April 2016

May 10, 2016

My book of the month is ‘The Noise of Time’ by Julian Barnes. Julian Barnes is a top author (and a Leicester supporter) and I buy his books without even reading reviews about them. I know that any book by him will be immaculately written, interesting and intelligent. In April I also went to see ‘The Caretaker’ by Harold Pinter at the Old Vic Theatre in Waterloo – excellent acting, funny and dark.

My dog Coco has a problem. She gets really anxious just before travelling in the car. As soon as she works out that she’s going in the car she goes into a corner and starts shivering. I have no idea why and I don’t recall any bad experience. I have tried short trips to places she likes and even got in the boot with her to try to reassure her, but none of that has worked. She is never sick and once she’s in the car for a while she seems to settle, but she is stressed by the thought of travelling. The vet said some dogs are like that and I should try Adaptil tablets. Apparently they have been proven to help calm dogs in stressful situations. I tried the tablet for the first time and they seem to make no difference. I continue to look for an answer.

This month we learned that our senior leadership team was shortlisted for the MJ’s ‘Leadership Team of the Year, 2016 Award’. I was delighted because this is probably the most prestigious award for local government leadership and to receive such recognition from our peers is pleasing. Rebecca Maxwell, one of our Corporate Directors, and I were invited to present our case to an expert panel in London. After our presentation I made my way to St Paul’s tube station and on the way there was a big crowd watching the Queen’s guards go by. I thought wow, I think we did well, but the panel didn’t have to go this far! Then I realised this wasn’t for us but rehearsal for the Queen’s birthday. The panel will decide the winner in June, but whoever wins it’s good to be a finalist.

March 2016

April 5, 2016

My book of the month for March was The authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher by Charles Moore, Volume Two. This covered the period between 1983 and 1987 in a lot of interesting detail. I’m looking forward to the third and final volume.

My daughter’s interest in mental health was triggered by her own experience of pigeon phobia (there is a medical term for it). For several years she not only suffered the phobia but also put up with people like me who thought she was being silly and would grow out of it. It got to a point where she had to have therapy. She is now able to cope with it but within limits. Recently, she’d advertised her services as a ‘tourist guide’ and a couple from Spain replied. Great she thought, ‘ I can practice my Spanish and earn money’. But then they said Trafalgar Square was the first attraction on their list! Suddenly my daughter was too busy!

On 16 March I tuned into BBC News to listen to the Chancellor’s Budget Statement. I managed to catch the end of Prime Minister’s Questions and one of the questions was from James Davies MP concerning Denbighshire Council’s decision to pursue the Compulsory Purchase of the Denbigh Hospital site. The Prime Minister replied by commending our council for exercising its powers in this case. It was a vindication of the courage and commitment our officers have shown in pursuing this case. It isn’t always easy to take risky decisions in local government because decisions are often politicised and sometimes misrepresented. Doing nothing can often present as the easy option, so when officers of the council decide to take calculated risks, in order to do the right thing, they deserve praise.



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