Wednesday, 1 December 2010

And now for my next trick...

Yes its that time of year when as well as promoting social enterprise to anyone who will stand still long enough to hear me, and looking after the family, you can add Christmas fairy.

At the best of times life can be a bit circus like, hitting all the targets, making all the meetings and as I did last Tuesday picking up a winter coat for my eldest and then dragging it from venue to venue. Actually it was quite an interesting day. I had a great chin wag with government innovation leading light, Ruth Kennedy in Westminster then off to the very grand Marlborough House on Pall Mall for a reception for the First International Responsible Capitalist of the Year awards. My co-chair Sophi Tranchell, the Managing Director of Divine Chocolate was getting one of this years awards and despite the dodgy title it was a very exciting moment for Sophi and our movement, so I wanted to be there to cheer her on. Previous winners have been the CEO's of GlaxoSmithKline, Starbucks and Siemens. This was their first sortie into the social enterprise world and judging but the cheer Sophi's speech got, I hope it won't be their last. She was given her award by Vince Cable, who was a very engaged listener as Sophi's spoke eloquently of being in business to change business and ethical behaviour needing to be central to what you do not just a nice add on.

Prior to the ceremony I chatted to Douglas Hurd about his son Nick, our Minister. He spoke of Nick's enthusiasm for the brief and seemed a very proud dad, which was nice. I also bumped into Trevor Bayliss who was charming as always. We often see him in our favourite pub in Twickenham so seeing each other in such a grand setting was odd. My 12 year old is his biggest fan and wants to be Trevor when he grows up, either that or Gromit.

I then shot off late to the Guardian Public Service Awards, a dinner I needed to go to as I had been a judge this year. On the way there, I got a call from the event organiser which made my heart sink. My first thought was that I was speaking and had forgotten, after all you don't usually get a call checking if your turning up once an event has started. No, she reassured me, it was just that they had put me on the top table with the Guardian MD and Jeremy Vine and by not being there I had left an empty seat. Oops. It turned out to be a really fun table, apparently I was the only person there whom Jeremy had not had on his show and as if to make up for it he gave me quite a grilling on social enterprise, which he seemed really interested in. The awards were inspiring, its a great idea to recognise those people who often do thankless jobs in the public sector and do them really well for the benefit of all of us.

At midnight I picked up my son's coat from its third cloakroom of the day and headed home thinking about the thousand additional little jobs that need doing in the next 4 weeks. Thank god for technology. I have created my annual multiple Christmas spread sheets, drawn up my schedules and hit the internet hard. All very spontaneous. With over 50 close friends and relatives to gift, and the kids to sort as well as the house to de clutter, again, decorate and prepare for invasion, its always a lively month. Still, as a firm believer in the six p's (Prior planning prevents a piss poor performance) and as someone who needs very little sleep, I'm ahead of the game.

I tell you what I am looking forward to though, is a drink! This is Day 24 of my no-alchol regime and I can't wait for sight of the finishing post on the 16th. I can't remember why I started this nonsense, but Christmas will be a lot more fun once I jump of the bloody wagon. After all, the Christmas Fairy needs to get her spirit from somewhere.


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