From Downing Street to Oxford Street

11 Downing Street

State Drawing Room at 11 Downing Street

Friday, 27 June. Meeting with Edwina Dunn in her sky-high, glass boardroom. I wore new peach jacket – Wallis sale.

Elegant blond entrepreneur Edwina and her husband revolutionized retail sales when they started a maths-based data analysis business in their back bedroom in 1989 and sold it in 2011 for reputedly over £90 million.

Edwina and I both hope to attract girls to a maths-based career. “Just as nursing is a passport/travel ticket around the world, the same is true of maths-based careers, which are much better paid with more opportunities,” said Edwina. (Incidentally, nursing students need a maths qualification.)

Wednesday, 2 July. Early evening reception at 11 Downing Street in beautiful drawing room overlooking large garden. Delicious food and drink consumed by 80 maths big players. 11 Downing Street stairs

Three good speakers: Education Minister Elizabeth Truss – scarlet dress – said that maths is a feminist issue. Edwina Dunn, looking classy in figure-fitting blue (Victoria Beckham?) was followed by Charlie Stripp, Chief Executive of MEI.

I left early – supper with my sister – and passed David Cameron charging up the stairs. We exchanged guarded smiles. (Do I know you? Better smile in case.)

Thursday, 3 July. Today my brother-in-law published his horrific memoir of being a child soldier (details in Shirley’s World). I would never have suspected the gentle Andrew of being a killer, and certainly not as a child.

Friday, 4 July. Visit from Lauren Davie, with yellow spring flowers. Lauren is about to switch from “helping rich men make money” to the educational sector, where she’ll make less money, but have a more rewarding job.

Lauren designed a test course of MONEY STUFF for maths strugglers in Year 9 (see it here).

Friday evening. During my work on MONEY STUFF, my work gradually spread over my entire flat. (At one point I had a young mathematician in my kitchen and another in my bedroom). Had enormous clear out. Flat now feels my own again.

Saturday, 28 June. Long-planned shopping expedition with 15 year old goddaughter Zephra – six foot, red-gold hair, forget-me-not blue eyes – and her mother Zenna, former Chair of OFSTED and currently on the Board of the Royal Navy.

Gave Zephra an envelope containing £200. Bought at Topshop: black jeans, leather jacket (black natch), crazy-coloured socks and 1940s Hollywood tortoiseshell shades. Bought at Zara: one black leather tote bag, one white cricket boyfriend sweater, one daisy-sprinkled day top, one turquoise chiffon evening top. Ran out of time. £46 left towards purchase of black ankle boots with Cuban heel next week from Topshop.

Zenna – who didn’t own a hat – asked if she had to wear one to meet HM The Queen at a Royal Naval luncheon. “Absolutely, yes,” I said. What sort? “Think of her hats and get one like that, only smaller.” In John Lewis, we found a small, squashed-top hat in black and white with white bow. Perfect.

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