Every second Monday is the date for our regular ward business meetings. These involve the four councillors for the ward, and our ward manager, Sue Palmer, who hails from Sheffield - on the wrong side of the Pennines for those like me with Lancastrian leanings, but still, nobody's perfect - anyhow, I digress - The ward business meeting picks up all of the issues which are of concern to any of us, so we can decide on a course of action to address them. In some wards, political differences mean that co-operation is non-existent, but thankfully, we don't work like that here. With two Liberal Democrats, one Independent and myself, SNP, we still manage to get along just fine and make joint decisions about things that concern us. Through the ward manager, we ask that representatives of council services where we have issues, or just simply questions, attend the meeting let us know what's happening or what they are planning. Today, we had two such attend to tell us of their plans for the development of the Highland Folk Park in Newtonmore and how they proposed they might move the exhibits from the now dilapidated buildings in Kingussie to their planned new home three miles down the road. There had been a long running sore in Newtonmore that the entrance to the Folk Park is well outside the village and that this tended to mitigate against any interaction between visitors to the folk park and the village itself - and vice versa. It was very gratifying to hear that, after years of trying to get them to address this issue, they are now actively looking at a pedestrian access at the village end of the park.
Another issue discussed today was efforts to rationalise the office spaces used by the council in Kingussie - we are scattered in five locations and the plan was to try to get everyone in the same location, but this is looking problematic, to say the least.
On a lighter note, though with a serious element, we were discussing arrangements to fly the armed forces flag for seven days from June 22nd, armed forces day. Naturally, we were happy to support the brave men and women who fight for our country - even if we don't always agree with the politics that says they have to - but Councillor Gregor Rimell's impression of the hoy-poloy of the armed forces had us all in stitches - a kind of local version of It Ain't Half Hot Mum. It's always good to know that there is room for some humour in your day - whatever you do.
Turning to domestic matters, yesterday, we heard that our daughter would be performing in a choir in the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Sunday June 28th, just a few days before her birthday, so it was onto the Flybe website to snaffle whatever flights we could for a trip down. Turns out that my other half will fly down on Friday morning, but I will go on the Saturday as I have a Cairngorms National Park Authority Planning meeting in Ballater on the Friday. Then we'll come back on the day after her birthday. This will be a great opportunity to show off the pictures and videos from India, from whence we will have returned just a fortnight earlier.
And today's thought ... so there's an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico which seems to be hitting them hard - although I heard one report that the '100 dead' was nowhere near the truth and that '5' might be nearer. And someone in Spain is a little bit ill, along with a couple of folk in Scotland who have 'mild symptoms'. In the words of Douglas Adams in the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy ...