It has been a while since I last blogged but the whirlwind introduction to Parliament has continued. I still don't have an office in the Palace of Westminster but these things take time to work out, and I am beginning to enjoy working with colleagues in our "common room" of hot desks; we are sharing our experiences of working out how to do certain things such as tabling questions or dealing with specific areas of casework. I spent some time in the Chamber last week just to watch, listen and learn and I also signed my first Early Day Motion which supports Carers' Week - a group of people who are the epitome of unsung heroes and who I have come to really admire over the past four years. The postbag continues to grow day by day, most of which comes from external organisations who are blanket communicating with MPs regardless of their constituency or political interests, but is on the whole largely under control.
On Friday I was pleased to be back in the constituency and the day started early on with a meeting in West Malling with our local PC and PCSOs. It was a great opportunity to share our concerns and talk about ways of working together to protect and improve our local community and I look forward to doing the same in a couple of weeks time at the Medway end of the constituency. After a private lunch, I went to County Hall to meet with the Ditton Youth project to support their submission for funds from KCC to help with the renovation of the cedar rooms for a new youth club. Having met the youngsters a couple of weeks ago, it was good to see them still full of energy and enthusiasm.
Saturday was a quieter day. I spent most of the day doing paperwork before heading over to the Love Music, Hate Racism festival in Medway. I wanted to support the event after witnessing a small increase in the BNP vote at the General Election and it was great to hear from the Hope Not Hate group who so successfully helped fight off the BNP in Barking. As I departed the festival was gearing up for 3 days of live music, all in a good cause.
Friends and loved ones kept me away from my laptop on Sunday which enabled me to rest, relax and catch my breath a bit. One of the things I have noticed in the first couple of weeks in Parliament is that I haven't really had time to read a newspaper so it was nice to sit down and catch up with news and comment - that time passed quickly and it was soon time to get back to the emails.
Today the House wasn't sitting so I had a bonus day in the constituency. I took the opportunity to look at a potential office, do a home visit, meet with local councillors, lunch with the Chief Executive and Operations Director of MHS, go through the post with my researcher and finally attend the launch of an art exhibition in the Brook Theatre by youngsters in care alongside the Mayor and local artist Billy Childish. Tomorrow, it is back to the House of Commons for the first Prime Minister Question Time since the General Election...so no end to the whirlwind just yet!