February 2015

March 11, 2015

This month I enjoyed reading ‘Stone Mattress’ by Margaret Atwood. This is a book of short stories, the best of which is the title of the book. What I really like about this author, even more then her stories, is the excellent quality of her writing. This book is an entertaining read that makes you want to write.

I have been invited, by the Minister for Public Services, to sit on a new Public Service Leadership Panel that he has established to advice him on public service reform. The first meeting of this Panel took place this month and I was very encouraged by the quality and enthusiasm of the other members. They have been chosen from other sectors, including universities, private sector and third sector. The Panel has already identified its areas of work and I’m looking forward to both influencing developments at a national level and bringing back learning for Denbighshire.

It took me seven and a half hours to get from Llandyrnog to Merthry Tydfil: all because a freight train had broken down just before Shrewsbury. The whole Arriva train system simply collapsed. After hours of waiting and chaos we had to travel to Birmingham New Street in order to get a train to Hereford. The only good thing was that the trip from Birmingham was fast and there was good 3G access so I was able to deal with my emails. The return journey was another four hours. I could have gone to Cyprus to attend a family wedding and returned in fewer hours!

January 2015

February 4, 2015

A whole month and my new year’s resolution is going strong. This month I enjoyed reading ‘Being Mortal’ by Atul Gawande. I think this book is a must read for anyone interested in the current debate about what Wellbeing means for people approaching the end of life and whether the systems we have created to support them are failing. The book is really thought provoking and even uplifting.

My son has secured his first full time, permanent job since leaving university last summer. He will be working in Harrods’ toy department but doesn’t want to give up his ‘zero-hours’ contract with Opta so he’ll do a bit of that too.

I’m still not cycling and using the weather as an excuse. I’m determined to sort this out in February. In the meantime I was inspired by an article I read about Kate Hudson who keeps in shape by skipping for three sessions of three minutes. I am managing 3 x 2 but it’s harder than cycling and an additional incentive to start soon.

I was very disappointed with the Welsh Government’s decision to reject our joint expression of interest to voluntarily merge with Conwy. The proposition is obviously worthy of serious consideration and the decision not to even develop a full business case is probably a missed opportunity that will cost the public more in cuts. A good case study of how poor leadership can suffocate innovation at birth. Being positive, we can now rule merger out for the next five years and concentrate on developing a new vision for the county after we deliver the current Corporate Plan.


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