It’s Sunday, and it could be a bit of a gloomy prospect. We are pretty much flooded in to our house near Corsham. The electricity has been off for 24 hours or so. Its freezing cold in the house, and I have a puncture in my car with no spare wheel. I am hobbling around on crutches pending a hip replacement op, and Coronavirus hangs over us all like a great Sword of Damocles. Oh “Woe, Woe and thrice Woe “if you are old enough to remember the gloomy old Soothsayer in Frankie Howerd’s hilarious ‘Up Pompei’. “Ye’re all doomed” as Jock Fraser used to warn in ‘Dads Army’.
But then again, we are lucky to have an AGA so a big cooked breakfast cheered me up. We have a 4- wheel drive vehicle, so I made it through the flooded lanes to our excellent newsagent in Holt for the Sunday papers. Our next-door neighbours have a bore hole driven by electricity, so they have neither electricity nor water. (How ironic given the amount of water around the place) And we made it out last evening for one of the best dinners we have had in a long time- at the excellent Somerford Arms in Little Somerford. (A Community pub and thriving.)
Not only all of that, but the reshuffle behind us, we now have a lovely half term break to recuperate and get on with some constituency work. I am full of admiration for Ellie Gould’s friends who are campaigning to get self-defence classes in every school curriculum, and I am doing what I can to help. I am working to sort out a problem with leasehold houses near Royal Wootton Bassett, and have a meeting with Mr Crapper on his landfill site, both to upbraid him on the unacceptable smells which have been emanating from the site in recent weeks, and to hear about some new projects he has in mind. It’s not his fault - it’s ours for generating so much rubbish. If we could use less, recycle more, there would be less and less reason for a landfill site like Crappers.
I nip up to Ashton Keynes to sympathise with villagers’ objection to yet another minerals extraction plan which would in the end result in the village becoming an effective island, with lakes entirely surrounding it. I combine that meeting with a visit to outstanding local coach company, Ellisons, who perfectly reasonably cannot see why a current Government consultation should force them to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds in making all of their school buses disabled friendly when there are no disabled children locally. (If there were, then Ellisons would make suitable provision). And I drop in to the lovely community run Ashton Keynes shop for a (rather late- sorry, Philippa) Valentines Day card and present.
These and a dozen other similar matters are the very meat and drink of the Constituency MP’s life, and I get huge satisfaction from it. You may not be able to help with everything which is brought to your door. But I relish every single such problem that I am able to help solve.
So I wish Rishi Sunak and the all the other young thrusters who have been promoted to various jobs in Government well, but like the farmer in the old poem:-
Let the wealthy and great live in splendour and state.
I envy them not, I declare it.
I have lawns and bowers. I have fruits and flowers,
And the lark is my morning alarmer.
Neither Storm Dennis, flooding and power cuts, Coronavirus, punctured tyres nor my imminent hip operation gets us down, when there is so much good in the world, and so much work to be done.
Just crack on, I’d say.