we going to face an election Obama style? Where there was a big push through Social Networking to get the politicians message across to people that didn’t normally engage in the political process. Could this same enthusiasm filter through into Policy decisions in the next Government? Into the very operational model of the Civil Service?

I guess it’s just a case of watch this space for now.

Wednesday came and went, and suddenly I find myself well into Thursday.

And to be honest, a little bit down after the comms discussion and frustrated at the slowness of change, but all that soon fell by the wayside when I joined other digital people from across Government at #teacamp, at Cafe Zest in the Army & Navy shop in Victoria.

A lot of people from UKGov camp were there, which was fantastic to see, all that enthusiasm bubbling away about wanting to see change happen and it’s a great place to swap ideas around, talking about problems and issues we are facing.

Oh for the joys of simple communication!

I’m feeling a tad bit more enthused now. Roll on the next teacamp! 🙂

At some point during the week I did manage to meet up with David T

Who used to work in my team developing and maintaining our Corporate Infocube in SAP Business Warehouse. We had a lovely lunch, David was surrounded by Karen, Kate, Allison and myself which I think he rather enjoyed! But it was good to catch up and it was such a shame that I had to let him go from the team 😦

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

It’s a weekend up Lincoln to meet up with Stuart! And I would write all about it, but why bother when Stuart already has!

Sitting on his parents sofa before the trip back to London

Suffice to say it was a great weekend, great to finally meet up and fantastic to chew the fat over several glasses of wine, whisky, brandy and tasty food.

I’ll be heading back there at some point 🙂

Last Week

Highlights are;

  • Drinks with Anna on Tuesday
  • Drinks with Treasury(Nilesh) on Wednesday
  • Dying on Thursday
  • Drinks & the pictures on Friday
  • Drinks & Rugby on Saturday
  • Recovering on Sunday


I’m rather tired, the weekend festivities I guess have tired me out. But hey, it was fun 🙂 Work is survived, and it’s a  quick couple of drinks with Tim and relatively early night cause I’m beat.


It’s Karen’s last day in the office as she’s off to Florida for a couple of weeks. Damn lucky thing! So it’s just sorting through things during the morning, getting everything wrapped up before we all head to the PCS Union meeting

about the changes to the Civil service compensation scheme and about a looming strike should members vote yes for Strike action.  Given what I heard at the talk, and the amount of passion in the room about these matters I can very well see a large proportion of the Civil Service out on strike, and I might be one of them.

Unfortunately the union meeting over ran, making me late for the MI Board meeting but luckily I was able to catch up fairly quickly and I do have nagging doubts in the back of my mind about how MI, Shared Services etc all fit in with the Government ICT Strategy…. but I guess with most things in Government, we are all holding our breath to see what happens after the General Election.

I had got dragged into yet another MI meeting which was due to run until 5:30, which normally wouldn’t be a problem but unusually this time Anna had left work early and wanted  meet up in Victoria, so I have to make my apologies and dash off to the Brass Monkey to find Anna there with her laptop out, working away with a large glass of wine by her side.


A bottle of wine later, it’s homeward bound and for some serious zzzzzzz’s.


It’s amazing. I manage to have a whole day without *any* meetings what so ever. And more importantly I manage to pile through a shed load of work and e-mails. Yay me!

Oops, I tell a lie. There was one meeting, but it was more of a networking thing. Our Spending Team in Treasury wanted to meet up for drinks (late postponed Christmas drinks) in St Stephen’s Tavern next to Big Ben, and opposite the Treasury.

Drinks with them only ends in one thing.


A bloody stonking sore head the next day.

Oh my head hurt like hell. And boy was I going to pay for it today, because I’m straight into a 3 and half hour meeting where people argued with very loud voices constantly. There was a lot of shouting at one another and not a lot of listening.  This upset me greatly. We need to work together, listen and understand. Not shout and talk *at* one another.

I was sick fed up by the time it had finished. I *never* want to go through a meeting like that again. Steve & I were so annoyed and upset off we needed to let off some steam after enduring that and nipped to the Royal Oak for a quick couple. Even with my hangover, I just needed to get out of the office or I would scream.  The nerves needed soothing after that marathon session.

Once back in the office I’m still upset and quietly fuming to have experienced that. I try and concentrate on the remainder of tasks to be done but it’s difficult and I can’t quite get the sense of frustration and failure out of my mind that eventually I had enough of all it and had to leave. I’d pop over to Eland house to meet up with Tim for a couple of drinks to calm down and shuffled off home. Tired, annoyed, and so needing to sleep.


It’s yet another meeting, but at least this time it isn’t in a room of 18 people shouting at one another. It’s only 6-7 of us and we do manage to work through the costings more easily and start seeing some direction to follow.

I pop over to the Marquis with Allison & Kate for lunch (Scampie & Chips) which helps settle me down as on my return to the office I need to get my head around a few things and figure out how to draft the issues raised at yesterdays disastrous MI meeting. Once that’s finally out of the way, and another quick briefing on the UKGov ICT Strategy it’s off up to the West End to Ed’s Diner with Tim for

a quick snack before we head to the cinema to watch Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Not that I’m a big Ian Dury fan but the movie was ok. Not shite, not fantastic, but a decent enough movie to watch.


Urgh…  I watched the Rugby yesterday down the pub with Jay.

I cant even bring myself to talk about Scotland’s suicide on the pitch. I just can’t. I just can’t go over that again.

Great time with Jay, sufficient beerage, and no more talk about the Rugby.


Jay had crashed over as he’s never been to a part of London that didn’t have a Tube station and would have easily gotten lost last night if he attempted to travel back home! I send him homewards after a pint of juice and I settle down to catching up on e-mails, TV programs that I’d recorded, and sorting out the blog.

I should really start doing a lot of domestics as well but just can’t seem to get motivated……

This entry was published on February 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm. It’s filed under Alcohol, Civil Service, Government, Management Information, Project Management, Social Networking, Strategy, Transport and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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