Been a busy few days – went to talks this evening and yesterday evening. Considering that I normally work in the evenings, these nights out result in coming home and having to put in an extra hour or two before crashing.

Last night was a long planned wander over to the Post Office Archive for a talk about the infamous Post Office underground railway – more affectionately known as the Mail Rail. There was a showing of a 10 minute video made in 1987 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the railway – and then a talk about the Archive’s curator.

To be honest, he didn’t really say a lot I didn’t already know – but it was good to have a refresher course to remind me of what I knew.

However – he mentioned a report compiled in 1911 to promote the railway and it went into a lot of detail about the earlier pneumatic based post office railway. I didn’t know about that document and shall have to wander back to the Archive centre to have a read as it could be quite helpful for my own researches.

This evening though – I wandered along to the LSE in Holborn for an "in conversation" type talk with Cherie Blair, wife of our former Prime Minister. Cherie Blair is undeniably one of those people who elicit very strong reactions in most people. I certainly veer towards the "heads in hands in despair" opinion about her time when in 10 Downing St., but I have a lot of respect for her work as a lawyer and human rights campaigner.

Incidentally, I go to so many events where I am often one of the youngest people in the room, but this evening I was in a room where probably two-thirds of the people were younger than myself. Makes a change!

The first two thirds of the evening was basically Howard Davies of the LSE in chat with Cherie Blair and talking mainly about her life and anecdotes about being the wife of a national leader. In all, very amusing stuff and worth listening to – along with the odd bit of politics thrown in.

Who the heck voted Tony Blair as gay hunk of the week – although he was apparently quite flattered by the decision!

The final bit was questions from the audience, and we got a bit more human rights discussed, which was a very interesting to hear her views on. There was a book signing event afterwards, but to be honest, I doubt I would read the book if I had brought a copy, the reviews put me off a bit. I also prefer my political books to be by the politicians themselves.

Cherie Blair is one of those people who can command huge prices for public speaking – so it was a rare treat to be able to hear her opinions for free.

Despite some very tempting options, I’m going to try and avoid the lecture circuit tomorrow – I need a night off 😉


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