Good grief. One week into 2014 already. Thanks to those who got in touch during the two-week break about the state of our new kitchen. They were probably seeking reassurance that I’ll shut up about it this year. I particularly liked the email from a reader who said that, in the same situation, she’d moved her old kitchen into the garage. Now there’s forward thinking.
Another woman renowned for planning ahead is Anna Kennedy, who opened her school for autistic children in Hillingdon in 1999, and has since branched out into projects connected with her passion for helping people with the condition. It was great to join her at the House of Commons recently for the results of her survey, the largest of its kind involving people with autism. The work was carried out by volunteers from her charity and the results can be read on http://annakennedyonline.com/ .
Among the speakers were Carrie and David Grant, very recognisable as voice coaches on several TV talent shows, who have family members with learning disabilities, including autism. They spoke movingly of their experiences.
Another trip to London saw me pouncing on performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah at an evening organised by Brunel University at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). The gathering was for former students on creative writing courses.
I couldn’t wait to ask the poet – a fellow Brummie and now a professor at the university – about the BBC Two series Peaky Blinders in which he played a small part. The series was set in Birmingham after the First World War and, this year being the centenary of the outbreak of the war, Mr F and I hope to visit the battlefields, something I’ve long wanted to do. My grandad Joe survived the battles of the Somme as a boy soldier. I just wish I’d talked to him about it when he was alive.
Anyway, back to the kitchen saga. It is over. Almost. We have a breakfast bar, but nowhere to sit yet, so we’ve been standing to attention to eat our toast. If we don’t sit down soon we’ll need serious help from an osteopath. Or perhaps we just need more of my grandad’s backbone.
Happy New Year.