Blog 24 Jul 17I dropped Ellen off at the airport last Saturday morning, which meant that Oscar (our cat) and I had the house to ourselves this week.

It is very strange how quiet the house is when family members are away, time also appears a little slower than normal.

In fact, I was up and walking on the promenade last Sunday at 7.15am before heading into the office for couple of hours. I also attended the Onchan Heritage Service, which was held in the beautiful Abbeylands Chapel.

The ladies of Abbeylands certainly know how to make excellent light refreshments.

An easy day on Monday, in the office for 8.25am and I spent the first hour continuing to research a Tynwald Day Petition. At 10am I walked over to Belgravia House for a meeting with SES Portfolio, which was a fantastic meeting in which the Directors outlined the company structure and future projects. They also sponsor the TT Zero racing, which is welcome.

Back to the office for 11.15am to catch up with e-mails and help out with a couple of Constituent issues, which were not straight forward. I also printed off my DED Agenda Pack and I took the opportunity to do a little more of my Commonwealth Parliamentary Association McGill University Course.

At 12.30 I drove up to Government House for a Reception for the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Andrew Parmley who is touring financial centres across the British Isles in a bid to improve relations with other regions.

The reception finished just after 14.00 and I took the opportunity to head home for the day. Once home I worked my way through an Isle of Man Non-Serviced Accommodation Report, ahead of my DED meeting on Wednesday.

I finished for the day at 16.30, but received a couple of phone calls in the evening, which needed follow up e-mails.

I was also surprised throughout the day by the amount of criticism I am currently receiving on Manx Forums for writing a weekly Blog that is a personal account of this fantastic journey, which I will hopefully review again in 2021, but it is also meant to keep Constituents fully informed of my schedule and calendar.

I certainly don’t know where these keyboards warriors have been hiding, I have been writing these Blogs for over a year now……..

Up and about early on the Tuesday morning as I headed onto Douglas promenade for 6.30am, it was a beautiful morning and I managed to walk 3.87 miles along the promenade and the South Quay in 55 minutes.

Having identified an increase in my stress levels last week I realise that I need to reschedule my mornings. I used to walk on the promenade daily but over time other things have taken priority.

Still managed to get into the office for 8.30am and although my schedule is light this week, other MHK’s continue to be extremely busy.

My first task was to draft a couple of correspondence items on behalf of Constituents. I also needed to reschedule a few meetings, in order to enable me attend a briefing at 10am on a Single Resident Record, which will be going out for consultation in the near future.

The meeting finished at 11.40, which gave me just enough time to grab my bag and head over to DED for a Motorsport briefing, at which we discussed a number of issues and concerns surrounding the event.

That meeting finished at 13.15. I headed back to Government offices to collect my car before heading into Onchan for a series of Constituency meetings. The first meeting was looking to help resolve an overgrown tree which is affecting a number of Onchan residents. The second meeting was in respect of a hedge dispute, which now has been resolved, and the third meeting related to parking concerns.

I managed to get back home for 15.30 and I spent the rest of the day responding to e-mails and continuing to prepare for tomorrow’s DED meeting, but called it a day at 17.00.

Wednesday turned into an extremely busy day with back to back meetings from 9.30am to 18.30. With Ellen still away and the weather bucketing down outside, I took the opportunity to get into the office for 7.30am.

I still wasn’t the first person in the office as Bill Shimmins, MHK and Martyn Perkins, MHK were already in, but I managed to get my head down with my University Assignment, which is almost finished. I have really enjoyed researching the Freedom of Information Legislation on the Isle of Man compared to other jurisdictions and I might even have a few questions tabled in October.

Just before 9.30am we headed over to DED for the usual meeting between the Minister and the Political Members. At 10am we went into the Boardroom for the Executive meeting, which started with two key note presentations.

The first briefing was given by Andrew Keeling on the Isle of Man Non-Service Accommodation (Self Accommodation, Camping etc) and the second briefing was given by Nick Presley on High Net Worth Individuals.

Once the briefings finished we went straight into a Department meeting, which finished at 13.00, at which time the Minister asked me to join him in a meeting with Dr. Kennedy, along with the Chairman and Director of the Manx National Heritage. The meeting was to give the Minister and myself an overview of the Governance & Strategic Framework for the MNH.

The meeting finished at 14.00 and I returned to office to collect some paperwork before walking over to the Manx Museum, in order to listen to Andrew Keeling delivering his briefing once again, but this time to a number of accommodation sector individuals (around 75 people), but importantly to listen to the Q & A session at the end.

At 15.45 the accommodation briefing finished and I walked just around the corner to the I-Museum for the first meeting of the new Manx National Heritage Trustees. Dr. Kennedy once again gave an overview of the Governance & Strategic Framework for the MNH Members and the Executive.

The meeting finished just before 18.30 and after collecting the car I headed home for 19.00.

With no meetings or briefings scheduled on Thursday I took the opportunity to take the day off, in order to catch up on numerous personal tasks which have been ignored for far too long. I went shopping at Tesco for the first time in many months, and to B & Q to collect some materials.

I still kept an eye on e-mails but It was a very pleasant day – just a shame the weather wasn’t good, which meant I didn’t get the painting done……

Back in the office 7.30am on Friday and I managed to finish and print off my University assignment before my first meeting 9.15am. I just need to edit the document before submitting ahead of the deadline of 14th August.

My first meeting was with a Bio-Med representative who continues to be frustrated with the sector and the lack of input by senior Government officials. At 10am I had a series of telephone discussions / meetings, in order to help resolve several Constituent issues.

The first meeting related to a social care order and the second meeting related to the payment of child benefits, and when does a child actually leave school. This enquiry highlighted a grey area in respect of when a school term actually ends for a child, and the point is now being reviewed by the Education Department.

I also had a detailed discussion with the Tynwald Clerks on how best to address concerns relating to some new legislation which is be brought forward in the near future.

At 12.30 I met up with a Constituent for lunch and to discuss Pension provisions and the Consultation which is now seeking public views.

I was back at the office for 13.45 and I drafted a couple of letters and designed a poster before leaving the office at 15.30. Once home I caught up with e-mails, and I also took the opportunity to research Pensions provisions in the UK and IOM, in order to respond to the current Consultation.

I managed to call it a day at 16.45.