Saturday, March 28, 2009

Picking up the ball and running with it...

Time for another weekend away, this time to the West Midlands, as Ros and I converged on Rugby for a Local Party dinner in the recently built village hall in Dunchurch, the village where, it is said, the organisers of the Gunpowder Plot met to agree their strategy.

I've had the pleasure of working with the local PPC, Jerry Roodhouse, before, and it was nice to be able to catch up. He had chaired an inquiry into the affairs of one of the London Local Parties, and I was one of the Regional Party nominees on the panel. Jerry carried out a very effective scrutiny, making some solid, practical recommendations that were only too readily accepted.

The local members made us feel extremely welcome, and the dinner, served by Sarah and her team, was of a very high standard, roast beef with all of the trimmings being the centrepiece. I had been promised a never-ending diet of rubber chicken when Ros became President and, it must be said, I've eaten pretty well. Local Parties go out of their way to lay on a good spread when we turn up, and are often incredibly imaginative in terms of how they organise their dinners.

Our table included the newly elevated Freeman of Rugby, Ron Ravenhall, whose service to the town makes him an extremely apt recipient of the honour. He isn't well, but turned up to meet Ros, and I was impressed by his enthusiasm and impish humour. Olga, the Local Party President, was celebrating a significant birthday, which was marked with the presentation of a gift on behalf of the Local Party.

Ros's speech went down well, and some interesting questions followed from an audience who were clearly out to enjoy themselves. I put on my 'Honourable Lady Mark hat' and drew the first winning raffle ticket. It was, I must acknowledge, a very good set of prizes.

Today, we're in Birmingham, with a full day of activities ahead...

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