Category Archives: Tydd St. Giles
Roman Bank Campaign 2014 – Tydd St. Giles
We made inroads into Tydd & Gorefield today. A smaller team than previously, probably due to it being Easter and all, but still a very good day.
We started in Tydd St Giles, canvassing all the central area of the village. Tydd St. Giles is probably the village where I know the most people and so I always enjoy walking around there and saying “Hi” to old friends. Usually, I know more people than anybody on a campaign team, having worked in the area for so many years. But not anymore. Literally, Sam Clark seems to know everybody. Awash with energy, she zig-zags from one side of the street to another, greeting people by their first name, introducing us to one of her relations, regaling us with tales of how she knows this person and that person. It’s a lot of fun!
We enjoyed refreshments in Gorefield and then moved on for a couple of hours there – but this wasn’t primarily a Gorefield day. Those are coming next week. So we stuck mainly to a few key areas where we know our support is strong. We’ll be back for a more thorough canvass shortly.
Nobody appears to have seen hide nor hair of the Lib Dems or Labour. Perhaps they are keeping their powder dry until the campaign has progressed a little? UKIP have been around somewhat, though I’m not picking up news of much activity and people’s enthusiasm for them appears to have waned. As one gentleman said to me today: “Every week there’s some new crazy thing they’ve said or done.” Quite. But they do maintain some die-hards, as you might imagine. One man told me he was: “Voting UKIP because there was going to be a mosque in Wisbech.” It’s rare that I’m stumped for words on the campaign trail, but that was a puzzler. How do you respond to that? I mean, as far as I know, Wisbech isn’t inundated with devout Muslims, but I could be wrong. Maybe they are hiding? Maybe they’ve got some secret plan to conquer us all. There is that big empty old Court House after all…. ;)
The Independent Candidate, Erbie Murat, has been seen here and there. A lady told me a very funny story about his visit to her, but since I have no way of confirming the truth of it, it would be improper for me to relate it. It did make me chuckle though.
We didn’t quite get a full day in because Sam had a function to attend and I needed to get back to the office and collate the data from the previous week. Also, my feet were sore. I’m out of shape! But by the end of this campaign I’ll be back to normal. Walking (what seems like) hundreds of miles has a way of sorting out your condition. Funny how nobody has thought of political campaigning as a new exercise regime. I think there’s something to be said for it.
There still a lot to do, but I’m pleased with the campaign so far. People seem very supportive of Sam as the local candidate. The fact that she is so well-known and -liked is a big help. People know that with Sam Clark they will be voting for a genuine, caring and compassionate local lady.
After a manic weekend of paid events and volunteering in equal measures, this week calms down ever so slightly. This evening (Monday) I was at the Newton Village Hall Committee with the rest of the team planning forthcoming community events and dealing with the day-to-day finances and running of the hall. I’ll be back there again on Thursday.
Tuesday I have several meetings with constituents in both my Town Council ward (Peckover) and in the Roman Bank villages; Leverington and Tydd St. Giles. Then in the evening I’ll be reviewing a couple of hundred pages of evidence for an important staff committee that I’ll be chairing later in the week. I may need coffee to get through that mountain of paperwork!
On Wednesday I’m heading to London on business very early in the morning and don’t expect to be back until late in the evening.
Thursday I shall be chairing the aforementioned Staff Committee and the entire day is put aside for that. In the evening I hope to be at the Newton Village Hall AGM, celebrating another year’s good work there.
On Friday morning I will be leaving for Heathrow at the crack of dawn in order to fly to America on business and I wont be back until the following weekend, or near enough. I have two meetings to attend in Philadelphia, but I hope to get enough free time to realise a long-term ambition and visit the Liberty Bell. I also hope to see the White House when I pass through Washington on my way home. Oddly, I have a flight change in Iceland, so while I won’t see much of that country at least I’ll have been there! Sadly, I expect their airport looks like any other.
It’s been a lovely weekend. A packed quiz night in Gorefield on Friday followed by a packed fundraising event with the Sherringham Shantymen on Saturday in Tydd St. Giles were great fun. Not just because the village folk are such nice company, but also because of the celebratory atmosphere now that we’ve beaten the windfarm proposal that threatened to blight our local area simply to enrich a handful of Greenies and landowners at the expense of the taxpayer and the beautiful Fenland landscape.
