Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Catch up time

I've just realised what a long time it is since I wrote anything in this diary. An eventful six weeks really, in which I passed the significant age of 60, became a grandmother and became Council group leader in that order. No wonder I hadn't time for blogging!
My birthday bash was a really enjoyable Ceilidh at Yarm Fellowship Hall to music by The Cleveland Bays. Friends came from far and wide and the whole family was there. It's a long time since I've enjoyed an evening so much. We also had some of Kirsty's long-standing friends (most of whom had been in Guides or at school with her) so that they could have an evening together before she and Pete jetted off to Australia.
On the actual date of my birthday they flew on the first leg of their journey as far as Dubai where their plane was delayed so they started their wedding anniversary in the transit lounge of the airport - Kirsty curled up asleep and Pete on his laptop with a wireless connection e-mailing photographs of the journey so far to friends and family around the world. Since then things have gone rather more smoothly for them and they are now touring that huge country before she starts work in March.
Between Christmas & New Year Denis and I went to Keswick for a short break to walk in breathtakingly crisp cold scenery. We arrived home to find that all was not running smoothly with Andrea's pregancy and she had spent a night in hospital for tests. The next 3 weeks were punctuated by regular checks with parents anxiously waiting for the results, and the early arrival of Emma Jane on January 18th. She is of course beautiful but small. Their first shopping expedition was to buy some tiny baby clothes - the many first size ones they'd received in advance will have to wait a few weeks to be useful. The proud parents are tired but enjoying her to the full, and proud grandparents couldn't wait to go down and see her.

On the Council there was a lull over Christmas, as usual, but immediately afterwards I presented the last scrutiny report of the Education, Leisure & Cultural Services Select committee first to members of the Youth Assembly and of the youth service and then to cabinet. In both cases it was well received and the department is now looking at ways of implementing the recommendations in it.

Suzanne decided that she needed to step down as group leader very soon in order to give her successor chance to do the necessary negotiations on budget and positions of responsibility before the Annual Meeting when she'll become Mayor. At the group meeting it was decided that I would take over from February 1st, so here I am! A bit like birthdays - it doesn't actually feel any different to yesterday.

The FairTrade Borough campaign rolls on, albeit slowly. Last night was an amazing night, though, with 100 people squeezed into the Newtown Resource centre to hear Bruce Crowther speak about how we could move forward, Simeon Greene talk about the difference FairTrade made to his home island in the Windward Islands and John Lyons talk about the impact on the global awareness in his primary school. We hope now that all those people will go away and promote it even more actively.

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