Thursday 18 November 2010

Muscles From Brussels

dmu_logo_trans After a busy day at school, I went out this evening with Bob to De Montfort University.

As part of their Professorial Lecture Series, our friend Alasdair Blair [Prof International Relations] was lecturing on the European Union. His lecture was entitled ‘Muscles From Brussels’


Alasdair had kindly invited us to attend as his guests. I was quite surprised that I actually understood most of what he was saying [it is years since I was at any sort of university lecture, and I was afraid my brain might have atrophied!]

The lecture was peppered with illustrations – cartoons, newspaper headlines, and a wonderful Jim Hacker Clip from YouTube.

Thanks Alasdair for a really informative and enjoyable evening.

Afterwards there was a reception with drinks and canapés. A number of our friends from church were also guests and we had fun chatting together. The canapés did not include sausages though!


Then Bob and I went to visit another church family, to sort out a video presentation for tomorrow’s funeral. Kathryn was very hospitable, urging us to enjoy tea, sausage rolls and gateau. Bob did just that – but I had to refuse – tomorrow morning I am having a cholesterol test and have to fast for 12 hours. I am only allowed sips of water. The water she gave me was in an attractive glass, with ice cubes.

iced water

Isn’t it strange – having been told I cannot have anything else, I am yearning for a cup of tea/slice of toast/ piece of gateau [actually, K wrapped up some cake for me to bring home and eat tomorrow morning after the blood test – so thoughtful!!]

Which all goes to show how much I take food for granted – there are hundreds of children tonight who would be grateful to have just the glass of clear, clean water.

One thing I learned about tonight – which I knew nothing of before, was ECHO – the European Community Humanitarian Office.ECHO

The European Union’s mandate to ECHO is to provide emergency assistance and relief to the victims of natural disasters or armed conflict outside the European Union.

The aid is intended to go directly to those in distress, irrespective of race, religion or political convictions.

ECHO’s task is to ensure goods and services get to crisis zones fast. Goods may include essential supplies, specific foodstuffs, medical equipment, medicines and fuel. Services may include medical teams, water purification teams and logistical support. Goods and services reach disaster areas via ECHO partners. Since 1992, ECHO has funded humanitarian aid in crisis zones of more than 85 countries via its partners. Its grants cover emergency aid, food aid and aid to refugees and displaced persons worth a total of more than €700 million per year.

yesminister I am something of a euro-sceptic, so was really pleased to hear of such positive activity!

I love Europe, just not sure about MEPs and some of their policies.

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