The extended Diamond Jubilee weekend has given everyone a very welcome break and time to spend celebrating with our families and communities.
Parliament may have risen but that doesn’t mean MPs are on a three-week holiday.
I have been hurtling about, sitting as a magistrate for two days in Westminster, attending a one-day conference, conducting constituency surgeries and attending Jubilee events at Tilshead and, of course, the big city celebration at Hudson’s Field.
Last Saturday, it was my pleasure to pay a return visit to the Shaw Trust at Old Sarum for an open day and garden centre renaming ceremony.
I am also preoccupied with what is going on at HPA Porton and hope that the various representations I am making across Whitehall will, ultimately, bring positive news for the many who work at this national centre of excellence.
On another note, despite all the recent talk of u-turns, I am sure Reeve the Baker, the residents of Beverley Hills Mobile Home Park and those few constituents who can afford to give generously to charity are all relieved and delighted by last week’s developments in Westminster.
I have been involved in lobbying on all three issues and, however badly it plays in the press, would far rather support a government that is prepared to be responsive than one that doggedly ignores feedback just to save face.
I backed the principle behind the cap on charitable giving but always had my doubts about how the proposals would work in practice.
I am now hopeful that the chancellor will find another way of cracking down on unfair tax evasion by the super-rich – one that doesn’t have negative implications for legitimate donations to charities.
Finally, I owe an apology to the wonderful staff and families at the John McNeill Opportunity Centre, whose superb work and warm hospitality so impressed me last week, for inadvertently referring to them as the John Ivie Centre.
It was a slip of the keyboard – and a valuable lesson for me on the perils of trying to work on the hoof between meetings.