Phew! School’s out. Parliament has ‘risen’ and will not sit again until early September (leaving aside any possible recalls of Parliament). And most of us are breathing a bit of a sigh of relief. The run-up to the Election started pretty much last summer, and it was an exceptionally long and exhausting campaign (my sixth). It’s been a pretty intensive couple of months since then with heavy ‘three line whips’ most days on a raft of new bills, as well as getting all the Committees and so on set up. July in London always seems hot and tired and rather bad-tempered somehow, so I am glad to get back to the rural calm of North Wiltshire.
I shall be taking a couple of short trips overseas - a long weekend in France and a sailing trip to Spitzbergen. But if you live somewhere as nice as North Wiltshire, who needs a holiday? (Philippa has the answer to that and I shall try to let her have one). But it’s not all holiday, so much as a chance to catch up on constituency matters, and perhaps do a bit of reading and writing and thinking.
Not that I can complain about that. Last weekend is typical: a meeting with Wiltshire Council to discuss leisure facilities in Cricklade, Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett and Malmesbury; a visit to the Great House care home in Kington Langley; a speech at a lunch at Bowood, drinks in Hullavington, Gala dinner at the Air Tattoo at Fairford, surgeries in Cricklade and Malmesbury, opening Cherhill Church fete, another speech in Box, and so on it all goes. None of those events could be described as very taxing - a pleasure every one.
I have always taken the view that just living the life in North Wiltshire, and attending as many events as I possibly can (the Dauntsey and Tockenham fetes were a casualty of diary clashes last weekend), gives me a pretty good flavour of what people in the area are thinking, the better to represent their views in Parliament. There is an invisible umbilical cord between local life and events and the great debates of the day in Westminster.
So I hope you all have a good holiday, and a bit of rest and recuperation. I shall try to keep up my weekly ramblings in the Gazette and Herald as best I can, and look forward to seeing everyone at my physical ramblings around North Wiltshire.