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Monday 12 September 2022

I awoke early this morning and finished off the Blog from yesterday, an historic day. I then e-mail it and log into work.  I get the most pressing work done and am checking on the team to see who has leave and  non working days and see I have leave booked. Oops the changes in my diary after Thursday mean I missed it. I will complete a half day as I do have a Mayoral Event in the Guildhall today. One of my colleagues asks about the events of the weekend ‘how does it feel to be part of such important historical events?’ I think for a second ‘I have not really thought of  it like that. I was more concerned that I did not make errors and that Faversham saw we did it  properly.’

I get to the Town Hall just as the Items we need in the Guildhall are being carried across.

I put on the Chain and prepare with the Volunteers who will be leading the sessions being delivered to groups of Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and Albertus Magnus Gymnasium students.

Quite proud to join in and talk about the Town Maces and give an overview of the story of Thomas Arden’s murder. For those that do  not know the shooting  meadows where his body was found  were where the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School is now. Indeed the footpath from Abbey Place to Cyprus Road is still referred to by many locals as ‘The Shoots’.

The Groups vary but we complete 6 presentations of 12  minutes each. Thank you to all the  volunteers that helped this afternoon and the  staff team at the Town Hall.

I meet a former Chair  of  the Abbey School Governing  body she asks about some of the things that have cause the School to be  in the news. I give her a quick run down of how the school has already done a lot to address the issues raised.

Time to try and get some of those mundane but  important jobs at home done.

After a nice roast dinner, we would  normally do that on Sunday, I spend some time  just scrolling through photos and social media from the past few days.

Tuesday 13 September

Work, I have pencilled in the diary joining a walk with the Police at 3pm but we will see what the work is like before deciding if I can attend.  Get to the work computer and unfortunately the number of issues to deal with meant I did not make that walk. After work I catch up with the various Social Media posts that I may have missed, I keep reading one from Valentin Bellieval  The Mayor of Hazebrouck that I commented on Saturday. ‘The UK flag will be flying over the City Hall for the next few days. We extend our friendly and warm thoughts to the people of England and more especially our friends at Faversham.’ Somehow this gesture really hits home how much respect is being shown around the world for the Queen and her people. 

Wednesday 14 September

Time to travel to Canterbury to work in the  office. Another event  into the  diary as  notice of the minute’s National Moment of Reflection on Sunday.

Thursday 15 September

Work as normal today. I should have been preparing for The Abbey School Governing body Business meeting tonight but I have a Mayoral commitment.

As a Councillor who lives close to the Duchy of Cornwall Land I have arranged to take a  look at some  of the Archaeological dig that has been going on as a preparation to the expected planning application that we all know is coming to the  town. We meet in the Car Park of Macknade Fine Foods and drive out to the current set of trenches near the M2. Though no major finds have been made there is a clear ditch in one trench that appears to run over the crest on a North South orientation. Signs of settlement  in the form of a Fire pit is in another trench. I am shown some of the most recent finds. A Sheep’s skeleton from the triangle between the Railway line and tin Bridge. This is thought to be recent as the stomach area was a void. I remember there being sheep there so assume that is modern. From the area near the M2 there are some pot fragments with clear rims some decorated with  incised patterns. A lot of burnt flint which would be heated then dropped into the pot to heat water. These have distinctive crazing which I will now look for when looking at flints. Nothing unsurprising to the Archaeologists but I have learnt a lot  in my short visit. 101 trenches have been opened across the whole site which I think shows that checking a site before planning permission is even applied for is essential before Councils are asked to make decisions.

I look forward to seeing the final results some time in the future.

I cannot  leave without asking how the weeks events have affected the team at the Duchy as they now have a new boss.  Jackie says that it may delay a little when they will be ready to  put  in the planning application  to Swale Borough Council as they will need to ask some of the details that have already been discussed with the previous Duke of Cornwall will need to be put to the new one.

I return home to get ready for the Mayoral commitment.

 So we go to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School for the 70th Anniversary of the exchange trips is between the Alberta Magnus Gymnasium. I meet with some of the retired staff that have  been invited some of whom worked at the school when I attended. Mrs Geldard greets me with good evening your Worship, though you will always be Savage to me. The use of my nickname was the fastest way to get me to react at school. I admit in may speech to not being a language scholar as Miss Elcott would recall, so did not take part in the exchange when I was at the school however I did experience living in another country in my teens and the value of that and the friendships that one make for life, means I see the value of such a long standing programme.

