Monday, 30 July 2007

Winding down

This is a bit of a quiet week before we go away to Scotland at the weekend.
We are taking the opportunity to do some Regulation 33 visits to children's homes. Today Keith visited a home in Kings Norton with Barbara Woods. It was her first visit so a chance for some training. The home we visited was for residential respite care for kids with disabilities and the staff made us really welcome. We have to check everything out thoroughly but we can also enjoy the visit as the staff and residents always make us welcome.
Tomorrow Sue is at her first Fostering Panel. This is something she recently volunteered for and having done the training she is looking forward to getting stuck in.
We will let you know how she gets on tomorrow.

Village life

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At the Taj Mahal

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Sunday, 29 July 2007

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To the Bride and Groom

Saturday night saw us at the Holiday Inn for a wedding reception. The evening started awkwardly as we both thought the Holiday Inn was in Holliday St but as we drove past it wasn't there. Eventually we found out that it was the former Albany Hotel and made our way there.
The Bride and Groom are both Indian, both surgeons and both modern, great looking youngsters with everything before them.
We have known the Bride, Sonia's, parents for many years as Sue met them whilst working for the British Medical Association. Dr & Mrs Bathla used to organize trips for the Sandwell Division of the BMA. That is Sue did the organizing and used to go along to help out on the trips. Keith went along as well and paid his way by keeping his eye on all these doctors to keep them out of trouble. You may think that doctors are highly intelligent, highly trained individuals well in command of their surroundings, you would be wrong! Take them away from their surgeries and hospitals and they are lost. Each one still thinks that the universe revolves around them of course and this leads to missed ferries, lost property, missed shuttles and all sorts of mayhem.
The trick is to give them a time 1/2 hour before you want them at a certain point and you get most of them there on time, not all of course, you still have to go and find some of them.
Don't think this is a real complaint. We've all had some great times and would do it all again, especially the weekend in Paris and the cruise to Norway.
But back to the wedding reception.
Indian celebrations have one main difference to the way we Anglo-Saxons do things. Starters are served and everyone tucks in. when these are finished the entertainment starts and everyone gets up and wanders the room greeting old friends and making new ones whilst watching the dances. Indian women love to show off their traditional dancing skills and with all those beautiful saris it is a spectacular site. After about an hour the main course is served, several meat and vegetable dishes with rice and naans. The food last night was done by the Maharaja Restaurant in Hurst St and the boss was there to oversee everything. After a desert the main dancing starts and everybody joins in. A great evening and we wish the Bride and Groom every happiness.
We have always had lots of Asian friends and last year went to India for a holiday. Delhi, like any Asian city is a real culture shock, especially the traffic. The main rule is that there are no rules except that the use of the horn is compulsory. We went to Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple, to Agra and Jaipur and to a tiger sanctuary. An unforgettable experience and we have put some pics up for you to look at.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

July 26

The chairs of the scrutiny committees met today to discuss the workload for the year ahead.
There is some interesting stuff coming up. Not interesting enough for Paul Dale to bother with of course but then a lot of council work is the nitty gritty of local government and does not make for headlines although it impacts on a lot of lives. It is interesting how some topics involve lots of the work we do. If you look at teenage pregnancies it covers health, benefits, education, children's services, housing and then sometimes anti-social behaviour etc. I don't know if I have said this before but I think becoming a teenage mother is the equivalent of getting married to the state, and the state makes a poor husband. He is a poor provider and is seldom there when needed. It reminds me of an old saying that not all men are bastards but it is an enduring mystery to young men that young women make a bee-line for the ones who are.
Later that day we met with our new Constituency manager. Our old one has been promoted to the grand position of Interim Assistant Director for Constituencies.
That evening we went to a meeting of the Longbridge Consultative Group. Keith found himself in the unusual position of agreeing with Richard Burden MP and being agreed with by Cllr Steve Bedser. I don't think I am turning into an old leftie but I will watch myself.

