For those of you (the Politics Yawn Brigade)that didn't follow my separate election blog, I'm pleased to rather belatedly tell you that I won my local district council election. So now I'm officially Councillor Troy although an old friend has advised "I hope you don’t use that ridiculous affectation in real life!" Mrs Troy, in contrast, seems to quite like the concept of being the councillor's wife and has gone out on a clothes shopping spree in anticipation of being invited to future events.
With a council chamber dress code* of "jacket/suit and tie", Troy has also had to delve into his wardrobe to find garments much under-utilised since he stopped working back in 2007. And I'm proud to announce that they all still fit perfectly. With the suits having been hand-tailored in Hong Kong and each with an additional pair of trousers (obviously not worn at the same time!), its nice to be making use again of that previous investment. Fastening the top button of the shirts and adding a tie is actually taking some getting re-used to. However it does feel nice to be smartly dressed for a change and Mrs Troy welcomed seeing her husband in something other than the usual casual gear.
The reason I just got round to blogging now is that I've been SO BUSY! There is a tremendous amount of training and induction involved for new councillors. Unlike with both the school governor's role and being a parish councillor, this training is all upfront rather than spread over the first year. So my calendar has been pretty full and I've had to co-ordinate a lot more with Mrs Troy as a lot of it spreads over into the evenings. In fact some weeks, with all my various activities, I'm now out on three or four evenings! I felt pleased to get involved on the Planning Committee as those meetings start at 9.30am so I could go to those whilst Mrs Troy is at work. Of course this rather forgot the several meetings in school holidays which will present its own child-minding issues.
There are a handful of new councillors - "Newbies" we call ourselves - and by and large they are a very friendly and social bunch of people as most of us are in the same party. Some of the more experienced councillors, in contrast, have been there for twenty or more years and have seen a lot of changes in that time. Overall its a good mix.
Virtually everyone who retires will tell you that they don't know how they ever found the time to work. I think that one paces oneself differently but it is amazing how the calendar fills up and the days race by. I certainly don't regret retiring early and having all these new experiences in my "older age". Talking about "older age" - I insured my car through Saga and subsequently got a offer from them to subscribe to their Saga magazine at £7.95 for three years (22p per issue!). Never one to resist a bargain, I now will find myself reading the Saga Magazine which makes me feel very old indeed!
(* at least for the Conservative councillors)