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Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Back to normal routines

Yesterday I cycled in early to New Street, caught the train to London, cycled across town to Victoria and was in Brighton by 1030 to plan a workshop for councillors on Overview and Scrutiny
- then back the same way, except I got off at Clapham junction, dropped in on friends who live near the Common, and cycled on, late afternoon, crossing the Thames via Chelsea Bridge, along the embankment, up Whitehall and Charing Cross Road to busy Euston again, and home on a Pendelino.
Gosh! How I enjoy cycling through cities and then using train time to do work - marking papers this time, then reading a Japanese crime procedural - All she was worth by Miyabe Miyuke - given me by one of my students in Tokyo who knows this is a favourite way of taking in the detail of another culture. As I entered our home road I got a puncture. How nice it should happen so close to home.
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On Saturday we'd been to a family christening - near total immersion for a small nephew who took it very well, and altogether good to embrace so many relatives in one place half-cousin has got some of the historical detail I've been seeking about the life of my Greek stepmother, Maria's father, Admiral Roussen about whom I know so little. P's mailing me a file.
On Thursday Annie Guthrie phoned from Cairns, in Northern Queensland, while I was teaching – the lecture room at Park House being wired and the Skype screen behind me showing via a data projector. Having sped through cyberspace, she entered into the spirit of the moment; said ‘Hi’ to my class who said ‘Hi’ back and waved. On Sunday Annie's husband, John, was sat at his laptop speaking face-to-face with me at the kitchen table in Handsworth - across 16000 miles - planning a future visit, touring further around Australia with a richer version of the workshops we’d just done on political-management leadership. Cycling home a heron stood watching the canal, flying lazily off to another perch fifty yards along the bank, as I approached in time to snap a picture.
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When I got home last Tuesday I found Lin had tidied places I’m used to leaving stuff. It’s a pleasure to see the neatness but hard to observe in the return to home routines. I’ve always wanted to be tidy; never succeeded for long. It’s like that in my head. There've been some seriously good changes in the garden - joint work by Linda and Amy - which is looking as good as it's ever been. Lin's fitted an ultra-violet gadget on one of the ponds to try to get the water crystal clear.
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I keep thinking that we'll be in Ano Korakiana in the first week of July.

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Simon Baddeley