Back to the usual bilge after holidaying with a broken rib
Back to the grind then. I thought the pooch gave an excellent account of herself in last week’s episode but it’s probably down to Myra’s editing skills. It’s good that Myra does one of these every now and then because you actually get an update on things wot are going on round here rather than the usual bilge.
Anyway, I’m not about to change the habits of a lifetime so I’ll hark back to 2 Thursdays ago, when the anticipated meeting about Junction 2 festival took place. I was a bit astonished that Linda Massey wasn’t in attendance for this meeting – it was like a wedding without a bride – and it rather negated the point of meeting. Turns out whoever set up the meeting had omitted to invite her. It’s a pity, because it could have been a very constructive meeting.
On Friday that week I was invited to attend an event at the Floreat school, however as I crossed the road outside Sainsbury’s in Great West Quarter I failed to observe that there is a high kerb there. A few people thought there had been an earthquake as they came rushing out from the school and elsewhere to see this groaning hulk floundering by the flower beds. I made my apologies to Floreat – I was not a pretty sight, even by my normal standards – and cycled off home. I never did much like those trousers before they had a split knee but I’ve grown very attached to my ribs over the years. But when I arrived in A&E in the early hours of Saturday (I wasn’t sleeping too well) the doctor told me that one half of one of my ribs was no longer attached to the other half. I told him I was flying to Spain the next day and he prescribed me some painkillers. Anyway, despite all that, I did get to Spain and had a superb break, though my normal highly athletic swimming across the bay was off the menu.
The Ibiza town hall had a clear message above the front door, helpfully translated:
It’s a pity that the UK is a small island and we don’t really have any room for refugees.
Myra said to me ‘I bet you take your iPad with you on holiday’. Well, yes of course I did but I was a good boy and I didn’t even sneak a peek at my council emails, though of course this just means the backlog accumulates – 172 unread by the time I returned.
Back in blighty for the weekend, I continued my holiday and got back down to it on Monday, clearing some of those pesky emails during the day and then the untold delights of a Labour group meeting at the Civic in the evening.
Tuesday I went to talk with the benefits team with a lady resident. She is well over 21 and a demand from the caring and sharing DWP for several thousand pounds in alleged overpayments had rather spoiled her breakfast, as had subsequent filching of large sums of money from her bank account. Anyway, we met a lady from Liberata, the council’s benefits service provider, and she was most helpful and sympathetic, not least because our resident could show that she had been very clear about her circumstances and any overpayment was the DWP’s own error. Fingers crossed for our resident to have this ‘overpayment’ written off. Borough council in the evening passed without any major fireworks and was one of those occasions where it pays to be a councillor – no danger of being trick-or-treated in the chamber, though one or two of the members are a bit spooky.
Wednesday I went on a bit of a ‘beat the bounds of the ward’ trip, picking up (not literally) a few flytips, graffiti and general bits of mess, taking a look at a few things that residents had reported to me and checking up on how well the bins are being managed in terms of clearing the pavements after emptying (still room for improvement!)
In the evening a meeting of the Hounslow Community Foodboxtrustees. The business is growing faster than Apple as a result of the Universal Credit calamity leaving people who were poor in the first place literally penniless for at least 6 weeks. The good news is that we have an increasing number of people making regular small donations – often £10 per month – and we are getting good support from the food stores. Also, someone we know well had the good fortune to win a huge American fridge-freezer in a raffle but couldn’t fit it in his flat: we have found it a loving home – a fridge-freezer is for life, not just for Christmas.
I have to whizz off to the Civic now to hear of plans for Brentford Lodge – the small NHS unit in the grounds of the Brentford health centre. Not actually in our ward but Myra and Mel are both especially keen to see it properly used so I’ll lend some moral support. This evening we have planning committee with at least two Brentford matters – aerials on top of the tower in Great West Quarter which I called in for review because there are a lot of objections, and the famous ‘Block D’ – the council’s social housing element of the Ballymore/south of Brentford High St development.
Councillor Guy Lambert
September 15, 2017