June 4, 2015
My book of the month for May was “The Last Asylum” by Barbara Taylor. This is an excellent book which details how the author descended into self professed ‘madness’ and recovered from it as well as a fascinating history of asylums.
The general election result for the Vale of Clwyd was close and there was a recount to confirm it. Close elections must be stressful for the candidates involved but I don’t think people appreciate how stressful they are for the staff who are actually doing the count. As soon as a recount is requested and agreed the attention is focused on the counters and everyone becomes slightly nervous. At one point of the evening, when it became clear that the result was going to be very close, a member of staff whispered to me: ‘I don’t care who wins, I just hope it’s not very close’. I just smiled, but knew exactly what he meant. When the recount was confirmed to be almost exactly the same as the first count there was relief on all of the staff faces.
I would now describe myself as a ‘better than a beginner’ DIY person. I find it almost therapeutic, like some might find gardening. I have recently painted out kitchen cabinets and replaced an old cooker hood. I’d thought about tackling the work tops, but decided to hire a professional for that. I actually think that the job I’ve done is pretty professional and a great way to take my mind off real work.
April 15, 2015
My book of the month for March was ‘Dear Leader’ by Jang Jin-Sung. The author was a high ranking spy in North Korea who had become disillusioned and escaped to South Korea. His story is utterly convincing, harrowing and gripping.
On 20 March I had a staff meeting in Brighton Road. When I arrived, a number of staff were standing in the car park, trying to take pictures of the solar eclipse. It was an amazing sight: the Sun was almost completely covered by the Moon so you could look at it with the naked eye. Birds were confused, making a lot of noise, and reminding us that we were witnessing a special event. Later the alarm went off, apparently unrelated to the solar system.
From April a number of important services will be transferred to alternative providers, saving the council money while protecting these services for the public. These include the transfer of our Revenues and Benefits Service to Civica; the transfer of Welfare Benefits Advice to the Citizens Advice Bureau and the transfer of some public realm services to town councils in Prestatyn and Rhyl. These changes will save the tax payer over £500k without cutting the services to the public.
Welsh Assembly has turned down a request to film James Bond at the Senedd, because it’s not a ‘drama studio’. I thought the decision was a missed opportunity to introduce the Senedd to the World.