Hunting the Northern Lights. Not only in Norway, by the way!.

My one unfulfilled ambition was to see the Aura Borealis. The papers had been full of promises that this year would be great as the sun was to have a solar spectacular that would ensure a good showing. So I booked last January and gave myself the best chance with Hurtigrutten. (Fast passage). It’s a coastal ferry that travels the length of Norway and goes almost off the planet as far up as the North Cape. 12 days, 8 of which were in the Arctic Circle should do the trick, I thought. The boat , the food and the scenery were brilliant and I was chuffed that I did not guess the exact time the boat cruised into the circle and win the prize of a company flag signed by the captain. The winner was the first to line up on deck to celebrate crossing the “line” . King Neptune, assisted by a crew member in polar bear garb officiated and a large bucket of iced water was produced. In order to get the free slug of brandy, the poor unfortunates had to suffer a ladle of water down the neck. Companion & I followed the bear and we slunk off deck and away from the shouts of anguish as cold water hit warm flesh. The queue looked on very dubiously as they waited their turn. We enjoyed our nip in the warmth of our cabin. Norway's most Northerly town

The best Northern Lights appeared in the form of a low swirling green curtain that hovered outside our window. The force 9 gale that was blowing at the time, throwing the boat in all directions made going on deck suicidal. Even getting to the loo in a confined space was a challenge. During the trip, we were called on deck every so often when something appeared in the heavens but nothing compared with the many films that showed the lights in their full and awesome glory. The trip was restful and memorable for many other reasons than the cost of wine on board. The wine package being a mere £350 for a wine every night. But this was better than buying it daily by the £100 bottle. The ambition to see the lights was partly realised but the tranquillity and the scenery made up for the sun’s solar semi shut down. Next question is, do I go again. If I do, this time I will go to the midnight concert in Tromso. Heard it was magical. northern lights

By 26th November, back to work with a briefing with Audit officers in preparation for that committee. No papers had been given us in advance which were not helpful to Paul my vice chair and myself. The point was accepted that we wanted papers in advance and this misunderstanding will not happen again.

28th November was a Waste Seminar session where how this protracted regional project was explained to members. Whether we like it or not, despite the forthcoming public consultation, delivery of the waste processor, barring a miracle, will come to Deeside. Its a done deal and those involved in the negotiations had to sheepishly admit they were not aware what actually they were signing. Many hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent on the North Wales Treatment Project, that relied on consultation, accompanied by eye watering fees. Yet it was not realised that this Authority signed a contract to have it in Flintshire. Withdraw from the deal and stump up £20 million please for breach of contract. I’ve seen the former Executive Member for Waste a few times now. The story was always everything is OK. Cant tell you anything as its confidential etc. but other sites are earmarked and nothing is down for Flintshire. We now know this was all humbug! I can’t blame her. Probably she was not told everything. The Scrutiny committee that would have been briefed by the Waste Project team certainly was not. Still further evidence that members are frequently treated like “mushrooms”! We councillors all need to improve the skills needed to find ways of excavating ourselves from some officers’ carefully constructed manure heaps of questionable information and finding a positive way of “hunting the light”. Of course by that I mean the correct facts.

Its good to be back!

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