Thursday, 29 July 2010

Camping out

SEL are on the move.  Our lovely offices, with river views, at London Bridge are to close for refurbishment and when tarted up they don't want the Hoi polloi in here. So we will have to look for alternative premises as well as deal with a very uncertain future. In recent weeks the vast majority of our grants and current contracts have been re-designated as non renewable from April 2011. In fact with our letter from London Councils on Monday, that pretty much made for a full set. So whilst we are working flat out to deliver our best year ever, from April 1st it all, at least at the moment, looks very different. Thank God for the consultancy.

It’s all so very strange. On the up side we are in very great demand from International Government’s who are keen to replicate SEL programs, exemplified by the comments from Paul Martin former PM of Canada last week who could not have been more complimentary about our work: on the down side, and I am not taking this personally, the cuts to local, regional and National employment, business and skills development have well and truly hit us hard. We are in danger of being thrown out with the bath water.

Still the fabulous SELites are up for the challenge. I had a one to one with everyone on Monday and came away emotional with admiration. I work with gutsy, able people. We love our members and we know we sell something people want to buy, we just have to survive until the market picks up. Monday night I had staff emailing me as late as midnight with ideas, and since then everyone has been flat out, as if working harder were possible, so it’s difficult to see how such ability, dedication and expertise in an internationally growing field cannot find its feet, eventually.

This will be my last blog before my holidays in Cornwall. Tomorrow night I will be sleeping under canvas in, no doubt, the traditional rainstorm, swearing never to do it again. When hubby asked me to marry him, I replied in the affirmative, as long as I didn’t have to go camping. Over the subsequent 8 years he wore me down, and tomorrow marks, what is now, our annual camping experience. Below you can view the current contents of our hall, which I will need to get into our 4 x 4 together with the five of us and the bikes. The second shot is of the inflatable mattresses which I have insisted hubby puts up before we go, to check their viability.  We do this following some disasterous experiences ending in near divorce, and as you can see, one of them will not be coming with us.

The lovely Selite, Brenda Poggio has kindly agreed to housesit and look after the three chickens, two rabbits and hamster, Stella. Upon my return I will have to pack up everything again, this time at SEL. Maybe we could camp out? I hear a great pitch has been vacated in Parliament Square, lovely views and just a stone’s throw from the river.

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