Fragmented Thoughts

A notebook for half-formed ideas and other things on the mind of Emma Cragg.

At the end of last week, I managed to rupture the tendon of my right index finger. Apparently it's an easy thing to do. The upshot of this is that my finger is in a splint for six to eight weeks while the tendon heals.

This morning I joined Sanctus' daily journaling session where the prompt was 'What are you aware of?' It got me thinking about how the splint has affected me over the past few days as I've been getting used to doing things a bit differently. Most things are OK as I can still grip with the remaining three fingers and thumb. Where a bit more dexterity is needed, for handwriting, eating and tying my laces etc, I'm having to modify my technique.

What I am most aware of is:

  • the level of patience needed as everything is naturally taking me longer
  • how it's forcing me to slow down and be more deliberate in my actions
  • that I will inevitably need help with some things and must be prepared to ask for it

I'm only a few days in to this but I can already feel I'm going to learn a lot over the next couple of months. And that those lessons will apply more broadly to life than just what I can or can't do with my hand.

This is day 37 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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Last week I did a couple of things that I've not done in around six months: slept in a bed that's not my own and went to the pub for a pint. When the roadmap out of lockdown was announced we booked a few nights away in a holiday cottage for the earliest available opportunity. And the time to take that opportunity rolled around last week.

Until we arrived in this peaceful spot, I hadn't realised how much I needed both the change of scenery and the time to fully disconnect and immerse myself in the beautiful countryside of Northumberland and Cumbria.

View from the cottages at Common House Farm

Our only neighbours on the farm where our cottage was located were a family of friendly goldfinches and a field full of sheep and their lambs.

We had some wonerful weather for walking and did a couple of varied routes. First, a loop from Lambley Viaduct that included sections of both the Pennine Way and South Tyne Trail. We got to go under and over the viaduct at varuous points on the route.

Lambley Viaduct from below View of South Tyne river from Lambley viaduct

Our second walk took us along a section of Hadrian's Wall, from Walltown Quarry to Great Chesters. We walked back along the vallum and crossed farmland to Tipal Burn and returned to the start via the ruins of Thirwall Castle.

View of Hadrian's Wall looking East towards Turret 45a

We ended our stay with visits to RSPB Geltsdale and Talkin Tarn.

View over Tindale Tarn from bird hide Derelict buildings at Forest Head Quarry

Other than walking, we did a lot of birdwatching. Over the week we saw:

  • lapwings
  • a curlew
  • a snipe
  • a red grouse
  • partridge
  • tufted ducks
  • whinchats
  • wheatears
  • a reed warbler
  • a great spotted woodpecker, and
  • a skylark

When we weren't outdoors the main activity was reading. I chose to take Matt Haig's The Midnight Library, which I devoured, and Robert Macfarlane's The Old Ways, which helped me think about the paths we we walking in a new way.

I feel ready to return to work next week rested and recharged. Also with a renewed commitment to get out here more regularly for longer walks to top up my personal battery.

This is day 36 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

Tags: #holidays #gratitude

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I've had a few weeks off from writing this list. That was not because there was nothing to say, but because I've been trying to spend more time disconnected and enjoying a wider variety of activities that don't require a screen. So let me catch you up on the things that have been making me smile recently...

  • new binoculars; a great boost for my newfound love of birdwatching
  • discovering #BirdsSeenIn2021, this alongside Dean Wilson's pebble of the day series is reason enough to be on Twitter
  • taking a new approach to my phone use and really feeling the benefits
  • a couple of long walks a little further afield; exploring different sections of the region's waggonways and including a return to the coast
  • another successful virtual weekend away
  • and last but not least, a win for Newcastle today

Tags: #gratitude

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On my walk earlier today I was listening to an episode of Planet FPL. You'll often find me consuming this kind of content, especially towards the end of the week, as I make decisions about my Fantasy Premier League (FPL) team. Towards the end of this particular episode, one of the hosts reminds listeners to play your own game.

The reference here is to the tendency among FPL managers to fixate on, and even copy, the transfer and captaincy decisions that other managers make. Ultimately, however, the decisions we make about individual players have to be made in the context of our teams as a whole. Just because a manager ranked in the top 10 is transferring in a certain player, it doesn't mean that it's right for your team too.

Why am I writing about this? Well, often I find soundbites like this that are intended for a specific context actually have implications or applications in other areas of life. And today, for me, the reminder to play your own game is much needed advice for some business decisions I'm making. It made me realise that I've drifted off this path of late.

