When I began work at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Secretary General, Sir John Priestman, invited me in for a welcoming chat. Similarly, when I began work in the European Commission the then Secretary General, David Williamson (now Lord Williamson of Horton) invited me in to say hallo and welcome me to the institution. There can be few people busier than Secretaries-General (as I know myself now!) and yet they had carved time out of their busy days to see me, a young greenhorn. I saw it as an extraordinary example of good management and now, as a Secretary General myself, I am determined to see all of the Committee’s new officials personally to welcome them on board. So this morning I saw a new Bulgarian colleague, Yulian, who works in the translation service and he brought with him a gift that has touched me deeply. The Martenitsa is a small wrist band, woven from red and white cotton, and to be worn from 1 March until 22 March (Mart being the Bulgarian word for March). Baba Marta is a Bulgarian tradition to welcome the spring, and the red and white threads symbolize the wish for good health (white for purity and soul, red for life and passion). I shall wear it proudly, of course. Europe, endless!