In which debates are held, dinner is served, tweeters dance and gender role reversals are finally undone

A thoroughly pleasant weekend! Yesterday was QPCS’s Summer Fair, and as usual they held some mini-debates between student members of the debating club (an innovation since my day, *sniff*) and parents. Being too old to qualify as a student of any sort (*sniff*, again) I was rather delighted to be invited onto the ‘parents’ side this year, despite my obvious failure to reach the sole required qualification. We had been assigned to argue the proposition for the motion that Britain today is a more civilised country than 21 years ago – it is, I tell you, although maybe not for much longer! – and thankfully, what with Britain being all civilised and that, no-one seemed to object too much to the fact that my mum was also one of the judges. (Not that it helped, anyway ) Anyway! It was fun, is all, as was the fair itself. To mark the school turning 21, they had a little exhibition up on its history, which was actually quite moving when you consider the circumstances into which QPCS was born. Brent in the 1980s was touchingly ahead of its time in many respects, but the idea of a mass exodus of students from its schools is pretty chilling…

Yes, so anyway, after the fair I went to Joshua and Niamh’s for dinner / drinks / rehashed debates about how to make a White Russian. All very enjoyable, except at about 11 I realised that I was dangerously close to just curling up on the sofa and contentedly dozing off, which probably would not have been greatly appreciated. So forcing myself to get up, I moved on to join the rest of my family at the Fox household’s multi-birthday bash, a house which I haven’t been to in years but which is instantly warm and comforting as a place where I spent many happy childhood days. (Including, let it be noted, the place where Tash and I were left to play whilst Katie emerged into the world.)

(You could tell it was a party of the great and the good, because everyone from Twitter was there! @charlottespeech, @giantlawnmower, @theyspellalice … all real and speaking in more than 144 characters at once. Excellent. I think if @alextrafford had shown up, I’d have been so overwhelmed I’d had have to run into the garden at once in order to get reception to tweet about it.)

(Oh, and the chocolate cake was superb. Happy birthday, Jack and Charlotte!)

And then today was Saoirse’s eighteenth seventeenth birthday picnic in Green Park, which was also suitably well attended by further delightful people: Saoirse, obviously, DF, Tash, Abbi, Paul, Sanna, Robert, Emily, Lucy, Alice, Jamie, Eliezer – have I forgotten anyone? – plus a very decent amount of food and drink. But after a great time, I still made sure I got home in time for the World Cup final – I know, weird, right? – reflecting an immense softening of my heart this time around. The tectonic plates have now shifted in our household, however, since dad has also joined in with the football – and as a result, the old reliable family quirk about the boys completely ignoring the World Cup while the girls sit around the TV has been forever broken.

(We’ll have to come up with something new now!)

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