Well blog followers, I’m back.
You may or may not be aware that I’ve had an interesting few weeks. After the first bout of snow at the end of November, SEC held its winter Council Meeting, its AGM and then hosted the reception to announce the winner of the Triodos-SEC Social Vision photo competition. It was one of those busy, busy days. So busy in fact that I forgot to eat. Heading home I stopped off for a take away in an unknown neighbourhood. Unfortunately I got more than I bargained for and ended up with a bout of what I know now to be e-coli that had been hiding in some rotten rice.
Well, without going into too much grisly detail, this episode led to some horrific internal gastric bleeding. Within a couple of days I was admitted to Whipps Cross hospital for treatment and emergency surgery. (I shall avoid making the obvious observations here about whether as a foundation trust hospital, Whipps Cross hospital is at all socially enterprising.)
Anyhow, if that wasn’t enough whilst the docs were at work they discovered a couple of complications which led to me being out of action for a few weeks.
After a couple of weeks’ superb aftercare from my two sets of parents in Kent and London, and another rushed return to Whipps Cross A&E, I decided with the encouragement of my GP to resurrect my cancelled plans to visit New Zealand and Australia; a family celebration that been over a year in the planning.
I arrived to a warm climate, a spectacular landscape and the natural thermal pools of Hanmer Springs in New Zealand. An incredible place that no doubt quickened my recovery. New Zealand is one of the most laid back places on earth; it is the inspiring mountains, beaches and southern skies that dictate this pace of life. Then an earthquake struck and I found myself huddled intimately under the dining table with ten relatives and four dogs. Well this Christmas was certainly all about getting close to one’s family.
I later found myself in Melbourne. I was recovering enough to want to experience Melbourne’s socially-enterprising side. I found that Fifteen Melbourne had, without explanation, morphed to become the Kitchen Cat and wasn’t open until after my departure date, but I did find an excellent alternative new venture called Streat Cafe. Mobile coffee stands retailing delicious fair-trade, organic coffee. They train people without homes as coffee baristas and are also offering delicious street food by newly-trained ex-homeless chefs. All profits supporting Melbourne’s attempts to rid itself of a growing homelessness problem. A great social enterprise, excellently executed. Nice work indeed.
I also bought some fab underwear courtesy of Pants to Poverty and the Friends of Earth shop on Smith Street, a wonderfully boho neighbourhood outside of Melbourne’s central district. I’ll of course be wearing my new pants to VOICE 11 but don’t expect a picture.
And so I return to London in torrential rain this weekend (after flying home and sharing drinks, thoughts and goodwill with little Frankie Detori and leading Aussie social entrepreneur, Lachlan Bunn, Aussie founder of World Challenge). I’m kind of recovered and raring to go… and a bit excited by the news that has passed me by whilst over in the southern hemisphere; Steve Wyler gets a much deserved and overdue OBE and Steve Bubb gets a knighthood. Congratulations to both.
I’ll be seeing you around very soon but my fantastic team are intending to keep me office-bound in the short term (following strict medical advice apparently). They have been an inspiration since my forced and unexpected removal from work and have done the social enterprise community proud. Voice tickets are selling fast, the programme is developing at a pace, entries to the Social Enterprise Awards are coming thick and fast (you have just over 24 hours left – get moving!) and contributors are lining up to make the programme innovative, exciting, and refreshing. Voice 11 will be a huge marketplace for the best our movement has to offer. Our Chair and board have also done a great job in covering my unplanned absence. It’s great to be back. Thanks twitter friends for all your kind words and wishes and for the messages of support from the wider SE non-tweeting community.