This week my focus of attention moved towards the Festival of Motorcycling, which was still being plagued by poor weather.

Last Saturday I was at the Grandstand all day escorting His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor to watch the first two races unfold of the Classic TT, which forms part of the overall Festival of Motorcycling event.

It was a busy day, which started around 9am and finished for around 6pm and it was good to see John McGuinness taking first place in the Senior Classic TT after his serious injury at the North West 200 last year.

The afternoon race, the Lightweight Classic TT was won by Lee Johnston with Adam McLean second and Ian Lougher third.

Unfortunately, Sunday turned into a horrible day, and yet again it highlights the difficulties in trying to get the balance right when fulfilling this role as an MHK.

I guess each MHK is slightly different in their approach, and each MHK will have their own way of dealing with certain situations as and when they arise.

Personally, if someone tags me into a message on Social Media then I will try to respond positively wherever possible. If I have conversations with individuals which require further action, then these are normally followed up with an e-mail to the relevant officer(s) or Department.

What I don’t expect is to spend most of my Sunday trying to explain a social media message, which I felt was very clear, but for some reason unknown to me it was taken completely out of context and twisted by some individuals – but I guess that’s the knocks you have to take in this job!

Anyway, on Monday I was back at the Grandstand for 9am but there were several more delays due to the weather, which was fine as I had brought my iPad and I was able to do a couple of hours of work before the race programme got underway.

I also took the opportunity to meet various people in and around the Grandstand before going onto the start line, in order to meet His Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor at around 11am.

It was another excellent day of racing with Dominic “the Bomb’ Herbertson winning the Junior Classic TT with Jamie Coward second and Lee Johnston third.

The RST Superbike Classic TT Race was won by Dean Harrison, but the MGP Newcomers had to be held over until Tuesday.

It has been a very difficult Festival of Motorcycling for the Clerk of the Course, Gary Thompson and the army of volunteers who have made the event possible.

Unlike the TT fortnight, the Festival of Motorcycling has had serious delays and cancellations throughout the event.

With part of Monday’s race programme going into Tuesday, I needed to reschedule a couple of things myself.

I went into the office briefly at 8am to collect a couple of things before driving to Onchan to deliver another 100 letters regarding the Eastern Area Plan, which I managed to finish for around 10am.

Home for a quick change before heading to the Grandstand once more, but I also needed to deal with several Constituent matters before leaving the house.

With His Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor not attending the racing on Tuesday, I was able to simply enjoy the racing and to take the day as it unfolded.

The MGP Newcomers A race was won by Irish rider Thomas Maxwell.

I was back home for around 14.00 and I then spent a couple of hours catching up with emails and phone calls etc.

I finally finished at around 16.30, but at around 18.40 I drove into Onchan to attend a meeting organised by Onchan District Commissioners, which related to the draft Eastern Area Plan.

I still do not understand the purpose of the meeting – it was either called far too late for the current Consultation period, which ended on 31st August or it was called far too early because none of the sites have actually put forward detailed proposals yet.

There were a lot of calls by Onchan Residents and Individual Commissioners at the meeting to reject the draft Eastern Area Plan altogether at this stage, but I am not entirely sure if that is the right decision for Onchan.

I fully acknowledge that there are couple of battles ahead in respect of two or three potential sites, but the Eastern Area Plan goes beyond a couple of new sites.

Onchan’s role within the Eastern Area Plan is a “Service Centre”, which means that its primary function will be to provide Housing and Schools, along with Commercial and Employment Opportunities within our village over the next eight years.

I didn’t sleep well overnight on Tuesday, I guess the public meeting at the Onchan Community Centre was still running through my head. I was up and about from 02.30am writing my Blog and sending out a couple of emails.

I still managed to get into the office just before 8am to sort out a couple of administrative tasks, along with clearing out my inbox and sending out a copy of my Eastern Area Plan submission to a couple of Constituents.

Just after 9am I drove into Onchan to drop off a couple of letters before making my way over to the Grandstand for another day’s racing. I wasn’t on formal duty but I was a guest of the Manx Motorcycle Club who run the MGP.

It was definitely a slower morning, but I was able to continue speaking to various people in and around the Paddock. There was also a couple of hours’ delay, but racing finally got underway at 12.15 with the Junior MGP, which was sponsored by Mylchreests.

James Chawke took the Chequered Flag in the opening race. I stayed to watch the start of the MGP Lightweight Trophy, which was won by Andrew Farrell, but I didn’t stay to watch the end of that race because I was feeling a little under the weather.

