Sunday, June 02, 2024

Speeding towards summer - May 2024

Me in most of May

In my previous monthly round-up I mentioned how we had moved out of our house due to home improvements. We spent the first few days in May in a flat in Cardiff Bay and then had a few days as guests with our friends Bryan and Elaine. That gave me and Bryan an opportunity to try out a new game called RumbleSlam - blogged about here.

But soon the plastering was complete and we were able to move back home. Besides being unsettled by being out of the house, there have been several other things to deal with. 

In the middle of the month, a friend and colleague was made redundant, the second member of our small team to leave under redundancy in the last few weeks. In addition to the sadness of the circumstances, it's left a hole in several plans we had in work. 

I also had the unsettling feeling of knowing that the two men who attacked me back in February were due to be sentenced. I wrote a victim impact statement for the sentencing, although opted not to attend the sentencing hearing. The man who actually hit me received a ten year imprisonment sentence and his accomplice who stood by and watched was given three years in prison. 

Overall, I feel physically and emotionally fine about the whole event. I don't feel particularly nervous or panicky about walking around outside. I've walked past the place where it happened a few times. It just all feels very surreal, and I feel slightly detached from it - like it happened to someone else. The police and the witness support unit have been excellent throughout, answering questions and keeping me updated. I know they are also pleased with the quick resolution and successful conviction. 

The day of the sentencing, I saw posts on LinkedIn saying that someone I used to work for had passed away. Professor Sir Mansel Aylward CB was chair of Public Health Wales, where I worked, and requested my services supporting his think tank the Bevan Commission. I worked closely with him to write various reports and we ended up chatting about all kinds of things. I remember him telling me about hearing Aneurin Bevan speaking, and about the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster. 

Once when I was on the team running an exhibition stall for NHS Wales at a big international conference in London, I ended up having a meal with him and my fellow stall-manager, Kelly, where he regaled us with stories from when he worked in the area when it was under the thrall of the Krays. But beyond the stories, Sir Mansel always seemed interested in hearing what everyone around the table had to say. I noticed other tributes on LinkedIn from people who worked at a similar junior level to me, saying the same thing, and expressing genuine sorrow that he had passed away.

Lots happening, but also, goslings!!

On the last bank holiday weekend of the month, Cathy and I had a day trip to Torquay. This was mainly to visit the memorial stone for Cathy's parents at the crematorium. But we also had a drive along the sea front, visited the big toy shop in Paington, and had a picnic tea at Hay Tor on Dartmoor before driving home. We couldn't see much of Hay Tor because of the mist, but we did get to see some of the wild ponies that live on the moor!


In the wider world, we also had news that a general election has been called for 4th July with the Prime Minister standing in pouring rain during the announcement. That in itself prompted lots of comments.  

So far, I haven't received any political bumf through the letterbox, but I will be doing an election leaflet round up like I've done previously (most recently for the Senedd elections in 2021). 

The election announcement torpedoed a news story for us in work because two of the young people who volunteer in our programme had met the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care just the day before the election was announced!

Then right at the end of the month, another big politics news story broke, with Donald Trump becoming the first former US President to be convicted of criminal charges. This made me think back to when I was complaining about how boring politics was when I studied it at A-Level. I can't imagine anyone studying it now would find it dull.

I also managed to fit in five football matches in May. I will be writing them up soon and there will also be an end of season review because that's it - the season is over for me! (But I will be watching the European Championships next month...)

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