The last couple of weeks have been frantic what with one thing or another, not helped by a change of plan due to the snow and the subsequent disruption up and down the country.
Luckily I was able to pop in on my inlaws in the Valleys to check they were AOK. Of course they were, they proudly showed off their fridge and freezer contents, no signs of them going hungry this decade. They were also lucky as they had water when so many of their neighbours didn’t so had a constant stream of visitors filling up bottles and checking on them, which I was touched by. It’s all a distant memory now, but I do hear from my weather friends that it’s due to return this weekend - Granny Valley will be ok in the food stakes at least!
Last week I accompanied Elizabeth Burton-Phillips MBE to Malvern College where she delivered a hard hitting and thought provoking talk to pupils then parents. To be back at my old school talking to pupils who were my age when I left was surreal to say the least. I was asked by Elizabeth to say a few words, so I did.
I said "they were very lucky to hear this talk and see the presentation from Elizabeth, a wife, mum, granny, who through her pain and grief wrote a book “Mum, can you lend me twenty quid”, started DrugFam a charity to support those families affected and bereaved by addiction which was awarded the Queen’s Voluntary Award, who organised a service at Westminster Abbey attended by 2000 people, who had a reception at No 10, and a few days later she was awarded the MBE. If we had heard this talk when we were teenagers it would have been a different outcome for two of our year".
If someone had said “don’t do drugs” their lives might have been different. As Russell Brand said about Elizabeth “Liz can perform that rare alchemy turning the base metal of pain into the gold of compassion”. DrugFam is one of Waitrose’s green token charities in Wokingham this month, just saying and the book is available to buy, for more information about the book or to purchase it please call the office on 01494 442 777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I swapped the Malvern Hills for the Brecon Beacons and Craig y Nos Country Park for the second day of Brecon Beacons National Park Ambassador training. Who knew that Adelina Patti was the lady in the bath in the Pears advert or that in one concert in her day she would earn as much money as Lady Gaga and Madonna jointly today. I’m collecting these little nuggets for any pub quiz I might attend, or they might feature on Mastermind (high scorer), Pointless (middle of the road scorer) and University Challenge (if I get one answer correct I’m happy) that I join in with!
Actually if I was to be on Mastermind my chosen subject would be Hinterland, a Welsh crime noir set in West Wales with an amazing cast, or Keeping Faith with a raft of fabulous actors including a number of the Hinterland cast plus a superb soundtrack by the very talented Amy Wadge who has a long established writing partnership with Ed Sheeran. The same Ed Sheeran who was at Buckingham Palace on the same day as Elizabeth Burton-Phillips, such a small world!
Whilst I am on the subject of awards I was at the National Tourism Awards at the Celtic Manor last week where Only Men Aloud were one of the after dinner entertainers, Sian Lloyd was the host for the evening and I was quite possibly the only English person in that room living in England that promotes and shares Wales.
Excitingly Brecon Beacons won the award for best destination in Wales.
If you’ve been to the Brecon Beacons (or from that area, after all Wokingham has a huge number of Welsh) then you’ll know how beautiful and varied the area is, and I’m an Ambassador which makes me hugely proud.