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Saturday, 10 November 2012

Πλήρης ημερών

Darling Mum, Grandma, and Great Grandma. All our love always...
Letter to my son-in-law:
Dear Guy
Amy asked me to send you a picture of the flowers for Barbara yesterday - the ones we're throwing into the rivers she loved. Also the music* we chose and my words in the small chapel at Inverness Crematorium where I was with Bay, Amy, Richard, Sharon and Elizabeth, while Lin stayed at Brin to take care of Oliver.
Our mother left us with extremely imprecise – actually no instructions.
We’re making this up as we go along and I want to thank the staff here and William Fraser and his family for the craft and professionalism they’ve contributed to this quick farewell.
This is not mum, or grandma
These small fragile remains on which we repose our care – and grief – are neither mum nor grandma
She’s already left us – and is becoming part of everything
We here need her remains for a little while, but she is not her remains, any more than she is her possessions – treasure them though we may; a talisman here, a memorial there.
Even mum – for all the precious care and love bestowed on her in these last months – had little time for what lies here.
Don’t remember this as mum, or grandma or Poppet or Theodora or Baba.
Progeny: a picnics by Dell Loch in 1987

What we now say farewell to is a symbol, a means – time-worn, traditional, valued - for lament, for grief and tears – all things that in time should not be any great part (for all our present feelings) of the vast treasure chest of memories we carry with us – some in our DNA – for the rest of our lives
Let’s say goodbye to her now; and be as brave as her; as brave as you know she'd insist we be. It’s not her death that matters in the end.It’s her life that we’ll take away from here.
*Ω! γλυκύ μου έαρ, γλυκλύτατον μου Τέκνον, πού έδυ σου το κάλλος;
"Oh! my sweet Spring, My sweetest child, where has your beauty set?" - and deep thanks to Chris Holmes and Aleko Damaskinos in beloved Kerkyra for refining the translation and pointing me to where I could buy the music we wanted and to our tutor Nikos Mytikiotis in Birmingham for first pointing me to 'Ω γλυκύ μου έαρ'
Richard and I walked by the Nairn today
My mum was born 11 February 1917 in Hereford Square in Kensington. North of the Ancre the British took about 600 yards of enemy trenches near the Beaucourt-Puisieux road.
1918: Great grandma Jackson, my mum - Theodora Barbara - and her mother Bar Maine

Mum - Poppet - with Motley at Mill End in 1931
Barbara at Mains of Faillie in 2005
Now we're at Brin Croft - Lin, who drove up to the Highlands with me on Thursday night, Richard who flew up on Thursday evening, Amy who flew up with Oliver on Monday, and our dear friend Liz who's been here four months. Bay's flown back to New York to be with her husband after five weeks at Brin Croft helping care for mum. Sharon, her carer for five years, has driven south to be with her son in Nottingham and to rest.
Supper at Brin Croft this Saturday evening
**** ****
From: Andrew Coulson
Sent: 31 October 2012
To: Deepa Patel
Cc: Simon Baddeley; John Cade; Sue Platt
Subject:: Request for Quotation: Coaching Support for Scrutiny Chairs in Hounslow
Dear Deepa. Here is our proposal for delivery of your coaching sessions for scrutiny chairs. We have done our best to make clear how we would deliver what you need.  We appreciate that you will do your best to assist us to carry out the sessions with a reasonable number of visits, and are more than happy to clarify anything in the bid if that will assist.
Best regards. Andrew Coulson. Scrutiny Lead, Institute of Local Government Studies
One to One Coaching for Scrutiny Chairs - Hounslow LB
Proposal from the Institute of Local Government Studies

We have unique experience of scrutiny training – having been involved since 2000 when the legislation first made it mandatory. This training will be delivered by the following team:

Dr Andrew Coulson - former councillor, cabinet member and scrutiny committee member in Birmingham, has been a staff member of the Institute since 1984, written extensively on scrutiny and its position in local government, and been instrumental in creating the first assessed training course on scrutiny.

Simon Baddeley - a Tavistock Institute trained psychologist and counsellor, with special interest in relationships within organisations. He has conducted many one-to-one or one-to-two interviews with scrutiny chairs and scrutiny officers, and explored the relationships which are needed for scrutiny to succeed.

John Cade - former Head of Scrutiny at Birmingham City Council, with special interests in scrutiny at times of financial pressure and retrenchment, in topic selection, in managing the scrutiny processes, preparing high quality reports, and ensuring that they have maximum constructive impact.

Identification of Needs
If this is to be done effectively, and to deal with some of the sensitive issues which may arise, we do not see any alternative to undertaking it face to face. It would also be worth having a check-list to hand of some possible topics or issues, see below.