On Friday it was the latest meeting of Keith's Vulnerable Children's committee. A small victory today as we have got the service to come up with a policy on young people using kitchenettes in children's homes. It may seem a small thing but we found that in some homes they were not allowed to use kitchenettes on "health & Safety" grounds. This meant that some kids leave homes not being able to prepare the simplest meals for themselves and thinking food comes in catering tins. The main point was the inconsistency where some homes encouraged kids to learn to cook and some didn't. Now there will be one policy and members will be able to check it out when they visit. Of course there will still be individual assessments and some training but that's all to the good.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Rwandan connection

Just a thought on the Conservative trip to Rwanda, one of the doctors helping to train nurses and treat people was our old friend Andrew Hardie. His photo was posted her a few weeks ago when we went to his engagement party. Also there was Vicki Ford, our PPC in Northfield in2005. If she brought as much enthusiasm to the work there as she did to her work here it must have been a really rewarding Rwandan rendezvous. Try saying that after a few drinks.
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Another week

Monday was a "ward day" which we use to catch up on all the casework, letters and e-mails we need to answer. Casework varies greatly from serious cases which involve disruption to peoples lives to general moans and complaints about council services. One of the more numerous complaints is about the way people get passed around the system or the feeling that nothing gets done when they phone up and complain. We get annoyed because if we ring up and say the magic word "Councillor" things get done quickly. Why can't it be the same for all residents?

On Tuesday Keith went to Northfield Fire Station for a meeting of the Northfield Community Safety Partnership. This involves a multi-agency team which generally addresses crime and public safety concerns across the constituency. Some good news, crime figures are well down since April apart from wounding. This usually refers to assaults due to drink or domestic violence and needs some work to bring about an improvement. The security improvements at the Great Park have made a big difference to other categories.

Sue met up with the senior Parks Manager to discuss various issues. He is really helpful but as always is constrained by a tight budget. The Government always trumpet the increases in the grant they give us but always fail to mention that a big chunk of it has to be found from efficiency savings from our own budget. Another smoke and mirrors trick.

Later that day Keith was off to Bromsgrove to a board meeting of the Central Technology Belt. A strange name for what is the "Investment vehicle for Hereford & Worcester & Birmingham". It used to be the A38 Technology Corridor. Still we seem to impress AWM who tell us that our results far outstrip the other two "corridors" together.

Wednesday saw Keith at the Central Library for the launch of E-Voice Birmingham, a free system which allows community groups to set up their own web-sites. We will be giving it a go so watch this space for details. Later Keith was at the Education Committee where some of the "efficiency savings" were discussed. Sue was left with the really interesting job of printing hundreds of letters and stuffing them into envelopes for posting. These concerned the bush shelter we told you about a few days ago and a court case about an off license we opposed. The police got some really tough conditions attached to the license so the appeal was allowed. Not the result we wanted but the best we could expect. That evening we went to the meeting of Frankley Housing Liaison Board. One of the subject was some of the new bus shelters Sue got put in on Ormond Road. The mindless morons have already started to ruin them. I wonder what their own homes look like? Perhaps when we catch one of them we could all go into their homes and spray paint the interiors. I wonder what their parents would say to that.

A couple of diamonds

These are two good friends of ours, John and Ethel Scott. John is the Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator and Chairman of Loynells Rd Residents Association. He has been involved in community work for more years than anyone can remember. The occasion was his and Ethel's 60th wedding anniversary, how she has put up with him for so long no-one knows, especially John.
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Sunday, 22 July 2007

Last week

Last week was quite varied, starting with Keith meeting with Alaistair Dow to talk over O & S. The Vulnerable Children's Committee has a very busy work programme for next year as you would expect. Paul Dale seems to think we are not doing much in the way of scrutiny but to be honest I haven't seen him at a scrutiny meeting for over 3 years. Perhaps because they can be a bit of a hard slog and don't always provide instant headlines which the papers require these days.
Old Aston Villa fans may remember Ron Saunders saying that football would not catch on in the States because Americans were too childlike and had too short an attention span to appreciate the subtleties of the game. Perhaps we are becoming the same.
We both attended a preview of the Town Hall with 2 elderly guests from the ward. A beautiful job carried out on time and on budget. We are looking forward to the re-opening proper and a full programme of events.
Sue attended the Licensing Committee on Wednesday, her first meeting since her op. Keith went to an Appeals Panel at Centro in an attempt to get a bus shelter removed. Local kids have been making residents lives a misery with there use of the shelter and we will be pleased to tell them that Centro agreed to remove it. Keith walked in to find Cllrs Bruce Lines, Keith Linacre and Zakir Choudry on the panel. Keith gets on with all 3 of them but is sure that it was his eloquence and persuasiveness that won the day.
Sue also went to Colmers Infants School to look at their Forest School which it is hoped to extend.
Among other things Keith went to a meeting to hear a presentation on Adults and Communities Third Sector Partnership Teams. The Third Sector is New Labour speak for voluntary groups. I wonder who comes up with all this renaming and how much it costs.
During the week Sue and Keith also made Section 33 visits to 2 Elderly Peoples Homes and 1 Chidrens Home. These are visits Councillors are required to carry out but which frequently get forgotten. As chairman of the committee Keith will be trying to get Councillors to carry out more visits in the future.
On Saturday there was an "Away day" for the South West Birmingham Community Association which is facing a bit of a funding crisis since Government support was cut. We are trying to find a role for ourselves which will enable us to apply for funding in future.
We find it difficult to get too excited at the "revelation" that government ministers smoked cannabis whilst at uni. If you can't act stupidly as a student when can you? Mind you it seems strange that they all managed to try it a few times without the word "Stoned" being used. Perhaps people with a political bent are not affected like other people, or perhaps their memories are affected by its use. What do you think?
Another strange thing is that though they all now realise that it was wrong and the stuff out there now is so much stronger than the stuff they used back then, none of them spoke up when Blunkett declassified it. Again short term memory seems to have been affected by something. And before anyone accuses us of being partisan we do remember that David Cameron signed the report which led to this and thought it a mistake then.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

