Saturday, August 16, 2008

Holidays are a time for refreshment and recreation, and my last week was no exception. We travelled to Jamaica, somewhere we never thought we'd see, for a family wedding. During our stay I heard at first hand about the devastating effect of American powdered milk being dumped on the market (Jamaican dairy industry largely destroyed), the effect of the drop in sugar cane sales as more countries have learned to produce sugar from beet and the indomitable Jamaican spirit finding new ways to build the economy. Tourism is now the biggest industry, which is frightening when you consider how fickle it is. I enjoyed the company of the Jamaicans I met and realised just how proud of their country they are, 6 years after independence was won. National and local heroes are celebrated everywhere and the pride and interest in local government has lessons for us. People know just who to blame because the roads are full of potholes in places! It seemed at times as though I was here in Eaglescliffe. However, we don't get quite such stunning scenery around Eaglescliffe I'm afraid.
Although we were staying with the wedding party in a coastal resort I took every opportunity I could to get out and see some of the "real" country, including a horse ride up in the mountains through the rainforest. I declined the many offers of "smoke" or "a visit to Charlie" - I can honestly say that I don't even feel tempted by such things.
Coming home was a gentle let down, as John Fletcher had done such sterling work in the ward in my absence that nothing seemed to need urgent attention. I found that the amended plans for 502-506 Yarm Rd had been passed, as were those for the refurbishment of Splash in Stockton town centre.
Our plans for planting on Larch Crescent are at last near to being implemented but it's irritating that they've taken so long when we've known for at least 2 months what we wanted to do there. It means that the residents around there have had to put up with a further 6 week school holiday with inappropriate ball games taking place there.
We've now been told that there's likely to be a shortage of bulbs to plant for next spring so if we want to get more colour round the ward next spring we need to get our order in quickly. Any residents reading this and wanting to suggest somewhere for spring bulb beds you need to get in touch quickly.

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