Monday 16 September 2013

The Party’s Over....

Not quite time to call it a day but although summer seemed it would go on forever the temperatures have dropped, the rain has fallen and the walk to the station finds a few leaves to crunch underfoot.

I had a wonderful summer – against the backdrop of news so awful that suffering cannot even be imagined. I remember when my father died suddenly in the 1960s – he was in Johannesburg and I was in London.  My mother called me at work (an unexpected long distance phone call could only be for really bad news) and on my way home it seemed so surreal that the world was carrying on but the bottom had dropped out of my world. This summer I felt that my world was carrying on when it had imploded for so many millions.

We had a wonderful (very hot!) fortnight in Basel having fun with family with a memorable visit to the Rosengart Foundation in Lucerne – a stunning collection of 300 paintings, mainly by Picasso and Klee but also over 20 other artists of the period: a private collection put together by father and daughter and then given to the City – worth a special trip.  We also watched thousands of normally sensible people throw themselves into the Rhine for the annual Rhine swim – clothes in a waterproof bag and drifting downstream with the current.

Almost directly from there to Edinburgh with the Needlemakers Company for an action packed long weekend starting with a visit to Ethicon, our Master’s old “shop” where I continue to be impressed with the commitment to innovation – a company that had a credo in the 1940s before the whole vision/mission thing became fashionable.

Then onto the Royal College of Surgeons where we were entertained at a reception in the museum by an actor in the guise of a surgeon of the 19th century giving us the – not always honourable – history of surgery in Edinburgh. The College has a proud history even if surgery in the 16th century when it was founded did not.  Saturday saw dinner on Britannia –the former Royal Yacht where we heard from her last captain.  It is remarkably unostentatious – no wonder the great and the good could relax there and much business was done and diplomacy conducted.

Hardly time to run everything through the washing machine and then off to Stockholm with fellow International Women’s Forum UK members to visit the Swedish Forum.  As with all IWF events the success is not only what you do but the people you meet – all women leaders and from a wide range of disciplines.  Keeping the nautical theme (from Britannia) our first stop was the Vasa Museum – Vasa was a gunship which sank on her maiden voyage (20 minutes from port) in 1628 and was salvaged in 1961 and is rightly Stockholm’s most popular attraction.

Our last stop on Sunday morning was the most powerful. In summary Livstycket “is a contemporary knowledge and design centre in Tensta, Stockholm in which women from all around the world participate” and they learn Swedish and integrate into the community.  Oh yes, the products are stunning – please look at the website.

Now it is back to work – portable air-conditioner back in the cupboard, track suit on, coffee to hand and writing this has postponed dealing with all my emails for a while.......