More on Ken

Keith last saw Ken at the EMT away-day at Warwick University. Ken was clearly unwell but told Keith about his trip to South Africa and wanted to take a full part in the discussions. He was so short of breath that Keith had to help him up the stairs to the conference room after lunch.
Ken had to be persuaded to to be taken home from where he was taken to hospital. It was typical of this dedicated public servant that he put his responsibilities before his own health.
Ken will be missed on so many levels by so many people. Truly a hard act to follow.
Our condolences to Shirley and their family.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

A good friend

Sorry if we've been a bit remiss on posting the last few days but the loss of Ken Hardeman has been a real blow.
Ken was a bon viveur and raconteur besides the politics. He could regale you with stories of his life in Broad St in the early days. One story concerned the first Motor Show at the NEC. Ken booked Bingley Hall for a boxing show with some big names and promoted it heavily at the show. On the evening very few people turned up, Ken learned the lesson that people were coming up from London on the train in the morning and returning on the evening. London had the bright lights of Soho, theatreland, clubs and fine hotels. Birmingham had the Watch Committee. It was a hard lesson to learn but Ken learned it and never forgot it. This was one of his motivations for building a Brum that no-one wanted to miss. More later.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

A busy life

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Friday/ Saturday

On Friday Keith was at the Co-ordinating Committee. Not the most exciting of meetings and at 3 hours quite long. One of the problems was losing members as the time went on. Keith had to leave 12.30 has Sue and Keith had promised to attend the 50th Anniversary of the Meadows School. The idea was to have a picnic in the grounds but the dreadful weather put paid to that. There was plenty going on thought and we Councillors and the Lord Mayor were really well entertained. The Lord Mayor planted a tree to mark the occasion and insisted on doing a proper job of it despite the pouring rain.
More of the Lord Mayor that evening when we attended a reception at the Lord Mayor's Parlour for family and friends from Northfield. Taxpayers please note that the Lord Mayor & Lady Mayoress funded the evening themselves. It was a wonderful evening and Margaret Scrimshaw, Honorary Alderman, former Councillor and President of Northfield Conservatives was presented with a framed certificate from David Cameron marking here 50 years as a working Conservative.
On Saturday It was off to Frankley Library for the opening of an exhibition on " Building cars at Longbridge", a fascinating collection of photos and a dvd which brought back a lot of memories. It should be coming to a library near you so please spare the time to view it.
Here are some pictures from the Meadows and the Exhibition. You will see that one of the skills needed to be Lord Mayor is that of cake-cutting.

Sue & Keith say farewell to Veronica.

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Thursday 12th

A relatively quiet day. Morning meeting with the Chief Legal Officer to discuss CRB checks for members. On the way I passed the Brummie beach in Chamberlain Square. The Wigan Youth Brass Band was playing to a packed audience. The beach attendant was putting out more deck chairs and the area in front of the library was packed. I wish some of our more po-faced and uptight citizens could have seen it.
On the way back I bumped into David Bell, the Evening Mail's reporter. Despite working for a socialist rag, owned by the same people who own the Daily Mirror, David always strikes me as a decent man trapped in a reporter's body. David is an Indophile, I think thats the correct word, and visits india a lot. We went there last year and really enjoyed it. It can be a bit of a culture shock but well worth a visit.
Later that day we had a final meeting with our departing ward support officer to catch up with everything going on before her departure.