I got home for around 15.30 and from there I needed to catch up with emails and messages, but I managed to finish for around 17.00.

I was up and about for around 6am on Thursday sending a few urgent emails before getting into the office for 7.50am, but I still felt rather under the weather or maybe just exhausted. It certainly feels more like stress than simply being unwell, and It is hard to explain the actual pressures that we are under as MHKs from time to time.

The last paragraph isn’t a complaint – we stand for election to the House of Keys, but we don’t actually know the pressures we will feel until we actually do the job.

I guess some of the pressures relate to how passionate you are towards the role. Personally I genuinely try to help everyone who contacts me, but that isn’t always possible…..

Anyway, just before 9am I drove along the promenade to the Palace Hotel for a meeting with the Chairman and CEO of the Sefton Group, which was an annual catch up meeting.

It was a good general discussion around the hotel, minimum wage, staffing levels and future plans.

I was back at my desk for 10.45am.

I cancelled my 10.30am meeting, which gave me time to review several tender documents, but I spent considerable time during the day simply going through various sections of the Eastern Area Plan.

Other than a couple of meetings with MHK colleagues, I was sat at my desk trying to catch up with various things. I also had to go through some documents and notes relating to tourism accommodation in the North of the Island.

Just before 14.00 I drove into Onchan for a meeting with a Constituent, which was a general catch up.

I was back in office for 15.15 to catch up with emails before walking over to DfE for a meeting with Accommodation providers from the North of Island.

I felt it was a positive meeting and we genuinely need to do more to promote the beautiful accommodation which is available in the North.

The meeting finished at 17.20 and once home I had to make several urgent calls, along with sending a couple of urgent emails relating to a local sporting event.

I still managed to finish for around 19.00.

It has definitely been a very strange week trying to support the Classic TT and the MGP but also trying to stay on top of projects, workload and Constituency work.

I was back into the office for 8am on Friday but my workload and calendar had changed several times over the past few days.

Originally I was meant to meet up with a group of Cruise Ship visitors and to show them around our Parliament Chambers, but the tour was cancelled earlier on in the week.

Instead, I was able to spend the first hour printing off various reports and documents relating to the draft Eastern Area Plan. These documents are for a meeting I have scheduled at Onchan Community on Saturday 8th September 2018, in order to help any questions or concerns Onchan Ratepayers have in respect of the draft document.

There was also an ongoing exchange of emails and telephone calls, which was a continuing discussion around a local sporting event.

I then received an email asking me to attend a meeting at the Grandstand with the Chief Minister and other DfE officers from the Motorsport team.

I wasn’t planning to go up to the Grandstand on Friday because of my workload, but I am glad I did.

I arrived at 10.40am, which was just in time to see the first race get underway with the Ultra Lightweight MGP trophy, which was won by Darryl Tweed with Tom Snow second.

In third place was Chairman of Ramsey Commissioners Andrew Cowie, which was a fantastic result.

At 11am we had a meeting to discuss the Grandstand and future plans etc.

Unfortunately I can’t give any further details at this stage, but over the next 12 to 18 months more and more details will be put into the public domain – let’s just say that I am very excited….

Once the meeting finished, I was able to show a couple of guests around the grandstand and other facilities, along with watching the end of the opening race.

At lunchtime I rolled out the red carpet and bought our guests each a cheese burger and a can of pop, no expense spared…..

I managed to watch the start of the Manx Grand Prix Senior Race, which was won by Matt Stevenson with Stephen Parsons in second and Dean Osbourne in third.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch the finish as I needed to call into town before heading home for around 15.45.

Once home I needed to catch up with emails, etc.

On Friday evening Ellen and I attended the MGP Prize Presentation evening being held at the Villa Marina.

A massive thank you to the Clerk of the Course, Gary Thompson and his team over the past couple of weeks in what can only be described as difficult conditions.

Many thanks to all the Officials, Marshals and Volunteers for their commitment to the Classic TT / Manx GP over the last fortnight – the event couldn’t take place without your support.

Finally my thoughts are with the family and friends of Alan ‘Bud’ Jackson who was fatally injured at Creg-ny-Baa during practice.

Bud was a four-time Manx Grand Prix Champion.

I still have a lot of work to catch up with, so I will be spending a lot of time sat at the kitchen table this weekend, but hopefully we will get out for a walk on Sunday.