So 2018 has begun, time to turn a new page and to leave a fairly successful 2017 behind me….

I will certainly take a lot of positives out of 2017, but it wasn’t without a few mistakes along the way and I definitely still have a lot to learn, especially dealing with pressure, stress and being too open and honest with my opinions at times.

Looking back I still regret having to leave the Department for Health and Social Care so early in 2017, and as I am updating my Blog on Wednesday evening I notice that Kate Beecroft, MHK has just resigned as the Minister for the Department.

It is an extremely difficult Department and the new Minister will need to build a good political team around them to ensure that they work closely with the professional officers and staff, and to ensure that the right decisions are being made collectively, however difficult those decisions might be.

Again, communication will be key and engagement with the general public will be needed at every stage. Unfortunately, the Health Service we enjoy today may not be the Health Service that we receive tomorrow, and therefore as an island we may have to look closely at what services we can actually deliver on island and those services best undertaken off island, along with how services should be funded…. publicly or privately or a mixture of both….

Anyway, stepping back into 2017 for a moment, my calendar leading up to Christmas and in between the festival break was relatively light, which meant I was able to work on a few personal projects and to take some time off.

The weather wasn’t great over the festive period, but we still managed to get out for a couple of walks over the holidays.

After suffering a 20 hour delay in getting home from Berlin on 19th December I needed to catch up with messages and e-mails once I landed back on the Isle of Man.

Unfortunately, the delay also meant that I missed the House of Keys sitting, which was extremely frustrating as there was a key vote on the election of the Chief Minister.

Fortunately the Motion went through with just enough votes…….

I guess there is nothing you can do when a major airport such as Manchester is closed due to technical issues involving the runways, along with thick fog…..

Back in to the office on Wednesday (20th Dec) to draft some correspondence before driving up to Port Jack in Onchan to meet several businesses and residents regarding ongoing parking concerns and the new proposals being tabled by the Department of the Infrastructure.

From there I attended the Leonard Cheshire Christmas Coffee morning, which I really enjoyed as it gave me an opportunity to catch up with a few friends and to learn a little more about the excellent work they do within our Community.

Back to the office to go through my Public Accounts agenda pack, along with helping a Constituent with an issue relating to a hospital appointment.

In the afternoon we had the Public Accounts Committee meeting, which lasted around 90 minutes.

The rest of the day was spent making sure that I was fully up to date, but it is fair to say that things had certainly slowed down just before Christmas.

With no meetings or briefings scheduled for Thursday (21st Dec) or Friday (22nd Dec), I was able to stay at home and to catch up with some ongoing tasks, along with reading though several large reports.

That said, I did have to go into the office briefly on Thursday 21st December as the DfE Minister called an urgent meeting to discuss a TT issue, as a decision had to be made before the Christmas break.

Although I responded to various correspondence and took several calls over the Christmas period, I was able to take a few days off.

I also worked from home on 1st and 2nd January, which again gave me an opportunity to read through some of the documents going before Tynwald Court later on in the month.

I went in to the office on Wednesday (3rd Jan) but only for a couple of hours to draft a few letters and e-mails, along with collecting some reports, which I read at home. I also dealt with several Constituent matters, but it was an easy start to the New Year.

Back into the office on Thursday 4th January at 8am and the first job was to write a few more letters to help resolve a neighbour dispute, as one neighbour is unable to carry out certain works on their property without the other neighbour’s permission, which is currently being declined…

I also made several calls before walking over to DfE for a tourism sector update, along with discussing the new agency model being set up for the island tourism sector – it is still at a very early stage and further will be provided in due course.

Back to the office to catch up with a couple of colleagues before driving to Onchan for a Constituent meeting relating to various topics including the horse trams and the walking festival. We certainly put the world to rights over a cuppa…

Back to the office for a personal meeting at lunchtime, which had been arranged by an old friend who has offered me a place on one of their professional courses later on in the year.

From there I drove back into Onchan to meet up with several Constituents to discuss an ongoing issue, which I have been trying to resolve for over a year… but I remain positive that a solution can be found for everyone involved.

Returned to the office briefly to draft a couple more letters before leaving the office at 17.00.

Social Media and local media is still full of interviews and comments relating to the resignation of the Health Minister Kate Beecroft, who told Manx Radio that she had been pushed before being sacked on Friday morning.

The Chief Minister definitely has a difficult task in finding a suitable replacement, along with possibly adding two new Department Members for reasons outlined above.

Anyway, in the office for 8am on Friday and after printing some of the Order Paper for Tynwald this month and the DfE agenda pack I returned a number of calls from Constituents.

I then started to draft several detailed e-mails, which were follow ups from various Constituent meetings this week or to forward on information to Government Departments or simply to ask for some help.

At 10am I had a meeting with Howard Parkin as we discussed the island’s 26 Dark Skies sites and future opportunities within the Isle of Man tourism sector, but more importantly highlight the Dark Skies sites.

Once the meeting was over it was a case of getting my head down and finishing the correspondence from this morning and answering e-mails before leaving for home at 13.30.

On the way home I called in to see a Constituent regarding their housing application, along with taking some pictures of various potholes in and around Onchan.

I then headed home for the day, but I wasn’t finished as I started going through the Tynwald Order Paper.

Finally finished at 17.30.

Nothing scheduled for the weekend other than starting to write a couple of speeches for Tynwald.