Tag Archives: barroso

Turn out the light

Funny thing about writing a blog…I didn’t write on Friday because it was so quiet, and then today I’ve only now got round to writing because it’s finally quietened down. It’s a real case of finding the fine line between having something to say AND the time to write about it!

Today has been so busy because we had two Commissioners in town (one being the President) and a group of journalism students who are off to Brussels. One of the team was out all day with Hubner, one managing the President’s press programme, and one was off sick all morning. So I was left holding the fort, faxing the press articles to Brussels, getting things ready for the students and answering the phones. Still, it all worked out in the end and was less stressful than I thought it was going to be. The students are on the train, the president has left the building and I have no idea how Hubner is doing but I hope she had fun!

I like a day when we have a really tangible action-oriented story. Today we can announce plans are going ahead to phase out old-style “incandescent” light-bulbs (a phrase which just makes me think of lots of really annoyed lightbulbs on our shop shelves…) by 2012, to replace them with more energy-efficient bulbs. It is estimated that this will save 15 million tons of Co2 a year. 15 million tons!! If something so simple can save so much, it does make you think about where else you can make differences in your life.  If we all turn appliances off, instead of leaving them on standby, unplug chargers when we’ve used them and switch off lights when we’re not in the room, we can make a huge difference. I guess it’s that Camusian thing of focusing on how individuals can make a difference, rather than abdicating responsibility and expecting others to fix it for us. And you can save money too, something my Scottish heritage always sees as a good thing!

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Hanging around in limbo

I was in Brussels this weekend, to work on getting the house organised and see my friends of course. It was Rachel’s birthday and so we had a lovely brunch outside the Orangerie in Parc d’Egmont on Sunday. Most of my closest friends were there, which was lovely, but it was really strange to have to leave them all to go and catch the train “home”.  I got an e-mail from Rachel apologising for not talking to me much, as she still doesn’t think of me as not living there! But funnily enough, I feel based in London, I just don’t have the community of friends here yet that I do in Brussels. I’m sure I will though! It’ll also help when the move is completed and I have my own things around me – I was crazy happy yesterday at having a few more of my own clothes hanging up in the wardrobe!

The office is pretty quiet today and the phones are up the creek, which helps! I found out I have to go to Liverpool later this week with the President. My first official engagement, if you like! It’s a whirlwind visit and we’re trying to set up a press point – if you’re interested, let me know!

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Euonymics

euonym (n):

1. (obscure) A name well suited to a person, place or thing so named.

2. (contemp.) The name of the weblog of the new head of media at the European Commission office in London.

That’ll be me!

So. I arrived from Brussels on Sunday, and settled into my temporary home staying with the lovely Rob and Amanda in their lovely home in Balham. I’ll be here for a month while I get myself sorted with a place to stay. Already on Monday I went to look at somewhere – a houseboat on Eel Pie Island. It was great and I’m going to go back and have another look, as well as going along the river with my cousins to see what else there is.

The first week has been fun so far. Monday was the usual “first day at school”, unpacking boxes, getting a telephone, working out where the loos are and that sort of thing. But now I’m starting to get into it, have even taken a few phone calls!

One of my responsibilities is “cultural diplomacy” which covers the work the Rep does in promoting European culture. That’s going to be ery rewarding and right up my street! Already in this first week I’ve been to an exhibition of paintings by the Luxemburg ambassador and a film festival up at Notting Hill Gate. Last night I saw “Elle s’appelle sabine” about Sandrine Bonnaire’s autisitic sister and tonight I’m going to see “I’ve Loved You So Long” and might even get to meet the film’s star – Kirsten Scott Thomas!

One of the team is leaving on maternity leave, so we had a nice hello/goodbye lunch with the team yesterday and a baby shower. It’s going to be very different, in lots of good ways, working in a small office like this, rather than a gargantuan one like the Berlaymont. In a way it’s an atmosphere I’m used to, having grown up around embassies. And the office is in an area where I know a lot of people (all those civil servants) so it shouldbe quite easy to keep in touch with people.

The President is in town today, so the office is pretty quiet at people are out supporting him and his entourage. He’s not doing any media except a press point with the PM, so I haven’t had to get involved – which is a relief, given I know nothing at the moment. Hopefully I’ll be a bit more clued in next time he comes. The big thing here is going to be getting the planning right – like in my old job, if you plan for the things you can plan for, then the emergencies that crop up can be dealt with more effectively. So we’ve been looking at what’s coming up in the next few months to see what seems to be of particular relevance to British business or society. I think there’s some good things coming up, so watch this space!

 

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Filed under Culture, Living in London, Management, Media, Personal