Friday, 6 June 2008

Ties and celebrating countryside

Ties; an inters ting item on the Today programme; apparently the sale of ties has plummeted by 50 percent in the States in the last decade . I think of my staff decadently lolling around in their jeans and T shirts as it is so called "dress down Friday " . When did I ever agree this , I wonder?

I , of course have a miraculous collection of ties , ranging from the aesthetically pleasing to the visually challenging . I have a great selection of Duchamp ties , the very Krug of the tie world . You can always tell a Duchamp the sector leading proponents are David Fielding of Rockpools , Davis Emerson of the Association of Charitable Foundations and Tony Hawkhead of Groundwork . I had a very pleasing tie on for James put his boring off red politicians tie into the shade and will have looked most pleasing in the photo in the Nottingham Evening Post.

As you can tell I am not in the tie less acevo office today . In fact I am visiting a member : James Money-Kyle who runs Plunkett , a social enterprise which promotes rural enterprise and , a cause after my own heart , the value of local food. They are based in Woodstock and we have an agreeable lunch where I celebrate a good visit to the doctors and a surprisingly good result from my 3 month blood test for the diabetes . So its celebration time with a Macon Lugny and a pudding ! A summer pudding no less. Oh how happy I feel .

James is a great example of a forward looking and dynamic CEO who is promoting a business and professional approach in the sector generally and in rural social enterprise in particular . It is an interesting organisation , set up to celebrate the life of an amazing Anlgo - Irish politician Sir Horace Plunkett. He devoted his life to promoting rural enterprise based on what he called the 3 " betters " ; better farming , better business and better living.

They have a grant from the Lottery to support local food , and have been promoting Farmers Markets as cooperative ventures . We have a Farmers Market in Charlbury and i love the opportunity it presents to but local cheeses and local meet and fish and proper organic vegetables. But often these are run under the auspices of a local authority . They ought to be run by the producers and consumers themselves ; a notion that Plunkett are busy promoting.

I always thoroughly enjoy getting out and meeting and visiting members in their organisations . It helps keep you grounded. And after a week of heavy and sustained activity it is a welcome relief . It is such a privilege running acevo , being at the forefront of policy making for the sector , pushing forward the demands and desires of our membership and getting change. But when you are in the lead on policy making it brings many demands on your time and energy. It has been exhausting this week . Not enough sleep . Not enough relaxation . So this weekend is 2 days of indulgence.

Bring it on .

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