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Bowled over

Carole J Blackshaw, the Lady Mayoress of the City of London, hopes to come back


When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.

THUS AVERRED the great Dr Samuel Johnson whose birthday his myriad admirers will celebrate later this week on September 18 . The Lady Mayoress of the City of London, Carole J Blackshaw, couldn't agree more with Dr Johnson's views on the great city. "It is an amazing city; has a hoary past, is immensely popular and a home for everything, " she says.

And being the Lady Mayoress supporting the Lord Mayor , the Rt. Hon. Alderman Gavyn Arthur for the year in office - means "an extraordinary, busy life." Although in the days of yore the Lady Mayoress was the wife of the Lord Mayor, it is not so any longer. Explaining her role as the Lady Mayoress of the City of London, she says, "it ranges from attending social functions and dinners on most nights of the week to visiting local institutions and groups to promoting (the Lord Mayor's) charities. The post is entirely apolitical and calls for a full time effort. It used to be a support function but it is a lot more independent and I think it's a good thing. It also involves a whole lot of travel - up to 12 weeks sometimes."

Although Carole Blackshaw spent barely a day in town, she managed to visit the British Library, HSBC, Charminar and Golconda. "Primarily my visit to Hyderabad as part of this visit to India was to go, see and congratulate the existing Indo-British partnerships like the DFID and other charities. The visit has been all about meeting old friends, extending and creating friendships and being an ambassador for financial business in the United Kingdom," she says. She also took time off to interact with the members of the Association of British Scholars.

The Lady Mayoress, who is also a qualified solicitor in England, Wales and Hong Kong and has specialised for 20 years in the law and regulation of international civil aviation feels Hyderabad is a lovely, wonderful place and its people are friendly. Can Hyderabad pick up anything from London in terms of civic amenities? "I think there are many things. Mainly I think you can learn from our mistakes. Our problems are similar as well like overcrowding and urbanisation," she responds.

A visiting lecturer in Air law at the Department of Air Transport, Cranfield University with interests in music, fine art, Georgian Country houses and Victorian History, Carole Blackshaw has just one regret - "my visit has been very brief. I would have loved to spend more time." Surely, the citizens of Hyderabad would love to play host to her whenever she comes and learn a few things that are essentially English, like civic sense for instance.

SUDHEENDRA PUTTY

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