I went to dinner with Polly Toynbee and Dan Snow last week. And very nice they were too. I wasn't quite their personal dinner guest...I was at the annual dinner (indeed the inaugural annual dinner) for the Electoral Reform Society. I'm not much involved, but the thought of a dinner with people who are passionate about democracy quite appealed. I'm more of a social media warrior than a get your boots dirty trooper. Anyway, it was quite interesting, on one side of me was a Conservative Councilor from south London, and opposite was a Labour man who was claiming the record for coming second the most amount of times in successive General Elections. Dan Snow was very passionate about the need for electoral reform...I am too, although I some of my thoughts don't really accord with the established view. Yes reform of the House of Commons and Lords, but no I don't think we need to have an elected upper chamber (hands thrown up in horror), yes lets look at the relationship between the constituent parts of the UK...independence for Scotland? Madness, but perhaps a federal system would work better for everyone more hands thrown up), etc, etc. There was an auction which raised plenty of money: I decided I couldn't afford to spend £600 to have Dan Snow guide The Boy and me round the Imperial War Museum, but someone felt they got value. Anyway, I walked out at the end with a long-legged blonde Texan. At one time I would have had scurrilous thoughts on my mind; this time it was just coincidence, and I was left puzzling why a Texan was educated at Essex University, and was on secondment to Plaid Cymru.
Everyone is either loving or being sick to the John Lewis Christmas TV ad. We think it's quite splendid, capturing the essence of what Christmas should be about. Mushy or not, it suits the season. In the meantime, I was quite entranced by these Christmas sculptures in the John Lewis Oxford Street store. You could say they've cleaned up
Many years ago the lady in the downstairs flat gave me a plant. She was planning to throw it out because it had grown tall, but all the leaves except those on top had dropped off. I kept it upstairs and it flourished under a skylight, growing to a height of about 18' (it was on the stairwell). But despite there being a few shoots on the stalk/trunk it only ever had the umbrella of leaves at the top. When I decided to redo the flat, I took the decision to become a lumberjack. Down it came. But at the last moment I decided to see if I could save it. I hacked the top off, dipped it in rooting hormone and left it in a pot of water. For about 18 months. Roots did grow behind what looked like a slimy sludge. But not to be disheartened, I potted it, and then put it on the landing in Loughton. It loved it. Leaves grew everywhere. Beautiful. We all thought it was lovely. But The Cat's Mother, who has the least green fingers of anyone I know insisted that it was too big and had to move. Reluctantly The Boy and I moved it. Disaster. Absolute disaster. I still blame the cleaner who for some reason insists on trying to look after the plants. One day in the summer she so overwatered it that we had to leave the french windows open for a week to try and dry out the carpet. The leaves started dropping off. We were left with a plant that looked as though it had been through a Philippine hurricane. Worse still it turned black at the top.. But I refused to throw it out. Just a couple of days ago, suddenly there is new growth...at the top. The Cat's Mother still wants it to go. I won't let it. But I am wondering whether come the spring I should chop it down and put the crown in rooting hormone...or can you play that trick just once?