Brace yourself; here’s my annual political post…



Fellow moderates, let’s not be too late to the party. I consider myself pretty much the middle of the middle when it comes to politics. I’m way left of hard right and way right of hard left. I haven’t always voted the same way and I’ve never considered becoming a member of a political party but I’ve suddenly had a mega watt serious realisation that I’m wrong (it doesn’t...

Harvesting Broadband…



How hard can it be, bringing fibre optic to the estate and our neighbours? Pretty blooming hard as it turns out. Going through the process of negotiating with BT Openreach, establishing a community of neighbours who want fibre-optic and are prepared to pay for it, managing the application process, negotiating the terms and finalising the deal has taught me quite a bit about the challenges of private-public collaboration and...

Kemsing Station Development



Sometimes the scariest thing to do is the right thing. This week St Clere has submitted our plans to build housing in Kemsing. For years the pressure has been mounting, and the pressure comes from two (or more) sides. On one side we all know that we need housing that our key workers and children can afford to buy, that central government (whichever party is in power) will demand...

At Last! Not quite so Top Secret…



Last Thursday/Friday we had an incredible team from the Bank of England use St Clere for what it’s best used for.  Houses like St Clere were built for leaders of industry and government to a) show off and b) entertain.  Entertaining in the old days meant inviting other influential people (well, men really) down for a weekend.  I imagine much drinking of brandy, smoking of cigars over the billiard...

What a difference a creak makes



For eight years we’ve all learned the best route to walk across the landing (which is known as the Prayer Landing) between our bedroom and the kids’ rooms.  Depending upon the time of day, you pick your path and run the gauntlet. During the day you charge straight ahead, anticipating precisely each of the gun shot cracks, horror movie creaks and haunted house groans that emerge from the floor...

Mid Life Crisis c/o the Christmas Tree



Saturday 1PM; The raw ingredients are promising;  eight strings of lights (put away super carefully last year), christmas music playing, three willing tweens, two hooked walking sticks and a 14 foot tree from St Clere woodland. 2PM; I’m on my own, I’ve sent the tweens away for their own safety and so they don’t see the major flaws in my character which are emerging.  The first of the eight strings...

Lights, Camera, Action



There’s a story about my parents attending my year 4 parents evening.  The new teacher talked about how I was doing with my times tables and spelling tests etc, and then there was a long pause.  “She’s got a very vivid imagination” she said, apparently rather hesitantly.  “She entertains us all with stories of her pretending to play with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and Angela Lansbury”.  My...

I wouldn’t want to be in Theresa May’s shoes



After years of hum-ing and ha-ing I’ve finally retired from mediating.  I still believe mediation is the only way to go for separating couples, it makes sense in every way; it should be cheaper, you keep control of what happens to you and your kids, and at the end of the process you should be proud that you’ve ended your marriage in a civil way.  However, being a mediator is not...

The Best Bits



  Unlike accountants who have their year end in April, and the rest of the country who have their year end on New Year’s Eve my year end is the day the kids go back to school in September.  Day One, I clear the surfaces in the kitchen of the summer-holiday-detritus-build-up.  Day Two, I tackle the non-urgent emails that have disappeared off the bottom of my screen in my...

Europe – Hoisting my flag to the mast



A couple of months ago, the French Tricolore flag flew over St Clere during some filming. I felt profoundly uncomfortable; I am proudly, emphatically patriotic when it comes to our nation and St Clere’s place in it. On the day the referendum was announced, I was firmly sitting on the fence. To begin with my only certainty was that we shouldn’t be having a referendum about something as important...