It has been nearly three years since I became a Parish Councillor and, it must be said, much has happened since then.
What was a rather small, insignificant piece of the architecture of local government in one of England's quieter counties, responsible for grass cutting and nine street lights, has rather expanded.
Last year, we absorbed the Community Council, inheriting its project to provide a new playground, as well as the funds raised, and set to work securing the site. Meanwhile, we discovered that we owned a small piece of woodland called 'Plot 89' next to the A14. Finally, following the County Council's divestment of Local Nature Reserves, we successfully bid to take over Fen Alder Carr, on the edge of the Parish, extorting £5,000 from the County for its upkeep in future years.
So, for the time being, we find ourselves with £20,000 in the bank, and an awful lot more responsibility.
And with that comes a need for a more professional approach towards our work as councillors. As portfolio holder for finance, I now have to balance two earmarked funds, income from our village lottery and a precept up 13% from last year, ensuring that we have enough money to maintain our new facilities, whilst keeping the precept within reasonable levels. It isn't always easy, especially given that being a Parish Councillor is only one of my many responsibilities.
So, we have risk analysis, financial management guidance, internal and external auditors, and all the paraphernalia of proper fiscal discipline. Occasionally, it does feel like 'awfully hard work', but nonetheless it gives the impression of responsible governance.
We are, unexpectedly, rather bigger and rather more active, than I might have expected when I was first co-opted to the Council in 2009. And yet, this organic growth has made us rather more relevant and involved in the life of our village, our Parish and our community. And that can't be a bad thing, can it?