The last weeks of wearing the Flintshire Consort’s chain with Chairman Colin Legg rushed at me and ended on a high note with three engagements sandwiched between council and constituency work. On Tuesday 27th, County Council meeting was brought forward to the morning in order to accommodate the Queen in Llandudno in the afternoon. The main item on the agenda was the Boundary Commission proposals which please no one; and never having been elected to anything apart from well paid Quangoes, three commissioners have come up with horrendous proposals.  We have been pushed into a decision by 30th April.  Single member wards will vanish and all this upheaval and huge wards with loss of community identity will be sacrificed to reduce elected members from 70 to 60.  The cheapest and closest elected representative is under the cosh & it is the public we serve who will bear the brunt of a what can only be a far less community based, service from local cllrs who know the problems. As usual, royal protocol demanded guests arrive hours before the Queen but we watched the crowds swell and youngsters were given flags to wave.  Inside too, the Venue Cymru was also full to overflowing.  The spritely Royals had no problem mounting three steep steps to sit on Flintshire Chairs, the red ones that live outside the Chairman’s Sitting Room in County Hall.  We were all entertained to an impressive song and dance routine by a stage full of young musical talent.  Prince P clearly enjoyed the routines & nodded along with the beat whilst her Majesty showed slightly less enthusiasm but nevertheless joined the troupe on the stage to offer them her thanks. The huge Royal car moved off and that left Chairman Legg and consort with two last official evening appointment for us to attend; the Flintshire Music evening and the Lord Mayor’s Banquet. The celebration of Youth Music at the annual concert, where Intermediate & Senior choirs and orchestras performed at Deeside Leisure Centre came up and at times exceeded the wonderful concerts we have enjoyed before.  Tomas Blomfield was given rousing applause for his solo as part of the Senior County Wind orchestra.  Cllr Legg presented the choirs with a donation from his charity to assist with the costs of visiting Prague to play in prestigious venues. So, on the last event of our year.  Colin and I rolled up so early to the Town Hall; the dignitaries were still rushing to robe up but the pause gave us time to drink in the magnificence of the old building. When we were finally ushered into the main room, it had only been refurbished with scaffolding and dust sheets whipped away to make room for the banquet.  The ceiling must have cost a fortune with its panels of background blue and gilded roses in relief.  The only drama of an excellent occasion was the no show of the speaker, the Venerable Bernard who had been such a hit at Colin Legg’s dinner weeks before. Phone calls & left messages produced nothing and so it fell to a judge on the top table to stand in at the last moment. He wittily demanded that the Venerable should be brought before the dinner courtesy of a bench warrant and we were kept amused with suggestions of what had happened to the speaker and how the absence should be remedied.  No one did know what happened to Bernard Thomas. I hope it was nothing serious. Dinner ended back in the old council chamber with desert wine. We earnestly thanked our hosts, John & Miriam, the Lord and Lady Mayoress for not only a very good dinner but for all the good times and splendid company throughout the year.  In serving to the public we had endured the chilly Saltney open top bus with it all gales of synthetic snow and a shortage of hot drinks to the lavishness of a day at the races with lunch and all the trimmings. I nearly made a huge mistake by failing to read the time of the County Council AGM and only when fellow Cllr Clive Carver rang & mentioned he better get a move on or he would be late, did the penny drop.  I was planning to have a swim & turn up in good time for 2pm. Thanks Clive, I’ve been grateful for your help on many occasions now. My presence would have been missed as at the AMG, the new chair and vice chairs are installed and chains change necks. Cllr Owen Thomas and Cllr Hilary McGuill will serve as our first citizens for this new year. I had ordered a huge cake adorned with musical notes which accompanied me on the dais to be presented to Colin.  It weighted a ton and was designed to be very chocolaty indeed.  The accolades to Colin and his year were numerous and very fulsome. His farewell speech pressed all the right buttons when he thanked the many who had made his year such a success.  He told us that we did not know him too well and we saw him as an enigma, wrapped in a puzzle and covered in mystery. The cake moment arrived & I simply repeated these words and told him all this might be true but his penchant for chocolate cake was an open secret.  In return, I received a lovely china figurine that I will treasure. Then off with the chains and onto the new incumbent’s shoulders and then the presentation of the Flintshire Ex- Chair & consort medals, the County crest set to wear as a brooch.  I was very pleased & will wear it with pride. It’s been a tough year having to deal with am illness and the Ombudsman in hot pursuit but I feel privileged to be at Colin’s side. The icing on the cake so to speak came via a card from Arwel, the Chairman’s Driver. The nicest and most helpful man I have ever met.  Arwel wrote, “Dear Alison, It’s been a great year & one I am sorry to end.  Thank you for the entertainment & pleasant company. Best Regards, Arwel. Arwel thanks a million for your work behind the wheel and knowing how to get to any venue.  Without you the year would have not been so successful nor such fun.

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