Meanwhile, at Fenland District Council, leader Alan Melton sees off the difficulties he has been facing there. I don’t know about the details of that one and my preference is to stay away from it, but it’s good to see the back of it. What with a local opposition still looking to insert poisonous barbed tails into any obvious areas of weakness, local Conservatives need to be concentrating on what is best for Fenland rather than fractious internal disputes. Hopefully, both sides will now put away their sabres, put aside their differences and work together once more.
The opposition may not all agree on what name to call themselves this week, but there’s one thing that unites them – Anti-Conservative feeling. You will see this as elections draw closer, much like we did last time when the “Lib Dems” (now Independent, surprise surprise) stood aside for the “Independent” in Wisbech North. Expect much more of this in forthcoming elections.
Nor should you consider Fenland UKIP outside of the electoral “deals and double-dealing” – those colourful characters all have interesting political histories (look ’em up!) You may consider their loyalties about as solid as their party memberships and with this in mind who would be surprised if these supposed “right wing nationalists” didn’t do some squalid deal with some “hard left socialists?” I don’t suppose anybody would.
My advice to my colleagues is not to underestimate the power of their relentless opportunism and cynical negativity. The sad thing is that it does sometimes work for a while. And they can do a lot of damage, even in a short time, if they manage to grasp even the most remote levers of power. This never becomes apparent until it is too late. People seldom notice any of the many good works local councils and organisations are doing until they are not doing them anymore. Take a look around at the people who are actually doing anything other than a lot of talking, or shouting, and think to yourself: “Is getting a lot of biased press coverage the same as actually working for the community?” It isn’t.
Fenrats 1 – Windfarm 0
I reckon at least one rich windfarm company is wishing it hadn’t messed with a certain small but tenacious area of Fenland right now.
On Monday and Tuesday I was working in my shop and other businesses, but did have a NECCA (North East Cambs. Conservative Association) Executive Officers meeting to attend in Manea. It was an interesting meeting too, discussing (amongst other things) the candidate selection process for 2015 Elections.
On Tuesday night I was at the Wisbech Town Council Festivals Committee where we are planning this year’s Christmas Lights Switch On. Last year was a dramatic spectacle and enjoyed by many – this year it looks to be even bigger and better. It’s going to be a lot of fun!
Today and tomorrow I’m out of the area on business. But I’m back in my shop on Friday trying to get it ready for its Grand (Re-)Opening at the end of the month. On Friday night i’m the Quizmaster at the Fenrats fundraising quiz in Tydd St Giles.
On Saturday night I’ll be in Tydd St. Giles again, this time with the Newton Village Hall Committee for our Shantymen musical event. I’m an organiser and helper as well as providing the disco after the band. Hundreds of tickets have been sold so I hope this will be a really enjoyable evening for everyone. It’ll also be nice to catch up with all my friends in Tydd St. Giles!
I’ve also had meetings with a number of colleagues concerning a new idea that the local Conservatives hope to unveil at Christmas and into 2014. We have a plan for an entirely new level of engagement with the area including social media platforms, newsletters and public meetings. Of course, we’ve always done all these things anyway! But one of the things the Conservative party has locally is a strong and organised infrastructure and we’d like to use it more effectively. With that in mind, I hope local people will find the forthcoming new stuff to be useful, interesting and valuable. More news soon!
The Week Ahead
It’s not quite such a frantic week as some are, but the coming days are certainly going to keep me busy.
Tonight I’m at Wisbech Town Council to chair the Staff & Policy Committee, which has a working party doing an overview of staff contracts. I should stress that this committee is not responsible for any current Staff Issues, which predate its formation. <ahem>
Tomorrow I’m off South down the A1 to take care of some business there. On Wednesday I’m working in my shop in the daytime and in the evening I’ll be chairing this month’s meeting of the Wisbech & District Conservatives.
Thursday I have a Leverington Village Hall Committee meeting and on Friday and Saturday I have three bookings for Wild Things Parties events.