I've become caught up with what everyone else in the coaching industry is doing without really considering whether that's the direction I want to go in. And let me tell you readers, it is not. So from now on as I make choices for my business I'll be asking myself is this what you want to do or what you feel you should do?

This is day 35 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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Six weeks on from our last virtual weekend away we were on our imaginary travels again this weekend. Our destination for this trip was Amsterdam.

Once more, our plans involved exploring the history, culture and cuisine of our chosen destination. Some highlights included:

Where next, who knows?

This is day 34 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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Signs of Spring are certainly a recurring theme in these lists at the moment. Perhaps because the changing seasons are the only thing that differs from week to week at the moment.

Anyway, here's what's brought a smile to my face this week:

  • a sunny day after a week of grey
  • bullfinches on the bird feeders in the park
  • not just the sight of blossom but the smell, oh my the smell is intoxicating
  • the realisation that I'm so much into the running groove that I can even go out when I'm not really feeling in the mood for it
  • having the option to self-define sexuality and gender on the census

Tags: #gratitude

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If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. ...whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

When I saw these lines in a recent newsletter from James Clear it made me smile. They're from Mary Oliver's poem Don't Hesitate which we had as a reading at our wedding.

It's a poem that asks us to remember that among all the terrible things that happen in the world and amidst all our errors of judgment, there's still possibility. There's still joy if we take the time to notice and nurture it.

Here you can hear Don't Hesitate read in full.

This is day 33 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

Tags: #poetry #gratitude #noticing

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Some weeks these lists are hard to write. Not for the lack of things to put on them but that other things happening in the world make each item feel insignificant. And then I remember, that's exactly why I write them.

So here's a selection of things that keep me smiling:

  • my parents got their first vaccine dose
  • planning a summer refresh for the yard, including making a scale drawing to try out options
  • an impromptu walk along the river with Izz
  • buds bursting and the first sign of blossom
  • a successful first foray into making chicken kiev

Tags: #gratitude

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Most newsletters come out on a schedule that suits the creator. Daily. Weekly. Fortnightly. Monthly. Occasionally.

What if you as the recipient could choose?

I currently send my newsletter weekly, with one issue per month as a round-up of links to things I've found interesting, appealing or useful. If I added a list of my writing from the month to the link round-up I would be able to give readers the option to receive the newsletter either weekly or monthly. Either way they would receive the same content but on a frequency they preferred.

Do you offer this option already? I'd love to see some examples.

This is day 32 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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My typical approach to journaling is writing a one-line summary at the end of the day. However, at the start of the pandemic I decided to write a little more occasionally. Below is my first entry in what I labeled my 'Coronavirus diary' from exactly a year ago...

It's difficult to know what to think about, and do in response to, the threat of Coronavirus. At the moment cases in the UK are limited, but we have to expect or at least be prepared for the level of outbreak countries like China and Italy have experienced.

At the moment, I'm still going about things as normal. But I do get the feeling that generally there are fewer people about (that may be just a coincidence, of course). At the weekend I played hockey and we still shook hands and shared food. I'm going in to the office every day on the bus. In the next couple of weeks I've got plans to go away for the weekend with my hockey team, attend networking events and talks, and meet clients. And at the start of April we're away for a week with the whole family. I'm beginning to wonder whether any or all of that will still go ahead.

Ahead of a co-working day I was due to attend today we were sent advice from Public Health England about the scenarios in which you would need to self-quarantine. People in my networks are starting to talk about the plans their organisations are making to move to remote working and distance learning. Some of these involve having trial days before it becomes a necessity to make sure any issues are ironed out in advance. Should the need arise, I'm fully able to continue my work from home.

Working for myself however I feel one step removed from it all. I'm not aware of a heightened sense of fear, or anyone significantly changing their day-to-day behaviour. At the weekend though teacher friends did mention that their schools are receiving phone calls from parents demanding when they're going to close and expressing concern that their children are being put at risk. I'll wait to take my lead from Good Space (where my office is located).

I think my mantra will be to proceed with caution, not panic. It's hard to stay calm though when all around you are losing their heads. The stockpiling of toilet roll, soap and pain killers has begun. I will admit to getting Izzy to buy a few extra tins in the last shop, just in case... although I think that's more a response to reading The Siege than it is to fears the supermarkets will be empty.

One useful thing I have seen is guidance from the World Health Organisation around what the actual symptoms of the virus are and how they're similar/different from the common cold and flu.

This is day 31 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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