So I have spent the entire week in the style of a Gadabout, of a Woman Around Town. To be honest it was mostly work, getting to know my fellow workers at GEM magazine, making contacts, meeting the people who are the city's movers and shakers, but that's not to say I didn't have fun too. In fact there was almost a common theme to the events...there was a drawing together of the past and the future in a way that made me really reflect.
The events began with an invitation to attend The Walk of Heroes and Walk of Stars hosted by Westside BID [Business Improvement District]. Moving speeches delivered by The Mayor of Birmingham and Professor Carl Chinn, commemorated four soldiers from the Birmingham area who had stepped beyond the bravery shown by every member of our armed forces, to something truly unique, displaying a valour in the midst of battle that went above and beyond the call of duty.
The soldiers had served in wars as varied as the Anglo-Zulu War and World War I and yet there was a commonality to their valour, a desire to help others at the sake of their own lives. I can only imagine the terror of their individual situations and I hope that the world does not keep having to sacrifice such brave and noble individuals to the folly of battle!
But there was a lighter side too, with the presentation by Jasper Carrott of a granite star for actor Ian Lavender, for his accomplishments on screen during his illustrious career. I laughed alongside Jasper and Ian as they talked about Mr Lavender's recollections of his childhood in Birmingham. Both men were funny, witty and erudite and displayed manners which have been all but lost in the mists of time. So just in case you missed it before, here is my picture with Jasper [who I have to say, didn't look a day over fifty!].
My next function to attend was the Super Sonic car event, hosted by business accountancy firm Moore Stephens. Here I met Richard Noble and learned about the World Land Speed Record, looking at vintage films of previous attempts and successes.
Now I have to admit to being ignorant about all things motorised... but I was fascinated! The idea that a car can go from 0 to 1000 mph in less than a minute - well that takes your breath away, doesn't it?
I was almost thinking that if they could just make one with enough room for me, my kids, dogs and luggage then the annual trip to Glasgow wouldn't be so bad after all... Joking aside, this project may seem impractical when you look at our roads and current driving conditions, but what is going on here is the forerunner of future transport. Richard and his team are not pushing the boundaries of what is possible, they are breaking them into splinters, smashing them to smithereens and rebuilding them in their own image.
The project is not only about revolutionising future transport, it is about revolutionising our economy and our education system and our future workers, for without engineers of the future, no further progress will be made! That's why Richard's team is working closely with schools, to encourage young people into this field.
My next two events were more social. Praza on the Hagley Road is divine, take it from me. I had never been there before, so was a little unprepared for the gorgeous food [I actually had seconds!] and the great atmosphere. As I was driving, I can't attest to the cocktails but the people around me were all 'oohing' and 'ahhing' over them, so I assume they were as exquisite as the food.
And the Burlington - goodness me how I love this building and its staff. I was treated to an indoor barbeque, with little mini burgers and mouth-watering salads and desserts and games on the 'lawn'. This time I took the train and thoroughly enjoyed myself!
But lest you think its all play and no work, I must tell you that I spent the whole of Saturday hacking down the triffids in my new garden. My legs, hands and arms are sliced up like I have been in battle with the alien from Predator and the garden looks worse if that's even possible, with huge piles of cut vegetation that I have no idea how I am going to dispose of!
So for now, folks that's it! Don't forget Split Decision launches on the 4th of July and you can still help Thunderclap it [see previous post]. More to follow on the paperback launch.
N.B. The tickets for my first talk at Lord Morton's Tea Rooms are now sold out, but a further date has been agreed.