In my role as the mouthy one of (which is subtly different from spokesperson for...) the community in DoES Liverpool, I often end up in strategy meetings, "cluster groups", etc. and also sought out by people from support organisations and elsewhere who want to get to know the community.
Many, many of these meetings are inspiring and energising - I love the ones where a "quick 10am meeting" is interrupted by us suddenly realising it's now lunchtime as there's been so much to discuss and explore (although the work side of my brain is usually also cursing how much work time I've lost); but similarly some are energy-sapping as I wonder why no-one else seems to notice that the gathering is never likely to achieve anything.
Because this tends to be the voluntary work of running DoES rather than work that earns me a living, it's tended to be quite reactive rather than proactive. The problem with that is that it's easy for all of my time-for-meeting-interesting people then gets taken up by other people who want to talk to me, rather than people that I think I should be talking to.
Pondering on this of late, I've decided to change it.
So, I'm aiming (as an incentive to action, rather than as a hard-and-fast goal) to make time for at least one meeting each month with someone that I think is useful for me to connect with. With the accompanying acceptance that it'll mean I won't have time to meet someone else who wants to meet me instead. An acceptance that my time is finite, and hopefully the value gained from the meetings I do have will outweigh the value we lose from the ones that I miss.
At present, I think that's going to start with looking for other people doing interesting work elsewhere in the city, and people who are also good at connecting up good and interesting projects. Trying a little to connect the connectors.
Over the past few months I've been getting out on my bike lots more than I used to (at least, since I lived in Cambridge and my commute was far enough to warrant it every day).
I'd already found some good routes along the river South of the city centre, and through the Southern parks but have been seeking out some alternatives too. I've now added some regular rides out to the North - through the parks, along the loop-line, and the canal and dock road. There's a lovely variety to be had - parkland, brick terraces, industry, countryside and docklands.
It's coincided with me getting a new phone with a decent camera, and an Instagram account. As a result I decided to start recording each ride with a photo (or short video). Not for any particular reason, but there are often nice or interesting things to see, so it wasn't much of a leap to take a photo on every ride.
There's only one photo each time, to force me (arbitrarily) to think about what I'm going to photograph, but also one photo each ride, which also forces me to pay even more attention in order to find something. Especially when I'm riding the same route regularly.
I'm tagging all my out-for-a-ride Instagrams with the hashtag #inthesaddle, but sadly Instagram don't appear to have a very good search facility, so I can't point you at anything better than my Instagram feed - @amcewen_.
Tim Bray has had the same idea too, although he's using the #Bike2WorkPix hashtag, and as I'm not always biking to or from work I'm not using that one.
The photos are far from all being worth sharing, but here are a few of the nicer ones...