So, that was DDT, Deliberate DownTime, week 0.5. I’ve chosen to call my time off, at least until the end of the year, Deliberate DownTime. If I don’t find myself a new role in due course, I may move into Undeliberate DownTime, but I’ll cross that particular bridge when I get there.

Also, while I’m doing some explaining, I count weeks as running Saturday to Friday. I do this because earlier in the year, while in a coaching session with Hayley, I said that Sunday being the end of the week meant that I felt I had to finish all my chores and prepare for the week ahead on a Sunday. And that made Sunday’s a bit sadder and less restful. So I changed things around. And it helped.

I’m only counting my first week as half a week of downtime as I went to Exeter to the head office of the company I left last week for two days to do a final piece of handover activity. That wasn’t downtime, but it was quite cathartic as I feel now that I’ve left things well documented, and in a good state.

The first thing I noticed this week, was just how exhausted I was. I’m not going to go into details, but it’s fair to say that my notice period didn’t exactly pan out as I’d expected. It was mentally and emotionally draining. And I paid the price for that in the early part of the week. But it did lead to some lovely moments sitting on the sofa with my dog sitting on my legs with her chin resting on my knee. And very soothing and comforting that was. The fact that my immune system decided to relax as well means that I’m still somewhat coldy as I write this. I guess I should have expected that.

Early on in the week I made and had accepted, my first contribution to an open source project for some years. I’d spotted a couple of sentences that I felt could read better, so I reworded them. The comment on my edits was enthusiastic, welcoming and encouraging which, read as it was on a 5:23 am train out of Brighton towards Exeter, gave me a significant boost on Thursday.

The highlight of my week was Wednesday when I spent the afternoon at Charleston - the Sussex meeting place of the Bloomsbury set. And the home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Charleston say they

offer a haven for curious minds to immerse themselves in new ideas and provide an open door to explore personal freedoms

which is a statement I like. Especially the “haven for curious minds”. I’d wanted to visit for a while, and as it closes for the season today, it was a perfect outing for my first week. Wednesday afternoon turned out to be mild and sunny, and so I had a lovely time sitting in the garden letting the feel of the place surround me while waiting for my tour of the house. The house is, unsurprisingly, full of art. Paintings hung on walls, pottery positioned on shelves and tables, lampshades casting gorgeous patterns on surfaces and then hand decorated walls, windows, doors, fireplaces, wardrobes, beds and bed heads. As a friend of mine remarked about her reflections about her last visit:

“no surface left unpainted!”

And these were the bits that stood out for me. The created for homelife pieces. Not the pieces created as art. But those to be enjoyed and lived with and that were designed for themselves and their friends. This lamp by Duncan Grant was my favourite piece. Simply shaped (a bit of old telegraph pole I believe) but with gorgeous colours and design. I could find a space in my home for that.

A lovely, peaceful, and gentle place to spend some time. A perfect place to visit on my first (half) week of deliberate downtime.