What I did last week (13-17 Jul 20)

excellent veggie main course at Urban Shed

Monday: a freebie is always a delight and today I’ve been on the receiving end of one. It seems like a long time since the last one (maybe that’s a post for the future: 5 freebies I’ve enjoyed) but this one’s welcome on so many levels.

I’ve been invited, along with three colleagues from the community, to the ‘soft re-opening’ of Urban Shed at the Phoenix. As a ‘hospitality venue’ it’s relatively new to Histon and was finding its niche as a cafe/bar before Covid came along and it had to close. Now it’s implemented Covid compliant changes and it’s ready to start up again. Tonight the food has been excellent (see the photo) and we’re promised that they will be opening Wed-Sun starting next week. My concern is the partitions they’ve got in place which are tacky and may not even be necessary. But I will be back if only for their super breakfasts.

Tuesday: in general, but especially since my cardiac event of last year, I have been doing my best to not get involved in any more community and council activities but I’ve slowly got sucked into the ‘core group’ at the centre of Histon & Impington’s Covid-19 community response. I’ve done my best to remain as an advisor and counsel but in recent weeks I’ve found myself chairing the recent meetings. Today we reckon is the ‘end of the beginnning’. Our community has not been badly hit, our support network has been excellent and the High Street has served it well. As a group we are now more concerned with the impact on mental well-being, we’ve got some initiatives going to address this already, and now we need to reconstitute so that we can address this.

Wednesday: I am still doing a little paid work and this involves an excellent small technology company, Cambridge-Sensotec, based in St Ives. I’ve worked with them for about 10 years now and at present I’m covering for an absent sales & marketing director. This is requiring me to provide a little more hands-on guidance to a small team and today I’m understanding and bringing a little more customer-oriented structure to its product range. It’s a fundamental rule in business that you need to make it easy for customers to buy from you but too often, and especially in technology companies, there’s too much internally generated complexity. The time worn KISS ‘keep it simple, stupid’ rule continues to be appropriate.

Thursday: I promised myself some time ago that there would be no more early starts. I’ve got up at 0600 or even earlier too often for early flights or cross country drives and although I am a morning person I don’t really believe that they should start before 0730. But I’m a Trustee (I always think that’s sounds like a reference to a prison sentence I’m serving) at the Morris Education Trust and we have our board meetings to include breakfast. Normally they start at 0730 but it seems that as long as we’re in Zoom territory we have an 0800 start but that still requires me to be up before, but just before, 0730. Today is our last meeting at MET before we come together again as a part of a larger Trust as we are merging with the Cambridge Education Trust (that’s another story) and I surprise myself by enabling a route forward through a little pre-merger difficulty. I am the oldest member of the board but in addition to bringing the wisdom of age (!) I also act as its conscience and remind it of its obligations to the communities which it serves (and which, indirectly, fund it).

Friday: it’s POET’s day. That’s ‘piss off early tomorrow’s Saturday’ and even in Covid times Friday signals the end of the work week and the start of the weekend. Inasmuch as I am ‘in work’ I still celebrate it and observe its rituals which of course includes my regular beer and steak on Friday evenings. But before there’s work to be done and at 1215 I have my tenth video meeting of the week. It’s the strangely named Policy Planning when the County Council Lib Dem group meets monthly to debate, I guess, policy. This month it’s the meeting before a meeting of Full Council (next Tuesday) and we have to determine our position with respect to the motions that come before us. One of these relates to a possible incinerator development in Wisbech and is proposed by local councillor Steve Tierney who’s normal position on issues like climate change, Brexit etc are, let’s say, not closely aligned to the Lib Dems’. It’s a long and rambling motion that seems to want to suck the Council into taking a position on incinerators per se before asking it to come out against this particular one. Since the Council will have a role in determining any related planning application it seems most inappropriate that it does so and so despite some empathy with the people of Wisbech I’d prefer to abstain. Fortunately I’m a substitute member of the Planning Commitee so will be excluded from this item so by inclination for abstain will not be tested.

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