This article appears in the August 2016 'Insight' – Jim’s Journals
Well it's been another busy few weeks and I’ve covered quite a few miles. In addition to work in Ormskirk, family commitments in Leicester and occasionally getting back home to Edinburgh, I have been to Newcastle, Llandrindod Wells, London, Thetford and Bournemouth on Presidential duties.
Although my late father may have been a long distance lorry driver I can assure you it's not in the genes (nor is abstemiousness, but that's another story). I prefer the train but sometimes that is just not possible. So my car's mileage has taken a bit of a hammering and I have been listening to a lot of music. It's great because you get to hear lots of things you had not heard before or for a very long while, as it was with "Rainy Night in Soho". The only problem is all I can remember is seeing the Pogues at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester when Shane McGowan was that much under the weather that he forgot the words to his classic "Pair of Brown Eyes" and then fell off the stage.
I attended the Northern Counties AGM at Newcastle with David Magor where we did our grumpy old men double act on the state the profession. The event was organised by the Institute's next President, Ian Ferguson, who had added it on to his course for IRRV students.
My next event was the Wales Conference in Llandrindod Wells, another great event, with effective sponsorship from Jacobs - all superbly organised by Islwyn Lewis-Jones. I particularly enjoyed Welsh LGA Chief Executive's presentation. A nice little touch was fitting in the Wales v England game. I watched impartially but can now say well done to Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland - and of course to eventual winners Portugal. My country, Scotland, were not invited and England, well, they just didn’t turn up. Vardy should have been on from the start and Drinkwater should have been with him (agreed – Editor!).
Talking of exits from Europe, I attended the superb Rating Surveyors’ Association Reception at the House of Lords on the day following Brexit. Much tumult outside of the Houses of Parliament - as I am sure you saw on TV. The last time I was at there was on school trip when I was nine!
Then off to Thetford (birthplace of Thomas Paine and part of the setting for the original Dad’s Army) and the English Whisky Company at nearby Roudham. Yes, I thought that was a joke, too! And, yes, I did taste some English single malt whisky (it was good) and indeed I bought a bottle to add to my collection of malts. Thanks to the East Anglian Association!
Finally, on to the Wessex Association AGM and Mini Conference at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth. Another enjoyable and well-run day with Institute members – thanks in particular to Helen and Lyndsey.
Finally, I cannot sign off without congratulations to Andy Murray - the boy done good…again!