Blog 24 Sep 17Over the next couple of weeks I am going to try and change my Blog style and give more details on the meetings and events etc where possible and remove some of the timelines, but happy to revert back if people don’t like the new format.

This week’s Blog starts last Sunday, which was an extremely busy but very enjoyable day. Sunday morning was spent drafting various correspondence in response to the enquiries made during my last Constituency Surgery.

At lunchtime I joined Ann Corlett, MHK, Lawrie Hooper, MHK and Bill Shimmins, MHK on Manx Radio’s Sunday Opinion programme, which included the Mannin Line. Although the two programmes are spread over two the hours, the time goes incredibly quickly, and I am not entirely sure it was my best programme.

Once the programme finished it was a race to get home to collect Ellen before heading to Onchan Park for the Onchan Civic Service. Fortunately, I went to Manx Radio in my suit in order to help save some time.

It was a wonderful Civic Service and the excellent refreshments were served in Onchan Park. It is always one of those annual events that brings Onchan together.

Finally got home for 17.50.

Didn’t sleep well on Sunday night, completely under the weather with a sore throat, headaches and cut mouth, which probably resulted in me getting less than two hours sleep. Still managed to get into the office for 8.10am on Monday.

The morning was taken up mainly with TT and the Festival of Motorcycling issues as Tim Crookall, MLC and I continue to hold a series of meetings with various stakeholders involved in these events. During the morning we had a further debrief meeting with the Isle of Man TT Marshals Association, which lasted around 90 minutes.

At lunchtime, we headed over to DED for a meeting with Paul Philips, DED Business Development Manager for Motorsport. The meeting was used to feed back information received from various parties as we continue to look to improve facilities and the overall events for 2018.

In the afternoon I attended a presentation given by the Department of Infrastructure to hoteliers and businesses, along with representatives from the Douglas Council. I attended the meeting in my capacity as political member with responsibility for tourism and the retail sector.

I found the meeting extremely helpful and it was good to listen to concerns relating to parking, construction time and how the traffic will flow once the scheme is finished.

Returned to the office to send several e-mails before leaving the office at around 17.10 , before getting straight in bed…….

I still felt I had been hit for six on Tuesday morning, so had little option but to spend the day in bed, which meant I had to send various e-mails cancelling or rescheduling meetings and briefings.

I was extremely disappointed that I was unable to attend today’s Manx Gas demonstration outside the Tynwald Court as I have been highlighting the failings of Manx Gas, especially around their standing charges, profit margins, press releases for a number of years……

Unfortunately, there was one meeting with the MGP Supporters that I couldn’t cancel at such short notice, but it was in the evening, which gave me time to catch up with some sleep, but I still ended up spending half of the day responding to e-mails.

Anyway, Tim Crookall, MLC and I attended the meeting in order to listen to the supporters’ views on this year’s events, which was an open and frank discussion but worthwhile as we continue to reach out to listen to various parties and supporters.

Despite still being under the weather, Wednesday was a very early start as I headed to Scotland for three days to attend the European Dark Skies Conference at Cally Palace Hotel in Dumfries and Galloway.

We arrived at the airport at 6.10am only to discover long queues at both the Flybe desk and going through security. I have received several e-mails on the topic over the last week and I will certainly raise the items with Ann Reynolds when I return to the island on Friday evening.

Fortunately, the flight to Liverpool was on time and we landed at 8.10am. After collecting the hire car we headed up to Scotland, which was a 200 mile drive through some stunning countryside.

The strangest part of the entire drive was the further north we drove, the darker the skies got as the rain set in. We arrived at the hotel for 13.00, which left me little time as the registration opened at 13.15 and the welcome address started at 14.00.

I have done a second Blog, which covers all the activities surrounding the Conference Programme, which I will post on Facebook separately.

See Dark Skies Conference (Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd Sept)…………

After saying thank you to the delegation we left the Cally Palace at 10.40am on Friday morning as we headed back down to Liverpool, which was another four hour drive.

It was a beautiful trip back to Liverpool and we even had time to visit the docks on the way to the airport. We arrived at LIverpool for 17.45 ahead of the 20.10 flight to the Isle of Man.

Unfortunately, the Flybe flight from Liverpool was delayed which meant we didn’t get home till 22.00 – a long, long day of travelling.

Saturday (23rd Sept) is a day of celebrations, Ellen and I have been married for 11 years and I have been a MHK for one year!

That said, most of this weekend will be taken up reading through an A4 folder ahead of Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee taking evidence next week, along with drafting notes and questions…..

Not to mention trying to recover from this man flu…..!