Thursday, 12 July 2007


Another busy day on Wednesday. 7.30am breakfast meeting at the Chamber of Commerce. ASDA are new sponsors of the CofIC and we were invited as they are looking to expand into South Birmingham and are looking at the Rover site. It would bring in up to 4oo jobs. It will be interesting to see who else comes in.
10.30 Pre-agenda meeting for the Vulnerable Children's committee.
That afternoon we attended a send off for our Ward Support Officer. We do not often name officers on this site as it is a political blog but we can make an exception in Veronica Coleman's case as I know our Labour Councillor would agree that over the years she has been exceptional in both the quality and quantity of her work. We and Longbridge will miss her and we wish her every success in her new job. Veronica is joining the Emergency Planning Team where her experience as a Major in the TA will be very useful. Veronica commands a medical unit and has done a stint in Iraq. That should stand her in good stead for the infighting at the centre.
From there it was down to Forestdale School for an open day, a tour of the school and a bowl of strawberries and cream. Sue Robertson the headmistress has done an excellent job with the school despite the deprivation in the area.
Later that evening it was the regular meeting of the Egghill redevelopment consultative group. A good meeting with flesh being added to the bones of the planning proposal and a presentation of the ideas for the commercial part of the plan. More jobs for Longbridge.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Council day

Yesterday was full Council. The main topic was supposed to be a scrutiny report on sustainability and climate change produced by a Labour Councillor. The Post reported this as an attack on the leader of the Council even before they had had a chance to read it properly. The report's author announced that there was nothing in the report which could be considered as an attack on anyone but he was very subtle about it. Instead of attacking it head on we decided to take it on board, learn what lessons we could and carry out as many of the recommendations as possible. The main fun came when we had a motion congratulating the Housing dept on achieving 65% (?) of the Decent Homes Standard. This is always an open goal as the Labour administration were so bad at housing that anybody could have improved the situation. As it is we have over achieved and will complete the work before the target date of 2010. Labour try to come out fighting but always end up knocked out in the first round. Their previous housing cabinet members, there were so many of them, sit on there hands and pretend to be busy at something else. No change there then.
Afterwards there was a short debate on giving local people a say on how local budgets should be spent. Although the figure of £2m was spoken of in Erdington it transpired that this is not new money but just the budget that is already allocated. The thought of getting about 10.000 people to take part, let alone agree, is thought provoking. People always have lots of ideas how money should be spent but it will be interesting to see what they don't want it spent on. I suspect it will turn into a talking shop where special interest groups and Labour front organisations will be asked their "priorities" and officers will compile the budget as normal. A tip for any one going into local politics: when the officers take you through a budget, pay keen interest in the parts they don't show you.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

On Monday Keith was kept busy with casework until a home visit to a constituent and then a meeting with the senior officer looking at the " clean and safe" programme. We have made great strides in Longbridge and across Northfield cleaning up litter, graffiti and fly-tipping but this is now under threat through loss of funding from the government. Neighbourhood Renewal Fund is designed to close the gap between the most deprived areas and the rest of the community but now Mr Brown is cutting the funding and leaving us high and dry.
During the meeting Keith took a phone call from Tim "The grin" Huxtable say he was coming into Longbridge with a photographer and did Keith want his photo for the Post. Silly question, politicians never miss an opportunity for self-publicity. This may seem cynical but we all need to get ourselves recognised as part of the electoral process. Thats Keith's excuse anyway.
The photo was taken in a children's play area to illustrate a report going to cabinet.
From there Keith was off to the Council House to meet the Lord Mayor Randal Brew, in his constituency capacity, Cllr Margaret Sutton, Chairman of Northfield Constituency Committee and Ifor Jones. Ifor is the Interim Assistant Director of Constituencies as well as keeping a watching brief as the Constituency Director of Northfield. We went over some items in the budget and discussed some thoughts for the future.
Later that evening we held the Conservative Group meeting to prepare for todays full Council Meeting.
Sue is still stiff and bruised but recovering nicely but is already getting bored.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

All went well with Sue's operation. She took away a tube filled with gall stones as a souvenir. When you see what the human body is capable of producing, even as it goes wrong, it does leave you amazed.
Sue will be out of action for a couple of weeks although I don't think that will keep her off the phone of PC so I don't think too many officers can relax just yet.
Keith has a very busy week lined up and we will keep you informed as we go.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Ken's birthday party.

