June has disappeared in a blur of activity: finishing the book, organising my 70th birthday celebration and travelling – to places as various as Brussels, Paris and Brocket Hall. But the highlight, beyond question, was Green Swan Day on 23 June.
Over time, it had morphed and mutated, ultimately becoming an event linked to the Green Swan theme of the book, hence Green Swan Day. Carlo and Conor of Twist Creative a great help in getting the visuals together.
On the day, we had around 110 people on 10 tables at the WWT Barnes Wetland Centre, chosen because it symbolises regeneration and because of the links with Sir Peter Scott, whose statue stands outside, surrounded by swans.
Gaia had done some extraordinary flower arrangements, with swan’s nests – complete with wooden eggs – for each table.
All around, the Atlas of the Future film crew interviewed some 15 participants for the short Green Swan documentary we are planning to release later in the year, to trail the book. Stonkingly hot, particularly in The Observatory, where Nyetimber (a rare upside of climate change) was served during the reception.
We were over capacity, a heady mix of family, friends and colleagues, literally from around the world. Over lunch in the Water’s Edge room, we had four speeches at different points in the proceedings: my intro, then Andrew Kerr (Chairman of the Sustainable Eel Group), Tanya Steele (CEO, WWF UK) and Sir Tim Smit (Founder, The Eden Project). Fabulous speeches, though Tim’s was for the ages.
After the event wound down, around 17.00, a line of sherpas wound home, including Tim, with boxes of flowers, wines, cards and gifts – despite the ‘no gifts’ policy. The stand-out gift was the Egg, created specially by ceramicist Judith Davies, who Hania knew – a stunning gift from her, Gaia and Elaine.