Now where was I…?
Ah yes, mayoral duties left in the very capable hands of my deputy, Cllr Jo Hodges – who, I have on the very best authority, did a splendid job in my absence: thanks, Jo.
As for me, I went back to Kashmir for a week as I’d wanted to see at first hand the effects of the earthquake that devastated so much of the country – and it is far worse up close up than you could ever see in the media.
I must confess that I was quite unprepared for the sights we – that is, myself and Council Leader Marc Bayliss, could have imagined (both of us, I should add, paid for the trip ourselves).
Worcester is home to a number of Kashmiri families, not one of which has not been personally hard-hit by the disaster. This is precisely why I set up my emergency fund initiative to help those who have been worst affected.
Before I left, the crucial topic of the day was Worcester’s floods: and when I returned, it still was!
My first two engagements were affected by the direst conditions I can recall: I was stuck in standstill traffic on Carrington Bridge, watching the time come and go for my appointment at the Inspire Neurocare Grand Opening event. I’m relieved to say that this will be re-scheduled for later this year. Later on the same day, crisis-hit Bewdley was forced to cancel its much-anticipated Tenbury’s Got Talent show, due to unprecedented flooding in the town.
My third post-break engagement fared no better, either. Due to what can only be described as an unfortunate communication breakdown, I also inadvertently missed Sunday’s ABF Soldiers Charity Annual Curry Lunch at Dancox House. To realise that I’d missed an appointment scheduled for two hours earlier came as a serious jolt – and I was still feeling very contrite during the Worcestershire Civic Service at the Cathedral that evening and into the next day, as Sabira Mollah of Unity Arts and I checked progress on the Mayor’s Banquet, taking place on 1 May.