A Room With A View

Right now we are in England. We arrived a week ago with a very special purpose; to celebrate our Golden Wedding anniversary with our two daughters, and later with our granddaughters. We didn't want a big party, lovely as it would have been to see the wider family and some friends. We wanted something small but special. So we booked two nights for the four of us at the Harte and Garter Hotel on the High St in Windsor.Mandy and Nicky shared a superior twin room and Mary and I wallowed in a Luxury Kingsize Room. This was the view from the room. Although the weather was cloudy and cold, we had a wonderful time. Friday evening we found a fantastic Moroccan restaurant that was buzzing with groups of friends out for the evening. Saturday morning I headed for a local Catholic church, having decided that after 22 years as a Catholic it was about time I made my first confession. This was followed by a stroll around the centre of Windsor and a very light lunch. Then it was time for me to drift through a lazy afternoon while the others went off to their spa treatments. We ate in the hotel restaurant that evening and it absolutely lived up to its promise. A surprise bonus was finding our daughters standing by with a bottle of champagne when we arrived in the bar for a pre-dinner drink. On Sunday we went round Windsor Castle and then down to a service in St George's Chapel, before another light lunch and then back to Clandon to await the return of our granddaughters from a weekend at Daddy's house. We can't leave them out of the celebrations, naturally, so Aunty Nicky will be over again on Easter Monday so that all six of us can go into Guildford to an Italian trattoria. I can think of no more fitting way of celebrating fifty years of marriage than in the company of the five most important people in my life.


Never A Dull Moment

Some of you may remember that in the local elections last year the outcome was a perfect stand-off between the three main parties - four seats for Partido Popular (PP), four for the socialist party (PSOE) and three for my own party, the Andalusian Party (PA). After negotiations and poker faced intransigence right up to the last moment (to be precise, less than five minutes before a new mayor had to be sworn in) PP agreed to the red line demands of PA and a pact was agreed to govern in coalition. Almost immediately after the swearing-in PP began backtracking on one point of agreement after another, making it extremely difficult for the three 'junior partner' councillors. This was largely something going on behind closed doors. At the beginning of this week though, José Antonio the mayor informed his (PA) deputy without any prior discussions that he was stripping him of his functions which would henceforth be carried out by a PP councillor. Paco held an emergency meeting with his two colleagues who agreed that this was totally unacceptable and the following morning they each resigned their own portfolios. The three PA councillors will now sit in opposition. So now the ruling party has four seats whereas between them the two parties in opposition have seven seats. However, historically there has been a great deal of animosity between PSOE and PA and so it is far from clear how effectively the opposition will oppose. On Thursday night, for instance, PP presented to a full Council meeting a budget for the coming year which included a 10% pay increase for the mayor, and the extension of a paid post to another PP councillor. PA voted against this budget before further discussions had been held over the salary proposals. PSOE who have consistently voted against each annual budget, and who declared in their election manifesto last year that if elected they would seek to reduce the money spent on salary payments to councillors........ abstained. I'm interested to see what happens next.