Friday 16 September

The Day starts with a trip to Hernhill C of E Primary School. They are to receive an OPAL award for the way they have improved the outdoor experience at play time and lunchtime. I am invited to join the children outdoors to see what they have done to transform the experience. I make my way to the ‘trenches’. Here the pupils are encouraged to dig and make camps they also love finding items as they dig. I look closely at some of the flint  found to see  if any show signs of burning.  I am not lucky in that regard. The children have so  much they can do and all wish to show me what a superb play time they  have. We make our way to the school hall for assembly. ‘Cath’ the representative for the OPAL scheme is here to present the award. The school have worked for just a year on this. Pupils are the driving force being asked what they want and given opportunities to help design the play areas. Indeed they moved the 20  tonnes of sand for the sand pit! I am impressed by the whole scheme and will look to see  if something suitable for secondary schools might  be possible in the future!

The award is presented it is not Bronze Silver or Gold  but  Platinum the first school in Kent to reach such a high standard. 

I am grateful that Hernhill School invited me to be part of this. Already an ofsted outstanding school this was an area the Governing Body and Headteacher wished to focus on to get even better. Certainly food for thought when talking to others  interested in education.

We leave and  I go straight  into work I will admit with a slightly  broader smile  on my face than usual.

Saturday 17 September

Updates to the diary have  come through so we will visit 2 care homes with a Condolence  book, as Carnalea declined the offer. We have not had a response to the e-mail from Canterbury House so are not sure if they have one already. We make our way there first. On arrival we find they have already got a condolence  book at reception so apologise for troubling them. We make our way to Cooksditch house. This has some  poignant memories  for both Brenda and I as it was my mothers care and nursing  home and where she passed. We are a little earlier than expected but the staff help us and are happy to see us. We offer the book to those who wish to sign it to those in the residential section first. Some want to put something in the book some ask the care assistant to write on their behalf. We are told we will need to wait as John has indicated he wishes to meet the Mayor and sign the book. Someone goes to tell him we are here. As teas are being handed out John arrives. To my surprise It is John Charter a former teacher at Faversham District School and the father of one  of my best Scouting Friends Glen. Whilst others are signing the  book John chats to Brenda who first worked with John as a volunteer in his classroom when Sam James and Lee were at the school before embarking  on her career as a Teaching Assistant there.  We then move through to the Nursing section and many who are there sign the book. As we go round we are asked to join with a family who are celebrating a 100 birthday. It is a honour to be asked to and to pose for photos on such a  memorable occasion. WE have been there for nearly two hours as we leave we make the decision to go to the next event. Mark drops us near Town Quay and takes the chain back. I will wear the badge for the next bit.

Faversham Community Boat build and Faversham Rowing Club are bringing Floral tributes to her majesty up the creek to Town Quay by Skiff from Hollowshore.  I pop to grab a cola from The Quay and to see  if the staff  know when  Nick and Tania are due back, knowing some flight schedules have been changed due to the State Funeral on Monday.  Oh they have messaged to say it might be Wednesday or Thursday as the  Monday flight may be cancelled. Will have to keep an eye out for messages on that. 

I make my way with Brenda to Town Quay. Quite a group has gathered to join the procession to the Memorial Garden in Stone Street.

The Finlay Mcdonald is the first to approach Town Quay. I am near the steps so offer to take the painter and tie up as required. I try to assist with keeping the boat steady as the crew disembark with the floral tributes. I do the Same for Avocet. Once everyone has assembled Chris White says a few words as do I. Revd. Simon Rowlands leads us all in a prayer this is followed by the cry Good Save the King and the singing of the National Anthem, WE then place the floral tributes in the third Skiff (as yet unnamed) which is  on it’s trailer to be towed to Stone Street. A couple of photos with the Skiff and Rowers and we make  our way to the Memorial Garden following the Skiff  most of the way. Ion the way many of those present chat about the weeks events and how  the Death of our Queen has affected them this week.

On arrival at the Memorial Garden the crews place the flowers with those already there.

I commend those who organised this.

As the people disperse I take time to look at the floral tributes that have  been left. The Gunpowder WI and The Abbey Schools catch  my eye particularly. My sister is there so we catch up on the family news. As we say our goodbyes I notice it is near 7pm so we decide that a take away dinner will be needed and pop into the Chinese takeaway before getting a taxi home.

Sunday 18 September

Just four events today. The first would have  been a Mayoral event  but with the  official mourning period still in place I attend the Faversham 10K run at the Abbey School as Chair of Governors there. I watch the start of the race and some 400 runners cross the start line. The first runners are expected to  take around 35  minutes to complete the race.  I help at the finish line with handing out  medals and water until the last runner has finished Ray is in his 80’s and is cheered over the  line. I present the prizes.

We meet the Deputy Town Sargent collect the Mayoral Chain of office and make our way to Nouds Farm.  Today is the closest Sunday to Battle  of Britain Memorial day. A short service takes place to remember Pilot Officer Roy Marchand who was killed in action on 15 September 1940. His  Hurricane crashed at Nouds Farm at 12:20pm on that day. He was 22 years old. The Memorial service has representatives of the Air Training Corps, Faversham Royal Air Force Association and The British Legion as well as members of the Marchand family and The Bouchers who own the farm. Wreaths are laid at the Memorial next to the farm yard. It is a moving and fitting tribute to one  of the few who fought for the freedom we enjoy today.