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Yes, we do have a social life.

Just to prove that we do get out occasionally we are publishing this pic of some of us at a birthday party at Spice Exchange in Cotteridge last night. It was Ken Wood's birthday. Ken was Keith's election agent this year and is married to Barbara Wood who won Kings Norton in May. Also in shot is Andrew Hardie, our candidate in Selly Oak and his fiancee Monica. All right I know we were all politico,s but it was a social night so we kept the conversation to normal stuff, honest.
A good night was enjoyed by all, especially when Andrew swallowed the hottest chilly pepper this side of Mexico City. It was a sight to behold. Andrew is a doctor and is thinking of using them to revive patients suffering from hypothermia.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007


Today Keith was at the first Overview & Scrutiny committee on children's services. This tends to be rather dry and technical but having Reg Corns there can always inject a little drama into the situation. Reg is passionate about the Youth Service and doesn't hold back when he talks to officers about what he sees as the lack of funding for our kids.

We were sorry to see Francis Maude sidelined in the recent shuffle. We have met him several times and always found him to be hard-working and very approachable. Of course we have also met Caroline Spelman, in fact she was the after-dinner speaker at our last President's Dinner.
Thats the Northfield Conservative Constituency Association President's Dinner. Our president is Hon. Alderman Margaret Scrimshaw. Keith is the Assoc. Chairman, for his sins, and spends a lot of time gathering money and refusing to spend it. Whenever a General Election is called we must have the funds in place to make sure our candidate has every chance of competing on a level playing field with the sitting MP. Sitting of course on a big pile of tax-payers dosh.
Sue goes into UHB tomorrow for an op which will keep her confined to barracks for a couple of weeks but at least she will be able to use the phone & computer after a suitable recovery period.
Our Labour Councillor appears to have gone on holiday again. That bloke goes out more times than the gas!.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

The one & only.

We include this photo of a few of our friends at the pig roast. The gentleman appearing to get a close up of Sue's chest is the clerk to New Frankley in Birmingham Parish Council. Longbridge has the only parish council in Birmingham and the councillors work closely with Sue & Keith to improve the area for everyone.
Other unique features of Longbridge include Cardinal Newman's tomb, Tolkien's boyhood home near the Lickeys and the home of Anne Boleyn's mother, commemorated by Boleyn Road and Gannow Manor Crescent.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Eyes front

This is a pic of a few of our friends who attended the pig roast on Saturday night. The gentleman appearing to get a close up view of Sue's chest is the clerk to New Frankley in Birmingham Parish Council. This is the only Parish Council in Birmingham, another mark of the uniqueness of Longbridge. A few other landmarks: the tomb of Cardinal Newman, Tolkien's boyhood home near the Lickeys and Anne Boleyn's mother's home, as commemorated in Boleyn Road.

This morning Sue and Keith had a 9 am site meeting with the District engineer to discuss traffic issues. It was pouring with rain and we all got soaked. What a glamorous life we lead. But at least we came up with one solution out of two. Sue was supposed to go to The Roundabout for an advice desk but toothache and a swollen face took her off to the dentist whilst Keith went to do the AD. 2 people turned up, both sorted with phone calls. If only they were all that simple.

Everyone enjoyed the pig roast, except the pig.

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Sunday, 1 July 2007

Catching up

Right, lets start to catch up.
June 19th. Keith attended a conference at the ICC entitled "Brighter Futures for Children". Although this looked at a broad range of topics surrounding Children's Services a lot of it focused on the work being done by the Dartington Institute who claim to be able to bring scientific evidence and data to subjective ideas such as children's happiness and how to achieve it. The Institute was apparently founded by the man who wrote the first paper on the welfare state and also invented the Open University among other things. Does anyone have any thoughts on this establishment?

June 21st. To Warwick University for an Executive Management Team away day. Yes, Keith is now in that stratospheric position due to his chairmanship of the O & S committee. It entails listening to Senior officers views on the future course we should take and then giving our views. It will be interesting to see how this shapes up. Several of us had to leave early as we were going to a meeting at Queensbridge School about the SEN review. It seems that parents can have a really tough time when their child is diagnosed as special needs, or even getting a diagnosis. Estimates show that the instances of Autism are going to explode over the next few years. I do wonder how we are going to cope.

