A National Trust poll out today reveals that “television-obsessed children are far more likely to recognise a Dalek than a magpie”. Well I know who I’d rather meet in the woods. And I don’t care if it’s just the one for sorrow.
A rather more joyful experience this week was meeting Sue Holden of the Woodland Trust. If you think that these woodland folk are behind the times when it comes to technology, you’re sure of a big surprise. Far from it, as their Ancient Tree Hunt proves, with its call to action for people up and down the land to start logging on.
I met Woodland Sue at the Business in the Community Gala Dinner at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday. It really was an inspiring affair and the tables near me contained a who’s who of business Britain with Sir Stuart Rose, Sir Mike Rake, Charles Allen and Chris Hyman all within bread-throwing distance. The evening was masterminded by eternal favourite Gail Greengross who, swan-like, sails through even the most frenetic activity with an amazing sense of calm and enjoyment for what she does.
One of the shinier milk-bottle tops to have fallen into my inbox this week was an invitation to the launch of the lovely June Sarpong’s Politics and the City. Held last night at the ICA, the guest list buzzed with a blend of politicians, business people and TV personalities. A door-staff kerfuffle by the entrance alerted me to the arrival of ‘A Cabinet Minister’ and, as a craned my neck to see who was arriving, I clocked the lesser-spotted Caroline Flint. Wasting no time, as she rounded the first floor staircase with an aide, I seized the opportunity to fetch the Health Minister a drink, for I had points to make. Two minutes later and glass of white in hand, I gave her a taster of my passion for health, its connection to well-being in general and a couple of tantalizing ideas about connecting the two. The scene was set. The nation’s future well-being sat in the balance. The Minister spoke;
“You do know I’m now doing Housing”
Reader, there must be a hundred ideas which connect health to housing in one smooth link. Dozens at least. None sprang to mind.
What seemed like a lifetime later, or around ten minutes in new money, as our conversation drew to a close, I confessed that I had, indeed, thought that she was still a Health minister. Strangely, I think she had known all along. It’s at events like these that policitans must wish they were more like Daleks.