If we were having coffee, I would be telling you about the most fantastic last seven days.
Last Saturday, I was at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards (ABBA) in the Grand Wellington Hotel in Vincent Square in London. What a great time we had! Apart from all the awards, we had two great talks from Laura Creaven and Gemma Todd and a workshop on creating flatlay photos for your blog. The greatest part of the day, for me, is the opportunity to network with such an amazing mix of bloggers and writers. Some are now old friends, from previous bashes. Each time we meet, we learn more about each other. It is always interesting and stimulating. Then there were new friends. There was so much, almost tangible, enthusiasm and energy in the room. Everybody was fired up. I can’t believe that anyone left the hotel not thinking about returning for ABBA 2020.
On Tuesday evening, we met for the AGM of Andover Green Party. I was delighted to be appointed as the Chair and we made plans to run a long time to run a long campaign to position ourselves to challenge the Tory MP when the next general election is called. The first steps are to nominate our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate. I intend to put myself forward.
Thursday was a very exciting day for me. I was an ambassador at TeenTech Hampshire for the second consecutive year. This is a hugely inspiring event which is the brainchild of Maggie Philbin, who is passionate about the cause. There are many sponsors, who are all companies who showcase their innovative technologies. The core of the event is STEM. Three hundred year eight pupils from schools around Hampshire attend. The main auditorium is laid out with thirty tables, seating ten children with a teacher from their school and an ambassador, who is an experienced representative of their industry.
I was very lucky to be assigned to Table 2, populated by ten St Swithun’s students and their physics teacher. I say that I “was very lucky,” because this group proved to be, in my opinion, the best team in the whole event. My opinion was confirmed by the number of prizes that they deservedly won for their performances and inputs during the day. Some of my fellow ambassadors also commented on how impressed they were with this team.
All ten of the students at my table were great and represented their school in the best possible light.
The young lady who was sitting to my right was awarded the prize for her “best idea of the day.” Scientists and technologists from sponsoring companies judged over a thousand ideas that the students had been sticking onto the Ideas Board during the day. They selected this girl’s idea of manufacturing carrier bags that disintegrate into fish food when they come into contact with sea water. She listed the two main impacts as feeding the fish and saving turtles. To be selected as the top idea is quite an achievement!
The whole St Swithun’s Table 2 Team came up with one of the most impressive innovative inventions for the next 50 years. They called it HyperPlant 2030. They all deserve credit for coming up with the design and their creative use of technology. The idea was very well presented by two of my ten students, who had practiced their pitch to get the timing and wording right and finished off with a powerful punchline. Excellent!
They were also one of the best teams at assembling a gear box in Xtrac’s workshop and challenge.
KPMG set an engineering challenge to build a tall tower out of paper, sticky tape and straws. The challenge wasn’t simply to build the tallest free-standing tower. The other elements were to make it profitable, taking into account the cost of the materials at £500k per item and being credited with one million pounds for each centimetre of height. The girls were divided into pairs for the challenge. The winning pair, from all of the schools throughout the day, were, once again, from St Swithun’s Table 2.
TeenTech is a tremendous event. It is very well-organised and supported by sponsors and participant companies and presenters. However, it could never achieve its amazing success without the support of Hampshire schools and the unbounded positive attitudes of the students.
Saturday was my Ruby Wedding.
Forty years ago, on 22nd June 1979, I married my darling Joy at Andover Registry Office. The ceremony was followed by a reception at The Cricketers public house in Longparish, where we’d met, four months before on 15th February 1979. The wedding breakfast consisted Ploughman’s Lunch and Champagne. How classy is that?!
The photo of us with the pub landlady, Doreen Beecroft, in the garden of the pub. We are still friends with her. She lives not far from us, in Charlton, Andover.
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