Nearly at last knockings on the wretched examinations, and frankly the end can't come soon enough. I guess my adolescent kids will then find new ways of putting me through the wringer.
To have a sprog doing A levels at the same time as another sprog doing GCSEs this year is very bad planning on my part, by any objective analysis. My West London Princess and Prince seem to think that the way to pass exams is do nothing all year round and then become a bag of nerves the night before the actual paper. All of this, naturally, justifies them giving their mother a good kicking in the process. And it doesn't seem yesterday that they were bundles of heaving joy, screaming the house down and puking on my best suit before a job interview.
Well, even if they're not swotting, I certainly am! I am still trying to get my head around the emergency regeneration measures in the Pre-Budget Report 08 and Budget 09, both for BURA, and to support m'learned friends in CBRE. And I'm trying to get under the skin of the proposals and ideas put forward by other organisations, such as the lovely Dermot Finch's Centre for Cities and the British Property Federation.
However, my focus is still what will be the future challenges and future policy? The received wisdom seems to be that the regeneration and place-making strategy of the last five to ten years has been "far too ambitious" (although frankly I struggle to think of a huge number of successes here).
There is a clear consensus that the models we have been using (notably the cross-subsidy of social housing from private) are broken and unworkable in the current recession; the question is will they ever work again? What sort of policy interventions will be forthcoming for the next three to five years and how will they be funded and delivered? Most crucially, as we approach the election: how can we influence the incoming administration to implement things that actually work?
And we are grappling with all this at the very moment when folk are ground down by the world in which they find themselves! I am truly exhausted thinking about it all. Frankly, the end can't come soon enough. Roll on the general election.