2017 Retrospective

Better late than never. My retrospective on 2017 which I'm aiming to do each year. Read last year's post 2016. 2015 (fail). Read 2014.

This is a late retro of the year. I was planning to write it but 6 monthes have flown by. Oh no. Memorable moments were visiting Krakov and Auschwitz. It is difficult to describe in the words the feeling of visiting the actual places where events of such gravity took place.


I started doing Crossfit in February. Crossfit is a mixture of different activities including weight and strength work but also plenty of cardio, usually more in terms of interval training but with some running and rowing endurance stuff as well. It has given me the opportunity to exercise and socialise as well as up my awareness of my own fitness.


A visit to Padova in Italy near Venice to visit friends was interesting as I got to see Venice from a different perspective and discover a smaller town in Italy from a local's point of view. The town has a lot of impressive architecture and beautiful open park spaces and is buzzing in the evening because of the local student population and market.


In June, I went to Royal Ascot with my partner's family. It isn't an event I would have previously identified myself with, but there is something about getting dressed up in a morning suite, the immaculate powerful horses and seeing the queen.

 Local biking

Throughout the summer whilst in the UK, I used the flexibility of my work to get out on my bike and explore the local area. Admittedly, the area around Wellingborough isn't known as a beautiful location, but the point is more for me about understanding the flows of the day- when I'm most productive and when I might as well be outdoors because it would be pointless me looking at a screen. I would often get up at 6.30 and work until about 12 then go for a ride for a few hours and do a bit more work in the evening.

I got over to Wakerley woods a fair few times on summer evenings for rides with the Wakerley Wheelers, but as I now live in Wellingborough the drive is longer so not been as many times as the previous year. The club is going strong though and in the summer the trails are dry so the wider network of trails is accessible which in the winter are too muddy.

 New York

In the summer, after a nice break in Cornwall, we flew over to New York for a week. The taxi to downtown from the airport decided that he couldn't be bothered to take us all the way because of the gridlock traffic so kicked us out a fair distance off so we had to get a second taxi. However, he had some excuse and we didn't know the area.

In the hotel I asked for another room on a higher floor and the view made up for the somewhat dated hotel. We stayed in the Hilton which overlooked Ground Zero. Each day we walked. Highlights were the Brooklyn Bridge, swimming at Coney Island (and going on the big wheel), going up the Chrysler building and Empire State at night. Mainly we both enjoy walking to discover a city.

 Ireland Taikai (Ninjitsu)

September took me to Ireland for the Genbukan Ninjitsu Taikai which was also the celebration of the 70th birthday of Sensei Shoto Tanemura. We stayed on Campus at Dublin University and trained each day. Genbukan Ninjitsu is a formal martial art based on traditional Japanese techniques. It is not a sport martial art and not about beating an opponent. The feeling is more like you are part of a community of people who are learning how to develop themselves physically and mentally. The feeling is very much about discipline and attention to detail with techniques. It was great to get away with friends from my dojo and it was an inspiring, confidence building and meditative experience.


In work I got to build a fairly big project where I was the lead on it. I got to learn a lot more about 'Agile in theory' vs 'Agile in reality'. Sometimes there is a hybrid approach that works a lot better. I also continued my learning experience working in the public sector.

Towards the end of the year I got my contract extended and worked solely on a web application for wellbeing assessment. This is an interesting approach to a real problem helping people to become more self aware of their situation and put less pressure on the GP. However, the current format is a long web form split into sections which begs the question, perhaps there are better interfaces for collecting this kind of information.

I spent a good amount of time tidying up my portfolio of work - on paper as well as digital work. I wrote a few posts which proved to be popular such as buying a dropper seatpost.

 2018 Plans

Ultimately my focus this year was to be stable and allow adventure into my everyday life. My plans for 2018 were to

  • plan more stuff in advance
  • reduce and simplify
  • prioritising
  • fix up a bike for an off road trip
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