It is then time to move onto the Borough of Swale Memorial Service to mark the death of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  St. Michaels Church Sittingboure is where we are heading. We arrive and as we approach the South Door Ben is walking up to it too. A moving service and a chance after to speak with some of the past Mayors and other guests. The Mayor of Swale Simon Clarke and I have a mutual liking for Single Malt Whisky so I recommend a Kentish Whisky Masthouse made in Chatham as they use Grain from Sheppey for it,

Time to head home for a while. Mark can take the chain back. A very quick refresh and it is time to head back into Town. We arrive around 7:40 to prepare for the National Moment of reflection. Scouts, Cubs Beavers, Brownies and Guides are all arriving in Uniform for this.  I talk to a number of  District and Section Leaders. John Carden a Scout Leader from the Sea Scouts will play the Bosun’s pipe to mark the Start and Finish  of the Minutes silence.  The Numbers swell. The MP Helen has arrived and we chat about the way the events of the past 9 days have affected us all. When asked do you have anything tomorrow? I replied that I intend to watch the proceedings on the TV at home, whilst letting the 10 days activity sink in.

I read the statement provided and the pipe sounds Silence across the Market square and Town is palpable. As the pipe sounds again Applause breaks out as it dies down, God Save the King is responded to in kind. Ben Saul with his keyboard plays the intro and The National Anthem is sung. I have got to the stage where I remember both verses that I do not look at the paper for the words now

As the Scouts are called to alert and dismissed I automatically snap a right turn and make the Scout sign. Brenda remarks why did you do that? I replied do what? She said turn and dismiss like the Scouts and Guides. I shrugged and said did I? She said yes. I really had not realised I had done that!

We make our way to chat with some  of those that attended. I am truly grateful that the Scouts, Guides, Cubs, Brownies, Beavers and Rainbows came along. It showed the respect of the movements young people for their patron.

We make our way home another busy weekend completed.

Monday 18 September

As stated no duties and the intention is to not go out today. We watch the moving Television coverage of the proceedings of the day. Following the end of the committal at Windsor we cook a roast dinner and  as a family eat.

Tuesday 19 September

Today is a working from home day. I start by briefing my team leader on some  of the necessary updates. Then time to try and get my caseload back into shape prior to 2 weeks off.

As chair of Faversham District Scouts it is the AGM in the Guildhall at 7pm. During  my lunch break I print  off all the paperwork for that.

The meeting goes well. I am re=elected Chair for the year. The Scout movement in the area is quite healthy most groups are back to the pre pandemic numbers and overall the district is doing well. One area where we need further help is in the maintenance of Shepherd Park Activity Centre. Any volunteers would be welcome!

Wednesday 20 September

Nothing in the diary. After work I spend some time writing the  blog and reflecting. It hits me what a busy period this has been. Is it only 3 weeks ago we were celebrating the return of the Hop Festival? It has been quite a humbling as well as physically and mentally tiring three weeks. My annual leave will be most welcome. Just  need to get through to the end of Saturdays shift.

Thursday 21 September

The Staffing meeting has had to be cancelled as has the Budget Workshop on Sunday. Louise has tested positive for Covid. I hope she gets better soon and has  no ill effects.

Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September

2 days in the office. I manage to get my case load into a good  position before finishing.  The evenings are spent catching up with the e-mails that I have not had chance to respond to.

Sunday 24 September

A day to rest. Time to start clearing up those items that are now not required at least immediately. I put some of the paperwork from all the events of the past few weeks into a folder. The Black ties are returned to the appropriate place. Brenda and I go to Canterbury to visit the Next Sale. My Birthday present is another Suit!

Monday 26 September

Today Brenda and I need to visit Adrienne to go through the Mayoral Diary. We go in a few events are added to the diary and we confirm which events Brenda is not booked in for.  On leaving the Town Hall we meet Dennis and Alison have a quick chat then I spot Nicky walking the dog, Ziva comes over (Almost dragging Nicky)I make a fuss of her. I ask Nicky how the Honeymoon was? He said  that he and Tarnia enjoyed the break but they had to travel a few miles to find authentic Caribbean restaurants to eat in. I point out that was supposed to be a break from work! He replies that’s the joy of being a Chef you can always find something related to your passion.

On arrival home I print the documents for tonights planning meeting and look at all the applications  online. I make some notes on the application list.

Planning meeting goes well. After I pick up some chips and on arrival we have a simple Burger with them.

28 September 2022
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28 September 2022
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