On Friday it was the first meeting of the O & S committee on Vulnerable Children which Keith is chairing. A fairly quiet opening as the discussion mainly centered around the work we want to do over the next year. This will include looking at fostering, transition issues, recruitment and retention of social workers and other aspects of this really important part of the council's work.

After the meeting we packed up the camper van and went off to Evesham for the weekend. Keith's cousin has a caravan down there and we spent a couple of days catching up. Ron has been suffering from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and has been told he is now clear but the treatment really takes it out of him. Hopefully he can start looking forward to a swift recovery and getting back to normal.
The weather was a bit grim but we managed to get out and take the dog for some long walks. Sunday night brought a tremendous downpour which lasted most of the night. The noise meant we got very little sleep that night.

Back on Monday for a meeting between Association Chairmen and Cabinet members to discuss tactics, funding etc. The last couple of years have seen the volunteer side of the party working closely with Councillors and this seems to have helped us win seats consistently. We now need to couple this with Central Office and the professionals in order to take some parliamentary seats.
That evening Keith conducted another Custody Visit to Bournville Lane, Kings Heath and Belgrave Rd police stations. Quite busy, it is amazing how many repeat offenders they get. I suppose if you are hooked on drugs and can't work then crime is your only option. A pity that people don't seem to realise where that first joint can lead them.

Tuesday 26th. A busy day starting with a meeting of the Great Park Business Group. This has been a success as crime figures have plummeted since we persuaded the businesses to pay for security guards on the site. If only we could get Morrisons to join in. They have some terrible crime rates on their car park but seem to think that it is nothing to concern them. The day will come when they find out the consequences of their inaction.
Sue did an advice desk at the Frankley Plus Children's Centre whilst Keith attended a presentation by the Malachi Trust who work with children to help them with family issues , breakups and bereavements etc. I found out years ago that the reason infant schools keep hamsters is to introduce very small children to the concept of death. It worked for me although as I was born just after the war the concept of death was no mystery to us as everyone had lost someone and it was often spoken of.
That evening Sue was at the Reaside centre for a committee meeting whilst Keith was at a meeting of Conservative Association Chairman to discuss some ideas and proposals which seek to formalise some of the arrangements we have had for a while and listen to some new proposals. There is even some money on the table.

June 27th. Here's a laugh. Keith went to a training day with RADA, yes, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. It was not in London but at the Council House and about 10 councillors had some great fun doing breathing exercises, voice projection, body language and role play to help us improve our communication skills. I don't know if it did any good darling but one never knows.
Sue had to go to another meeting, this time at Forestdale School to talk about a project we are involved in to transform a derelict playing field into a major children's facility. We have now got over £230k towards it and should soon see a Teen shelter installed as the first part of the scheme.
That evening we drove down to Somerset for an overnight stay. The next day we had to inter Sue's mom's ashes at Bawdrip Church. This is a beautiful 12th century Norman church in a little village outside Bridgwater. Sue's father's ashes are already there and the casket went in next to it. There was a slight hitch when the strap used to lower the ashes got caught up, but that was Sue's mom, awkward to the end.
back that evening for a pig roast at St.Leonards Church at Frankley. Say what you like the Methodists do a lot of work in Longbridge. They are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get on with it. Any funding we give them is well spent.
Friday 29th. Keith went to a meeting called by Richard Burden MP at the Lickey Hills visitor centre to discuss ways of upgrading the Balancing Lake on the Great Park. The object of the lake is to take excess water off the river Rea at time of surge. As it does this very well no-one is really interested in it accept local people who see it as an amenity. It contains a lot of fish but is only 2ft deep in places. It will cost about £100k to desilt it and we are all looking for ways to raise this amount. Sue couldn't make it as she had agreed to do some work for the BMA. This was the organisation she workrd for before retirement and election. I think she is busier now than when she worked.
I managed to get a letter printed in the Mail on Sat night. It looks as if they are pulling out all the stops to help out Bashford, Bedser and Drinkwater so I suppose I should be grateful to get one in occasionally. It was about litter again and peoples expectations that the Council should do everything, anywhere, anytime. More on this next week.
Another busy week next week and Sue has to go into UHB on Thursday for an operation. Lets hope she doesn't get MRSA while she is in there. Sometimes having served on the Health Committee for 3 years can have it's drawbacks.