On Sunday the Conservative Party Conference begins, but this year I’m not going. For the first time in nearly a decade I’m giving it a miss. Too much to do with getting my shop ready to reopen and other stuff. Plus I rather fancy popping along to the Tydd St. Giles Harvest Festival Auction on Sunday. It’s been a while since I shared a pint with my friends there.
This week i’ve been at Wisbech Town Council Festivals Committee and Wisbech Town Council Full Council Meeting (Monday), Newton & Tydd Conservatives Branch Meeting (Tuesday), Fens Conservative Future Committee Meeting (Wednesday), Newton Village Hall Management Committee (Thursday) and tomorrow I’ll be running the Leverington Conservatives Branch Quiz Night in Gorefield Village Hall (Saturday).
On Sunday I’ll probably pop down to the Newton Tabletop & Car Boot Sale to say “Hello” to everybody and buy a few bits and bobs no doubt. In between that i’ve been in Tydd St Giles and Leverington helping local people deal with issues there (I still get plenty of calls for my old county division, mostly from people who’ve given up on Alan Lay ever responding or turning up, or actually doing anything if he does turn up, it seems) and two further cases I’m helping with in Peckover where I remain a Town Councillor.
I’m also chasing the footpath work in Newton and Tydd St. Giles, and the new markings on Church Lane, Leverington, both of which were some of the last works I secured in my tenure as County Councillor. They should be starting shortly and I want to make sure that changes at the council don’t delay or deter the work, which is important.
Good to see the roadwork in Peckover continuing apace. I helped secure the million pounds for the A1101 early this year and it’s rolling out steadily, to the benefit of our highways. I wonder if we’ll see much investment in the future if the county moves to a committee system. That’ll be up to the officers, I guess, since the councillors will be spending most of their time scoring points over one another and grandstanding for whatever members of the press and public turn up for their interminable meetings and occasional manufactured fireworks.
Meanwhile, my shop is getting closer and closer to being ready to open. New stock is arriving, my new counter is being built and i’ve invested in some new new computer kit. I love starting a new business. There’s nothing quite like it and it’s been a few years since I last did it. Well, two years. But who’s counting? :)
The last few days have been mental, if you’ll excuse my use of the slang term :) I got back from holiday on Friday morning and immediately had a meeting with my company accountant to finalise last year’s books for one of my businesses. There was no time to relax back at home since duties were stacked up to the ceiling from then on!
On Saturday I was catching up on business paperwork, shopping, reading council papers, getting things fixed that were broken in the house in our absence and taking about a million phone calls and emails. On Sunday I was at the Leverington Conservatives Garden Party, which was a fine afternoon full of good company, bright weather and interesting conversation. Sunday night saw me at my computer desk until the small hours working on websites and my online games business.
Monday I was up early to head over to Lincolnshire (just a stone’s throw over the border from Tydd St Giles) to help the Fenrats set up their Fun Day activities at Guanock House, to MC the various things that were going on, and to be one of the judges in the Dog Show. Once again the weather held up and a fun time was had. All the Fenrats many supporters are such nice people that it’s always a pleasure helping out at their events.
Tuesday saw no let up as I was working in the morning and then off to help the Leverington Village Hall Committee with their Free Family Disco event. I was the DJ and MC for the afternoon, though I didn’t have to make many choices about the music. The kids knew exactlywhat they wanted to hear and were not shy in placing request, after request, after request. Musical Chairs, musical bumps, musical statues and musical monsters were all popular. The Parent & Child Dance Competition went down a storm (well done everyone who took part!) and there was even a breakdance and gymnastics competition, if briefly. It was a real team effort and we were rewarded with an absolutely packed hall of kids and parents enjoying the afternoon music, dancing, games and refreshments without there being a single penny to pay. Everything was laid on by the volunteers from the committee! I’m confident this is the start of a new phase for the Leverington Village Hall as the committee are focused on delivering many more such enjoyable events either for free or at very low cost, for local people to enjoy.
