Friday, 26 June 2009

Life and death

Today we've said goodbye to Anthony and Ruth Dunnett of International Health Partners UK (, who have spent the last three nights here while working in their warehouse near Banbury. As a charity they 'partner with companies from across Europe to provide donated medical aid to organisations serving children and adults in the most needy communities'. It means that victims of disasters and war as well as people who have no NHS and no money can have access to the best medicines. It's a major concern, handling £10 millions of medical supplies, and very efficient. Working with NGOs and government departments is complicated hard work - but they're good at it. Acting as a b and b for them has felt like being involved in saving lives in a small way. I should have mentioned that they are parents of our lovely daughter-in-law, Penny, and so we are joint grandparents. We sometimes call them the out-laws and have great fun when we both have days off together!

Meanwhile I'm working on a joint article with Debbie Purdy for 'The Independent on Sunday'. I was really touched to be asked to do it. I'm finding it surprisingly hard, because obviously we have very different views but I really like and respect her. I don't imagine we'll agree, but hopefully we'll inject a bit of first-hand experience into the discussion and maintain our mutual affection!

Last night the news of Michael Jackson's death broke. One of my friends wrote on Facebook something like: 'Hmmm! Last night the BBC interrupted Question Time to announce Michael Jackson's death. Well, I'm sorry he's died, but get a grip...'. I'm inclined to agree, and to wonder whether comparisons with Mozart and Beethoven this morning on Radio 4 weren't a bit OTT. I'm sure he was, as Al Sharpton said, 'a historic figure'; but so are we all. Whether we end up in history's roll of honour only time will tell. I suspect he may not rank with Mozart.... One gathers that he died of a cardiac arrest doing what he was good at and enjoyed - not a bad way to go, really.

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