Our preference would be for the four sessions to be undertaken on the same day, e.g. a day when three or four of the councillors are present. The 27 November full council day is a possibility for this – and would still allow time for one coaching session for each of the four chairs to be held in December. The discussion of tailored sessions which follows shows that we understand that there is a great range of possible needs and opportunities for developing skills.  The task here will be to make the task manageable.

Delivery of Tailored Sessions
Good scrutiny depends on good chairing, and there are many different facets to this. Thus scrutiny chairing involves providing leadership and direction, ensuring the work is member-led, that other scrutiny members have the necessary skills for questioning, evaluating evidence and understanding the stages of a scrutiny project;  engaging all committee members in the process; ensuring adequate resources are provided or knowing how to work effectively within limited resources; acting as a ‘gatekeeper’; prioritising work, minimising some of the  common pitfalls of scrutiny; co-ordinating work with other scrutiny committees; sharing learning; developing constructive relations with the executive and relevant portfolio holders, with chief officers in the departments the committee scrutinises and with external witnesses.
For those who have doubts about their chairing skills, the best initial approach may be for the trainer to attend a scrutiny panel chaired by that member, and then meet either after the meeting or the next day to discuss conclusions and lessons that can be learnt from what happened, and other relevant issues.
More specifically, the chair will also need to ensure that the committee contributes actively to the scrutiny of the authority's policies, budget, strategies and service delivery, as well as evaluating and monitoring the performance of the authority and other agencies with whom the council works in partnership. It may also entail creative and inventive approaches to one-off investigations that contribute to the work of the council and the needs of the communities it serves.

Thus scrutiny chairs need to be confident, and able to:
·      chair the overview and scrutiny panels (already mentioned)
·      present the findings of the committee to the council, executive, the press and public where appropriate
·      promote the work of scrutiny and organise its work programme
-      work effectively with the officer or officers who serve scrutiny, constructing trust across the council and its departments
-      develop good working relations across parties so as to be able to work outside the party political framework
-      be able to engage with senior officers across the council to strengthen their respect for and involvement in the scrutiny process
-      work well with key figures in outside organisations, e.g. in health, housing, transport, etc etc

The practical one-to-one tutoring would, where possible, entail close observation of actual scrutiny sessions, with pre-meeting briefing and reflection and post-meeting feedback and preparation for the next meeting on the basis of what has been learned via this process of observation, reflection, feedback, and planning. There could also be sessions in which the tutor sat in on working meetings between the scrutiny chair and the relevant scrutiny officer. The feedback and reflection sessions following these observed meetings could involve both member and officer and could be enriched with video demonstrations from Inlogov research on members and officer working together on the scrutiny process. The initial session or sessions for each councillor would be conducted by our experienced counsellor, Simon Baddeley.
If these sessions identify needs for practical discussion, of matters such as selecting topics for investigations, scoping investigations, working with officers to manage the scrutiny process, drafting recommendations, or working with external agencies, then these sessions would be delivered by Andrew Coulson or John Cade.

Reply - 8 Nov'12:
Dear Andrew
Many thanks to you and colleagues for taking the time to answer the questions in the quote documentation. I am pleased to say that Councillors have decided they would very much like to accept your quote! In particular they felt your quote showed a very thorough understanding of the wider role of the scrutiny chair both in and outside of meetings.
I need to get a formal letter out to you confirming acceptance of your quote. I shall do this early next week. If you can contact me next week we can start discussing next steps and get some dates fixed in the diary as soon as possible. I really look forward to supporting you with this project. Best wishes and have a good weekend. Deepa 
*** *** ***
As Richard and I strolled at sunset along the river, with the terriers, Mum's Lulu demanded her usual play in the cold clean water taking mum's flowers down to the sea.
Lulu in the Nairn

Γλυκό παιδί μου - once upon a time
*** *** ***
Dear Niko. Thanks you so much for the epitafio lament you showed me when we last met.
We played it at my mother’s funeral on Friday.
Everyone loved the music and the lament. It is of course sung at Easter in Ano Korakiana. Lovely as it is sung by the women’s choir in Ano Korakiana, we did not at first recognise it enhanced by Vangelis and Irene Papas.
Once again you and Greece support me at an important  moment in our lives. I know my mother would have loved this music. I will remember it for ever.
Much love to Christina. We have seen a few photos of your wonderful wedding but we want more…and perhaps to hear more of the music at the church and at the reception.
I am in Scotland now at my mother’s house but Linda and I will return to Birmingham in about a week. Much love and respect. Simon 
Dear Simon, Linda and Family. I was looking to my emails, who actually pointed me to Facebook that I do not follow that closely, and I've learned about your loss. Please accept from me and Christina our Sincere Condolences - Τα Θερμά μας Συλλυπητήρια και τις Προσευχές μας Υπέρ Ανάπαυσης της Εκλειπούσας. We know that her loving memory and personality will live in you and your family. Looking forward meeting you soon to express the above to you in person.
Deeply Saddened. Nikos

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