Friday, June 20, 2014

That was the week that was…part 1

Another photo-heavy post I'm afraid!

Wednesday marked the start of a 2 day adventure in the City of London, a place I used to know well but had almost forgotten so many years have passed.

I took this photo as the train pulled into London Bridge station. That evening I would be heading off to what is affectionately referred to as the Gherkin (the torpedo shaped building to the right of the photo) to hear a very important announcement.

As it was an early start the next morning, for part 2 of the event, I had to stay overnight and I was staying in a hotel on Southwark Bridge Road, just over the river from the City and only a short walk from the station.
The obligatory selfie
As soon as I'd dumped my bags and phoned Mike to let him know I'd arrived safely I was off out to explore the area.

I used to know this part of London very well but hadn't been back for over 21 years so I went straight away to see this old pub where I'd spent many happy hours with colleagues after work!

It's situated by the railway line adjacent to Borough market and so I had a leisurely wander through there, admiring all the stalls.

Then it was a quick trip to get some cash for taxis etc and back to the hotel to get ready. On my way back I noticed this massive panel with pink lights. There was another one the other side of the arch and I suspect it was a nightclub but couldn't see a sign anywhere.


What was the event I was attending? This -

Exciting hey?!

I was meeting up with 2 fellow Champions of Alzheimer's Research UK, Carol and Patrick Franklin-Adams, and their friend David who was acting as Patrick's helper. Patrick has had early-onset Alzheimer's for the past 10 years or more and they have raised a massive amount of money for ARUK.

We met in the hotel lobby before heading out into the sunshine for a walk across the Thames. I loved this view of the skyline with all the cranes - note the open-top tour bus on the right.

We hopped into a taxi and were  soon outside the Gherkin. It looks enormous close-up!

Close-up of the structure which seems massive when you're right next to it
After the security check-in we were ushered towards the lobby and told to take the lift to the 34th floor and then change to go right to the top. I can't find any information about this striking sculpture.

We were there nice and early so I was able to have a leisurely chat with some familiar friends and take some photos of the extraordinary views.

Tim Parry, Head of Communications at ARUK
A happy me with a glass of wine! 
From left to right: David, Hilary Evans (Director of external affairs, ARUK), Carol and Patrick
One of my favourite Trustees,  Prof Peter Lantos
I took photos all the way round as it was just a stunning view but I've restricted myself to my 3 favourites here:

An arty shot showing the Shard and the Walkie-talkie buildings
The pointy building far away on the left is Canary Wharf. I love seeing the River Thames curling round as you don't  get that feeling when you're at ground level
Beautiful Tower Bridge (we run over that during the London marathon and it marks the halfway point) with the Tower of London in the centre of the photo. The big modern building on the left is the hotel where the elite athletes stay ahead of the London marathon and is where I've been for the Press Conference/photo shoot.
There were speeches from ARUK's Chairman, David Mayhew CBE & Dr Dennis Gillings, World Dementia Envoy. In brief, the announcement was about a campaign to raise £100m to fund a new phase of research. Now that's wonderful news and a brilliant effort from all the team at ARUK!

Then we heard from Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health. He made a bit of a faux pas which I can't repeat verbatim but basically said that we are copying the model for dementia used by the Japanese which makes a change because they usually wait for us to design something and then copy it!
Looking up-beat before…..
There was an audible gasp and some nervous giggling as people realised what he'd said. The Japanese delegates did not look impressed and I felt really sorry for them as it was quite embarrassing.
Oops, better back-track a bit!
Apparently he apologised to them afterwards so hopefully that smoothed things over a bit. People were still talking about it the next day though.

Then it was time for a bit more socialising with some Trustees I didn't know already and people I've met elsewhere. I had a lovely chat to a lady from Wales whose interest is in the care side of things so we had a long chat about my mum and how I felt that caring for her at home had extended the period in which she remained able to function at a near-normal level.

I was careful not to drink too much wine and left nice and early to head back to the hotel for an early night in readiness for the next day. I was very excited about what was going to happen the next day!

Part 2 will follow asap.

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