My day started with opening the Guardian mag, as you do, to a 2 page photo of us! www.guardian.co.uk/The kids look lovely, Chris is at least smiling although he was desperate to get to work and I look like I feel most of the time, frazzled. The piece is about the embattled middle classes and as I read on I felt hot and cold in equal parts.
Whilst I loved the reference made to my lovely, much missed Dad, a beacon of middle class endeavor, I wince as our so-called 4 x 4 lifestyle is described. I suppose this is what always happens, you tell a story and only the bits the listener hears and observes for themselves are retold. Yes we have a lovely house, which I have done up myself, yes we have a 4 x4 but its 7 years old and we got it because how else do you take 3 kids, 5 bikes and 5 surf boards to the coast? Yes the boys go to private school (all three went to an excellent state primary, where Katie remains) but only because our local comprehensive can't decide if it wants to be in special measures or not, and we might be selling said "cool" house to enable the kids to carry on getting the education they undoubtedly deserve.
No mention of caravan holidays, lodgers, and my husband's latest money saving wheeze, no au pair. Its day 3 on that by the way. I came home yesterday from my first meeting of the Lambeth Cooperative Council Commission to find the laundry in need of attention. The evening before I had sat silently through Chris, a laundry virgin, explaining to me how we could do the laundry on a quick wash to reduce water consumption. Sure enough everything needs to be done again, not very water friendly me thinks. But I am keeping shtum, after all I need the help.
The article does mention the fab SEL, and social business, and the head spinning cuts we are coping with. As I said in the article, my hope is that we will be able to see some clever things replacing the old infrastructure and capacity building, otherwise how else are we going to grow jobs and redesign public service delivery that maximizes community benefit? This was a strong theme at the Commission. It was, I have to say, one of the most interesting discussions I have participated in for a long time. They had assembled impressive contributors to give submissions, like Peter Hunt, ceo at Mutuo, and the stance the Council was taking was all about listening, learning and taking bold leadership. It was impressive, and I feel privileged to be part of the process.
Finally thanks for all those who have twittered me this morning. The consensus seems to be that despite my Mother thinking I look fat, I apparently do not (I think people are being kind), but my hair, unlike my family, let's me down. The family, FYI could not be less impressed. I left the magazine opened at the photo page and watched as each of them came down to breakfast, Katie giggled, Joe said it was embarrassing and he won't be telling any of his mates and Sam looked, said absolutely nothing, as if he was in the papers everyday, and asked what was for breakfast. That's the great thing about family, they get their priorities straight, food before fame.