Weeknotes 18 Dec

6 min readDec 18, 2020


The ones were I’m over excited about having email and Microsoft Teams.

Monday and Tuesday

I wasn't on top form on Monday and chose to go to bed rather than do week notes — I slept for 30min eat and then went back to bed for about 12hrs. I have a sort of cold (I can still smell and I don't have a persistent coffee so it’s not COVID-19 as we know it). By about 3pm on Tuesday I was thinking more clearly, this could have been the chocolate I had after lunch followed by the chocolate biscuits.

In terms of my getting settled I have now got Email and MS Teams, which is rather exciting, and making connecting with people a lot simpler. I can do that thing where you send a meeting and it’s automatically have a video chat — it’s rather helpful.

I read Janet's blogpost from Friday: https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2020/12/11/what-we-mean-by-co-design/c

I’m yet to work out the dark art of quite knowing when things like programme update will be, I’ll get there and I made it to the session today which was great — I noticed I wasn't on mute as I slurped tea when my screen got highlighted so quickly went on mute.

It’s day one in MS Teams and I’ve kicked of two wiki pages, one about the People Survey and one about Learning and Development I recommended the School for Change Agents and Doughnut Economics. The one on the people survey was kicked off after we had the 2nd Senior Management Meeting about it for people that could join the first one. I left with the question what is the magic sauce for the programme.

On Monday I watched a virtual Farm tour — it was very interesting.


Summed up as lots of chatting. For some of it I was watching people chat on webinars and on others I was in the room so to speak — I don't think I’m a fan of the webinar approach, though I appreciate that it reduces barriers to entry. It’s harder to see people and have side chats… maybe that’s the point.

I had a lovely chat with Clare — which was unexpected and really helpful. Another chat with Kate which I was late by 15mins too because of chatting to Clare and then overran without leaving time for Kate to have a breather before her 11:00 — not good form. I joined the FFCP Project Race meeting and took a few notes in a google doc that Janet had created. I had a chat with Gavin, Louise and Lee about the Environmental Land Management learning hub for the national pilot. Afterwards I had a brief chat with Lee who it turns out I worked with a few years go on the Socioeconomic side of CAP. Then listened to Holly Buck — no relation talking about geoenginearing and natural solutions. A chat with Mark about what he’s up to and OneTeamGov and finally instead of the Community of Communities session that I hoped to go to the opportunity to attend the B-Corp Webinar came up so I dove at that — I’m not sure if it was the right decision but I’m very keen on the B-Corp approach. This is that thing I mentioned in the round at some point the idea that I cant quite articulate — it still needs work but in essence it goes instated of B-Corp’s could we use those standards for B-Directorates/Programmes/Bits of government. It’s a thought and it needs mulling on and chatting about — I think I need to separately write this up.

In all it was a day of much comings and goings — which was a nice contrast to yesterday — where I had lots of time to think and plan (though little energy).

One thing that is sticking in my mind is how I divide up my time, and if I should attempt in the new year at any rule — like no meetings I plan on a Monday or no external meetings on a Tuesday. The problem I have is I’ve never quite found life to be like that and the more ridged a structure the more I feel the need to document and the less I feel the agency to achieve — still it cant hurt to give things a try — perhaps tomorrow I’ll have a look at what’s other people have done.

Something else I’m pondering about is if I should see if I can find my old Environmental Land Management tool. Maybe another time.


I read about listening to people and listened too James and Jeremy . I don't think I am good at doing both at the same time.

Listening to James and reading his book makes me think about systems and cycles, more and more. Reading the article gave me many thoughts — the first being to go through everything that has been done so far to work out all the things that we have, there is something for me that makes me want to consider deeply the answers to People Survey on pay and benefits. I honestly don't know all the benefits that we have and how much we spend on them. I’m also acutely aware that this is an issue that is felt more the less you are paid, every survey I have ever seen always reflects that. More the article makes me want to find the free text feedback from the People Survey — I get little feeling from hard stats.

Hi had a chat today with Lorna, she is lovely and heads up People, Process and Information — were going to have regular catch-ups in the new year with Anna. Lynn which was lovely — I was just me and that felt really nice. Debbie and we talked about all sorts of things, like that I have officially arrived — I checked my email after wards.

I got the official letter saying I came back from loan — I still have the same staff number — that’s quite nice. I still cant log into the Single Operating Platform — we need another form 071 to reinstate me — oh well.

We had a short All Hands session today and celebrated things with Victoria and David. We had an Abba swingalong.

I looked again and in more detail following links to other things for the Defra Behaviours — I have added them to my board — where I’m thinking, and keeping a track of it.

I chatted to Ellen brifelly via MS Teams— it felt like we started to hatch plans :) I love finding the future and then trying to evenly distribute it :)


Oh boy it was hard to get my head into it this morning. Possibly was the Pizza. Still had a lovely chat with Sam who works in the Green Finance Team. I attended Informal Unconscious Biases Training — which was really good and very gently facilitated. It’s sad to know that Margot probably wont be doing this in 2021.

Eloise came home really from school — she face planted muddy concrete, still he friend was safe, I asked why — ’because she landed on me’ honestly though when we talked about it was the most information ever about actives at school.

To round of the day I attended the Co-ho-ho Design team Christmas quiz which was great, it was lovely to meet the team. I came last in a quiz — I am very used to coming last in a quiz.




Working from Defra in the Future Farming and Countryside Programme, OneTeamGov and UKGovCamp. Government romantic and lover of tea