Friday, 22 December 2006

Happy Christmas

Oh no! Christmas is nearly here, the children have broken up, and there are still presents to buy and cards unwritten. Many of my friends are in the same panic - we want to enjoy our family Christmas but struggle to find the time. Actually it’s not just at Christmas time that many find there is a work-life imbalance. Where parents have grandparents, aunts and uncles living nearby they can often get the balance more easily. I would like to see more policies, both housing and tax policies that help to keep families like this together.

I confess that this year, the big doc and I have no-one but ourselves to blame for last minute Christmas panic. With just 10 shopping days to go we snuck off and left the country for a few days. Beautiful, caring, intelligent Anita was married this weekend in her family church in Austria. We joined friends form all around the world to wish her and Michael healthy, happy marriage. There has been much in the news recently about the risks that women run when putting off children for their careers. If Anita has children she will be an "older mother". We should encourage businesses to support women who wish to start families earlier. Too many women are forced into a corner to choose between families and careers.

Another confession, I boarded a cheap flight to get to the wedding. It is many years since I was in Stanstead Airport at 4.30 on a weekday morning ..... IT WAS BUZZING. There was no room to sit in the waiting rooms, no room to stand on the transits, and triple queuing through security. My flights had cost next to nothing. This time even Gordon’s taxes didn’t seem high. I am told about the environmental done by aircraft and would have been happy to pay more for my occasional flight for a very special trip. I do feel very sorry for all those currently stranded because of foggy airports, but in the longer term if we are do tackle global warming we must all take fewer planes.

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