Grand Tour by Elisabeth Skinner MBE – East Anglia – Day 2

11 May 2022

“First stop today on Tuesday 10 May was at Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire, but I got a fright just 10 miles from home in Gloucestershire when the tyre pressure warning light came on.  I had no time to stop and sort that out!  Traffic around Oxford was sluggish as usual and the journey took nearly 40 minutes longer than Google maps suggested.  In travelling over 170 miles in total today, mostly using Google maps, I came off three roundabouts at the wrong exit (nothing too problematic) and turned right too soon only once. In fact, Google maps did a sterling job taking me into territory I had never been to before, and my phone battery gave out only as I arrived at the Airbnb near Cambridge.

I met up with four students as planned and nearly everyone chose to spend the time looking at assignments but Level 4 student, Melanie Rose at Waddesdon, took me on a short walk around the village.  We checked out a smart play area and saw a modern eco-housing development of over 40 houses – the project of the Rothschild estate which has a strong presence in the village.  As often happens, the project was not going according to plan.  I went on to meet Level 5 student, Usha Kilich, at Chipperfield in Hertfordshire.  We sorted out some ideas for the module about community development, local democracy, and climate action, and then decamped to the Two Brewers for lunch.

Twenty minutes later I was with Ryan Bennett of Croxley Green, also in Hertfordshire (Level 4).  Ryan started working with the local council almost straight from the University of Gloucestershire (UoG) where he studied history only a few years ago.  As many will know, I worked at UoG on a predecessor course of Community Governance for some 22 years.  The projects being undertaken by this council are growing fast, facilitated by some very useful money from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) but the principal authority is more of a stumbling block than it really should be.

My last stop was with another Level 4 student, Janet Bailey of Arlesley in Bedfordshire.  To find Janet, I had to brave the M25 and A1 – still with a tyre that needed attention.  As a very new student, Janet was keen to get some advice on her studies, so we talked through the project management assignment, and the Alice story on law & procedures before giving a nod to the profile of Arlesley for a potential twinning partner in Italy.

Tomorrow I start in Cambridgeshire and finish in Essex, dropping off in Suffolk on the way!”

Click here if you would like to contribute to my Just Giving page. 

By Elisabeth Skinner MBE. Follow her progress on Twitter – @lisabethski.

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