This week, I have managed to have a fuller than desirable diary. Fuller in the sense that I failed to get enough of my weekly “to do” done. Fuller in spending my time going from meeting to meeting without a pause for breath. Fuller by virtue of my own poor planning, so I have only myself to blame.
These sort of self-inflicted rushing around weeks generally mean that the part of the job that I neglect is people (and emails building up in a depressing load in my inbox). However, in rushing around between meetings, I fail to actually spend time with our residents and employees apart from brief “hellos” in corridors and waves in the Orangery. And the result is that I can feel stressed and unfulfilled.
This week, there was however one saving grace. My diary on Wednesday afternoon at 4pm says “Reading Group”. Earlier this year, I put my name down as a volunteer reader in our scheme for partially sighted residents. I ended up reading newspaper articles with a small group of Middleton Grove residents. One is partially sighted but the remainder have perfectly good eyesight so the group has evolved into a current affairs discussion group.
So the pattern now is that we choose two articles from the magazine section of my favourite newspaper. The BBC news website. I read each article and we all discuss it. The normally all female group never lacks intelligence, knowledge or opinions. The hour I spend with this charming group is always rewarding and we all invariably learn something – about history or sometimes about each other.
This week we learnt about a city facing a homeless epidemic of shanties. Not in Syria or Mumbai. Los Angeles. A city that is spending one billion dollars on one new building and yet has 45,000 homeless people sleeping on the streets. Then we talked about “Suffrajitsu”. How the suffragettes learnt jiu-jitsu to defend themselves in their struggle 100 years ago. From the impact that those brave women have had on all our lives since to whether we should have a quota system for women in government (yes was the answer).
So thank you to the current affairs discussion group for reminding me what is important. Now, back to catching up on my emails…