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Family time in an English village

I had planned to go to the Online meeting in London this week, and to do my usual racing around London to talk up new projects, but in the end I spent the whole time in the country with what I can only describe as my English family, the family of my oldest friend from early days in London, just after college. Many things have happened since the summer day when she took me to meet her family at her younger brother’s school sports day. The boys’ regular uniform consisted of black coats with long tails worn over knickerbockers and bright gold knee socks: a guild school tradition from god knows how many centuries before, and I was enchanted.

This visit came fortuitously after a sudden bereavement, and I was glad to be able to be there to help out a little. When my kids realize that I cooked a meal every night, they may become more demanding at home. Especially when they hear that I was producing things like game pie and toad-in-the-hole. Somehow, in spite of all the sadness and trauma, I feel quite restored by the chance to do something completely different from my usual round, and also to connect again with what, strange though it sounds, I can only call my English roots.

Coincidentally, only this week have David and I finished plans for an Berkshire Encyclopedia of Intimate Relationships, to follow from our previous Encyclopedia of Community and Encyclopedia of Leadership. This new work will explore the extensive research and complex current issues in all the human connections that are emotionally or physically intimate: parents and children, lovers, friends. Intimate relationships is a huge field of study, and a subject that touches, changes, and challenges every one of us. I feel a little as if I’ve been doing cross-cultural field work this week!

Now I’m in Rome for the World Congress of History Producers, my chance to learn about making documentary history series and to meet producers and television people from around the globe.

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