The Summer Recess is an essential  time for re-charging of batteries- physical, mental, spiritual. Part of that must be thinking, reading, contemplating. Yet to a non-monk and a meditation/Yoga  sceptic like me, all of those things are best achieved while doing stuff. So the Recess is almost as busy as the Parliamentary term.

Since the House rose last Thursday,  I have been hyperactive around my ’patch’- including the new bits of it around Tetbury and Cirencester – and each engagement, every conversation has played a part in unwinding, informing and inspiring my thinking for the year which lies ahead. One day I lunched with the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester to hear about their £150million development plans. But almost as exciting was our chat about climate change, sustainable agriculture, and what RAU can better do to educate our young people on using our Planet better. Fires raging across the Mediterranean was the thought-provoking background. Another evening I went to Cirencester’s Barn Theatre. Loved the theatre – albeit not quite so sure about the excellent performance ‘Once’, which perhaps too much of a rock concert for my personal tastes. But I will very much look forward to “I’m Sorry, Prime Minister’ which is running from 28th September.

I had 40 or so constituents for a Supper Club in the barn at the bottom of my garden (the second of five parties there this Summer- Philippa’s Lasagne is a wonder). A 2 hour discussion ranged from the very mundane through to the deeply philosophical - is Conservativism the natural instinct of the British people? And do they know it? The discussion would have been much enlightened by the late and great Sir Roger Scruton, the greatest Conservative thinker of his generation. His lovely widow, Sophie keeps his flame alive through her annual Scrutopia Conference, at which I spoke after a dinner. I especially tried to focus on Roger Scruton’s oikophilia (love of home). Are we ‘people from somewhere’ - our town or village, perhaps the Cotswolds (probably); our family and friends, our school, work, regiment or University? Those are the things which make us ‘People from Somewhere’ with the resulting better mental stability than ‘People from nowhere’- those without grounding in their home, loves and places.

Earlier that day I had been at Tetbury Church for the wonderful funeral of local farmer and sportsman, David Lowsley-Wiliams. A couple of quotes from the Order of Service helped inspire my thoughts for what I would say to Scrutopia that evening:-

“Please do remember to forget anger, worry and regret. Love while you’ve love to give. Live while you’ve life to live’ (Piet Hein) “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run - yours is the earth and everything in it.” (Kipling) “When can their glory fade? Oh the wild charge that they made! All the world wonder’d. Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred.” (Tennyson, Charge of the Light Brigade.) “Here’s to all those that we love; and here’s to all those that love us; and here’s to all them that love those that love them, that love those, that love them that love us.”!

An hour long Podcast recorded about Military Veterans, lunches in Grittleton, in Didmarton,  with Nic Puntis, the new candidate for the Chippenham Seat, dinner with the First Sea Lord in Admiral Lord Nelson’s cabin on HMS Victory, a step-daughter’s 26th birthday party (P’s lasagne in the barn); surgeries in Cricklade and Malmesbury. These and a hundred thoughts and encouters during them stimulate the brain and relax it at the same time. Now I’ve a week on the beach in Cornwall in prospect to relax the body as well. Barbeques, body boarding and windblown cliff walks. Who could want for anything more?