It’s been a bit quiet because I was away on holiday for a week, up in the Pyrenees mountains, far (mentally if not physically) from internet connections and the world of work. I had a busy couple of days before I left, which included a breakfast meeting (I was one of many there!) with Robert Peston of the BBC and being on the judging panel for a journalism award for diversity issues. We had the architects in all day yesterday finding out what we want from our new office in Smith Square. We won’t be moving for years, so we/they have to think about making it relevant to tomorrow, not today. I admire what they do – if you’ve ever looked at my other blog, you’ll know this was something I got really interested in when I was in the US – how the design of buildings influences their use.
We have a nice event today – a model EU Council, where 16-18 year olds from schools across London and the South East take the roles of different Member States (and the Commission and Council Secretariat) to debate 3 issues – GMOs/food safety, immigration and climate change. I was out at two of the schools before I went on leave, talking them through what the Commission and Council Sec do and hopefully pointing them in the right direction to get the Commission’s position on things. I’ll head over there later – once I’ve done this interview with Russia Today (!!).
Possibly the worst thing about being in London is the commuting. Just having a 45 minute trip into work is enough of a shock to the system (it was about 15 in Brussels) but squeezing onto packed trainsadds insult to injury. Yesterday, though, Southern managed to plumb new depths. Balham has 4 platforms, 2 of which are unused. But the trains were stopping there yesterday, just no-one seemed to know which trains and when. So we’d all be standing on platform 2 waiting for the Victoria train and they’d announce that the next one would leave from platform 4, so down the stairs we all go, up the stairs ont he other side to find that the guy was blowing the whistle for the train to depart. Then they said that the next one would be from 4, so we waited there, then as it was arriving, oh no, sorry (acutally no-one said sorry as far as I can remember) it’s on platform 2… Twenty minutes it took me to get on the train, running from one platform to the other, missing the trains. Total nightmare. And of course there’s nothing you can do about it – that’s the train you have to take to get to work, and they know they can treat you like that and get away with it. Grrr…
Update: you can see some footage of today’s Mock EU Council here.