Friday, 1 April 2011

What a night!

I am recovering from a fun evening hosting Sir Stephen Bubb, CEO of ACEVO

with his lovely partner Tony, our Japanese social enterprise friends, Ichiro TsukamotoProfessor of Public Management at Meiji University in Tokyo, his wife Mariko, also a Professor, their very sweet baby Ai, Ichiro's research assistant, Rumi Miura, and Stephen's dog, Sparkles.

I knew it was going to be interesting when Stephen and Tony walked through the door just as Stephen was holding forth on ITV Charities in Crisis, about cuts to the charity sector. Having Stephen on wide-screen and in person was a surreal moment and not entirely understood by our Japanese guests, whom I fear might have been left with the impression that we had put a video of Stephen on because he was, as it where, in the house. Oh dear!

Before Mike Leigh got hold of the evening's script, we heard from Ichiro about the difficulties faced by the Japanese during and after the earthquake and tsunami. Like everyone, I have been really moved by the terrible events there but I was specifically worried about them, so it was lovely to see them in person and know that they and their families were alright, although as Mariko said, many others were not as fortunate.  

After champagne to celebrate Stephen's knighthood, things quickly livened up when Sparkles lived up to her name and kept slipping her moorings and dashing through the house from the garden where we were trying to keep her. This led to much consternation about the baby who has an allergy to dogs. At one stage, we had Hubbie with Ichiro et al in one part of the house and Stephen et al with me in another. 

Still I think everyone enjoyed themselves, certainly we all drank enough to have made it a memorable evening, except poor old Tony who had to drive. Hubbie put on a nice spread and my allotment-generated rhubarb tart went down well. Our Katie really enjoyed playing with Ai and our house rabbit Nibbles. Oh it was a hoot, when you opened a door you didn't know what you were going to find.  

I hit my bed like a train, not least because this has been a busy week even by my standards. I had a number of speaking engagements, attended Voice 11, the social enterprise get-together which was great fun, wrote two pieces for the Guardian, did a live Q&A with them yesterday on a Spin-out Surgery and worked on our new site in all the other hours, so the earliest I had been to bed for about a week was 2am. Still the good thing about being a mum is it trains you to perform regardless of sleep deprivation.

I do hope you like the new SEL site. I got a lovely email last night from the designer, Leon, who said that he most commonly worked with large corporate clients and had to take his hat off to us for achieving the mammoth task of reworking, rebuilding and rewriting such a large site with our resources and so quickly. Apparently it should have taken 1012 weeks and we did it in two. That would explain the late nights. But it was a team effort, which is how we do everything at SEL, everyone chipped in and I think it shows – real love and real effort not just from some anonymous contractor but SEL member the digital creative agency Sumac, working with the whole SEL team, including Co-Chair, Sophi Tranchell CEO at Divine who came up with some great ideas. I'd love to know what you think of our joint efforts.

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