The week gets a bit less hectic from here on out, giving me a chance to catch up on business and stuff that pays my bills – at least until Saturday! That’s when I’ll be the quizmaster for the Wisbech Conservatives Summer BBQ Quiz Night. There’s still a little space, so if you fancy coming along to that just let me know! Tickets are £10.00 which includes a small mountain of delicious barbecued food and the fun quiz.
A Scrappy Blog Post
I’ve had an interesting sort of week, though it was mostly dominated by work. Since fifty or so hours a week of my time were recently freed up I’ve been working to rebuild and consolidate some of my various business interests. I closed Number10 Café last weekend and have been putting lots of extra hours into my other businesses. It’s beginning to pay off and it’s actually quite refreshing to get back to making some money again.
I’ve also had quite a variety of interesting meetings this week. On Tuesday I had a meeting with a group in Leverington who had an interesting proposal they wanted some advice on. I won’t relay exactly what it was, since it’s their thing and not mine – so not my place to do so. But I thought it innovative and clever and I offered to help however I could. On Wednesday I was in Newton meeting with one of the parish councillors to finalise details of next week’s big summer fête. Today I met with one of the people on the list for selection as a Conservative MEP candidate (which reminds me, I really should do a fun run-down of the candidates sometimes soon. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of those!) Tomorrow I’m heading into Tydd St. Giles to share a pint with some of my friends there and chat over local planning and Fenrats business.
I did manage to get back to the gym yesterday. I’ve had a six month hiatus from weight-lifting and I’m getting saggy and old, so it was time to try and reverse at least some of my decline. If such a thing is even possible. I popped over to Shapers, which is refreshingly unchanged from when I first went there a decade ago. It’s still the sort of blood-and-guts gym that scares the faint-hearted and spikes your adrenaline the minute you walk in the door. Very loud metal bands pound and roar out of the giant speakers while huge muscular chaps lift ridiculously large stacks of weights with seeming ease. Great atmosphere, tons of equipment, can’t ask for more really. Though everything is aching today – it’s good to be back on track. I intend to get back to four gym visits a week starting now.
Oh, and I’ve joined the Village Hall Committee in Leverington too. That’s two village hall committees. I may possibly become an authority in village hall committees! :) But it’s a great way to help with local causes and broaden the choice of things local people have to do in their area. I don’t know what my meagre talents can add to the excellent committee there – but as ever, I’m glad to try and help.
Also, I managed to get the front of my house painted and my front garden planted – and even managed to clear the back garden in time for some Summer barbecues. Presuming we ever get some Summer. Perhaps it’s more likely that all this Global Warming will deliver us Winter in early September and snow by late Autumn? Damn you, Carbon Dioxide, and your terrible heat-trapping properties.
But it’s broadly been a week of getting the nitty-gritty bits done and earning a crust. Tonight I’m driving to Peterborough to take my wife to two movies; The Purge and World War Z. No doubt some popcorn will be eaten. But not too much – I’m trying to be healthier. ; )
Mayoral Rehearsal & Other Stuff
This morning I had the pleasure of taking part in a rehearsal of the Mayor Making Ceremony which will take place on Friday. One of the things I love about Wisbech is the maintenance of all the historic pomp and ceremony that has been a part of the town’s life for hundreds of years. The Mayor Making ceremony, where the old mayor hands over the chains of office to a newly-elected mayor, is one of the key items of business for the town council each year.
The rehearsal went smoothly and everybody seemed to know their roles. Come Friday, Wisbech will have a new mayor. And, if it’s who I hope it is, she will be a fantastic, lively, energetic and positive new mayor for the town.
This afternoon I cleared a backlog of emails and paperwork, including an exciting new venture I’m helping with in Leverington (more info coming soon!) and I did some work on the new website for the ABC Nursery in Tydd St Giles, who I’m working with.
This evening I met with a subcommittee of the Newton Village Hall team to help plan forthcoming events in the village and in other neighbouring villages.
It’s been a busy day, but tomorrow will be even busier as I’m off to the Gherkin building in London to meet with some people about a potential opportunity there. Apparently, the meeting will be on the top floor. Which is brilliant! Who wouldn’t want to look out over London from the top floor of the Gherkin? I’m excited about it, anyway.