Words, potholes, cycle lanes and parks people
One of the difficulties in doing this is that I have some trouble recalling what day it is, never mind remembering what I was doing a week ago. This is probably apparent to readers who may have spotted that I used the word fantastic twice in the same paragraph last week, which was not a reflection of fantastic literary practice. This no doubt shocked people as being unlike my normal flawless prose (stop laughing at the back).
Anyway, if it gets in my diary it tends to get included, but I do find myself wondering what I was doing last Thursday, when the diary is largely blank. I know I spent some time last week wrestling with one of the schedules to the Hounslow Highways contract, trying to uncover the definition of a pothole, but in reality a lot of what I do is short replies to short emails or phone calls. Some of them concern matters of great concern to individuals but lack earth-shattering relevance to most of us. Others are of wider importance and (when I remember) I try and mention those.
Anyway, the good news is I do remember what I did last Friday, which was to pick up a lot of material from the printers in Isleworth and take it to our constituency office, there to work with a team of volunteers folding up letters and sticking them in envelopes. There is something very comforting about spending a couple of hours doing something which involves a limited amount of manual dexterity and absolutely no intellectual effort, a bit like clapping at the Conservative Party conference (though to be fair some of them look like they have to concentrate quite hard to do the clapping thing). Obviously at Labour conferences and meetings we concentrate on matters of high politics and display unparalleled intellectual virtuosity.
Monday afternoon I cycle to the Civic Centre in the balmy cloudshine to meet with various officers so we can begin to understand the financial implications of the proposal for a school in Layton Road, which will be coming to the planning committee shortly. This is a most helpful meeting. My fellow councillors stay on in the Civic Centre because there is a meeting of the Labour Group in the evening but I give my apologies because it clashes with the monthly Credit Union board meeting. I, however return to the balmy cloudshine to cycle home and discover someone up there is having a larf and has turned those clouds into a mild downpour. Nothing daunted, I whiz homewards along the A4’s not too bad, if we’re honest, cycle lanes. It is only when I get in the lift to rise to my flat that I look in the mirror (never a welcome action) and find that my markings have changed into those of a leopard. Must get those mudguards from the cycle shop that they were unable to supply with the bike (because the bike is extremely groovy, and unlike other bikes).
Tuesday we have an update on Brentford parks with the parks people (no relation to Pan’s People). Quite a lot of things are in train for the two Carville Hall parks: the outdoor gym has just opened and there are free classes there on Tuesdays (12 till 1) and Thursdays (3.30 to 4.30) until mid-November. Get on down, you Brilliants. There is also some funding for improvements for both parks, so we were advising on what was the preferred plan, Myra in particular having had input from park users whilst exercising the abominable beast. We raised the questions of St Paul’s Rec, and the park area at the top of the Clayponds estate, both of which will benefit from a bit of care and investment, and touched on the Brentford War Memorial, where we are very unhappy with the work to date. The other two had had a meeting on site on Friday and agreed some remedial actions so here’s hoping…
Later on I met Cllr Dennison and others to review consultation plans for potential closure of Stile Hall Gardens and Wellesley Road in Chiswick to through traffic. This will go live on the council’s website in early November (or earlier) and is worth a look because it will potentially have an impact on Chiswick High Road (including the South Circular bit) as well as the residential roads.
In the evening, Borough Council. The main debate was on the council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy. You will be astonished to hear that our Conservative brethren were agin it. I mildly pointed out that at least the council has one – even though it’s not exactly easy with the ever tightening thumbscrews of central government – whereas the so called Long Term Economic Plan of the revered government, having failed to meet any of its targets, appears to have finally been scrapped. Its perpetrator, described by the police as a 45 year old male, with connections in the Tatton area of Cheshire and the City of Westminster, who goes under the names of George, or sometimes Gideon, has also been scrapped.
The gang from across the chamber, under their ringleader Genghis, unveiled a motion asking the council to ask Ballymore to produce a waterside strategy. They remembered that both Mel and I had made the same request last month but seemed to have forgotten that this had been agreed by the Leader. Mel, in his mild way and without sounding at all patronising, reminded them that the motion was in fact redundant and we could all go home, another cunning plan foiled.
My Wednesday was the usual mixture of estate business and time in the Labour office, prefaced on this occasion by a stroll around the estate delivering invitations to Ruth Cadbury’s forthcoming Syon coffee morning. As usual, I had trouble finding all the houseboats, until one of the boaters told me that the one I was looking for had moved to Kent. I thought about a long swim but decided he probably wouldn’t be too interested in Ruth’s event.
Must get on with my Thursday evening activities now. I am actually triple booked so will have to miss two meetings I would like to attend. I will prioritise the meeting of the Thomas Layton Trust, always fascinating and especially important as I missed the last one.
October 20, 2016