I can't believe it's over three weeks since I last updated this blog. A combination of cranking things up a gear as we begin to approach the local elections and trying to earn a crust at the same time tends to relegate otherwise important work. On such occasions the protocol is to summarise.
An interesting meeting took place a few weeks ago involving several elected members, the London Borough of Hounslow's Community Cohesion officer team and a wide range of people with a wide range of views comprising the Hounslow Muslim Forum. There had been expressions of regret that the local authority had not supported a recent HMF event but the meeting gave all those present the opportunity to get to understand each other's positions a bit better.
I was pleased to be a guest at three meals in quick succession - hosted by Hounslow Community Transport (HCT), Isleworth & Hounslow Charities and Hounslow Multi-Cultural Centre respectively. Prior to the Charities gig (held at Kneller Hall) a certain Syon councillor who had arranged my attendance had forgotten to inform them that I was a vegetarian. Worse, she had forgotten to inform them that I was a vegetarian who didn't like cauliflower or green beans. On the plus side, the boiled potatoes were delicious. However, dietary idiosyncrasies notwithstanding these three thoroughly enjoyable evenings gave me and other participants an opportunity to ponder the work of some of the real, if unsung heroes of the community.
Following the dinner at the Multi-Cultural Centre I made my way back to Lampton Road to conduct a pre-recorded interview with Paul Moss for BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight, which was putting together a feature about the Corporation's decision to invite BNP leader Nick Griffin onto its flagship Question Time programme. I'd never spoken to Paul before but what intrigued me about this particular interview was that, whilst we were arranging it, Paul actually told me quite a lot about himself. He is a West London lad, a few years younger than myself, and had actually gone to school with one of the people I had been in the National Front with back in the early 1980s. Despite the fact that Paul was an anti-fascist, he had a genuine interest in his subject and clearly wanted to know more than time would permit.
Then, at the weekend, it was away to the Isle of Wight with Caroline and Joe (Rosie, despite being only twelve, already decides for herself when she will condescend to come away with us and when she will stay at home instead with her grandparents). This time we stayed at Fairway Holiday Park in Sandown and after a light shower on the first night enjoyed some excellent weather for the time of year.
Back home on Monday, 27th October and two hours or so at a Group Meeting, then Borough Council the following evening where, for once, we argued about very little and got away at a reasonable hour. One incident which could have been a little contentious was when I presented a petition to the Mayor from 250 residents of Waye Avenue, Cranford, calling for improved public safety in the local area. Although Cranford is nowhere near my ward the residents there asked me to present the petition as they lacked confidence in their own (Labour) councillors. Whether this dissatisfaction will express itself in any particular way at next year's local elections I obviously cannot say.
With all my various work I never seem to get enough sleep these days. A couple of weeks ago I turned up at the local petrol station to wash my car, only to realise that I hadn't brought my car with me. Very worrying.
Today I drove 32 miles to take Joe to a football match at Hatch End that was postponed a few minutes before we got there, then all the way across to SW1 and along the Chelsea Embankment to collect Rosie from a "sleepover" at the home of one of her schoolfriends. Luckily I remembered my car this time.