Wednesday saw the final 2012 meeting of the Parish Council, with our District and County Councillors in attendance, and, for a change, there was more hand-wringing on the part of our District Councillor than on mine.
It looks truly grim for Mid Suffolk District Council, with the prospect of cutting spending by 35% over the next three years, and whilst I would rather have been the successful candidate in Stowupland last year, the fact that my Conservative rival is having to make up for her otherwise embarrassing feebleness by having to take responsibility for her decisions does bring me a sense of satisfaction.
And so, taking advantage of the opportunity to stick the knife in after listening to her whine about how unfair it all was, I asked her what steps the Districts and County were taking to progress the local government reorganisation that we were promised would save millions of pounds and protect services. She, naturally, is in favour, although when encouraged to, with her County counterpart, get on with it, out came the hand-wringing again.
Last year, it was personal. I thought then, and think now, that Caroline is only too happy to accept credit when things go well, and even more eager to hide behind somebody, anybody else, when things are difficult. Stowupland deserves better, but I couldn't persuade it of that last year. It does mean that I have the time to write this, I suppose.
Meanwhile, back in Planet Creeting, progress on the new playground continues to be slow, with issues relating to liability dragging out the process of agreeing the lease for the site, although we do have firm pledges of funding to build a really good playground, and a quote for the equipment so that, when we finally sign the lease, we'll be ready to go immediately.
Fen Alder Carr, our Local Nature Reserve, is coming along nicely too, with repairs made to the boardwalk, new signage, a litter bin, and some work on the trees being done. It is incredibly annoying though that people feel it appropriate to walk all the way down to the end of the reserve so that they can throw their beer cans into the pond. I'm not sure whether they're malicious or simply stupid, but it is that sense that someone will pick up after them that really grates. At least Stefan and the guys from Stowmarket Police Station are patrolling the area regularly, and deterring some of the more outlandish behaviour.
We were also presented with a draft budget for 2013/14 which, having studied it, troubled me somewhat. It all added up, but left me with a sense that I was missing something. It looks like I'm going to have to convert it from 'Rosemary format' to 'Mark format' so, if you'll excuse me...