Friday, 22 February 2013

À la recherche du temps perdu

A campaign to improve hospital food featured prominently on the News. Rightly so, t was one of the striking things about the Circle run hospitals; the quality of the food was outstanding. So it should be; the connection between the words hospital and hospitality are not coincidental. As I've blogged before one of my members runs the St John's Hospital in Bath. Established in the 12th century it was a place of refuge and support. It did indeed provide hospitality as part of the healing process. We have forgotten this important lesson.

Mind you I'm not at all sure about the breakfasts in my old College. Rather dire this morning. All self service. Not at all as I remember. But of course it was 40 years since I sat here as an undergraduate, surrounded by the grand portraits of former Housemen (13 Prime Ministers no less). I'm sure the quality of the fried eggs and bacon has declined?

That could not however be said of the Dinner on High Table; suckling pig stuffed with black pudding. It is indeed a high table, set above the serried ranks of the massed student ranks. Somehow I doubt the spotty youths were dining on suckling pig: there are things too good to be wasted on youth. Last night I was in a guest room on the same staircase in Meadows I had in 1973! I remember the view so well.

The Dean and Chapter were having breakfast together before a meeting of the Chapter so I had an amusing conversation with the Dean about my evening session with students on working in the third sector.

40 years ago I doubt anyone here would have made a career choice about working in charities. Yet now there is strong interest, backed by real potential of a strong and fascinating career in a growing sector. For no doubt, despite our funding trials, the sector is growing. It offers the answers to many of the problems faced by our public sector so impossible to think it will not grow, even despite the problems of the reform process; as demonstrated so vividly today by the PAC report on the Work Programme.

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