I leave home at 0630 and walk to Leicester train station. There's thick, crunchy, silvery frost all around this morning. I begin to regret having my first haircut in three months yesterday (especially a No. 2 ... *brrr!*). The walk's just long enough for me to listen to one episode of Astronomy Cast podcast ("Our weekly facts-based journey through the cosmos. Each week we try to help you understand not only what we know, but how we know what we know") hosted by Fraser Cain (I kid ye not, classic comedy fans - maybe his catchphrase should be, "I'm observing"), publisher of Universe Today and Dr Pamela Gay, Associate Research Professor at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. I downloaded more than 260 episodes of this show at once and am working my way through several years' worth at a rate of one a day (or more, if there's a lot of walking). This morning I'm listening to Episode 11, from Monday 20 November 2006: "A Universe of Dark Energy". Bliss.
I catch the 0715 to Melton Mowbray (one stop from Leicester). Just before 0800, Laura Horton, Project Manager for REDP picks me up from outside the station and we're on our way. That's Laura in the photo above (on the right) with Saira Ali, from the children and young people's organisation, Speak Up for Yourself (Saira is a member of REDP's Core Reference Group).
Slow moving traffic on the road between Melton and Nottingham means we reach South Normanton at 0930. The meeting is in the Post Mill Centre, which is fairly easy to find in this small town. It doesn't take us long to set up. We're joined by five representatives from equality-based Voluntary and Community Sector groups working in the area. Starting at 1000, Laura and I present an overview of the "equality landscape" (central government's phrase, not ours) with a little bit of PowerPoint and lot of chatty interaction.
We're doing half a dozen or so sessions like this over the next few weeks. I'm involved in helping present another two (in Northampton and in Nottingham). I love how REDP gets out and about, mixing it up among the people on the ground, the ones who do the actual work, in some places that wouldn't normally be considered for this kind of event, away from the bigger population centres. Keeping it real!