Friday, 24 June 2011

And the trophy goes to …

Since I’ve just got back from spending a week in Manchester, working at the UNISON local government and national delegate conferences, it seemed like a good idea to put together a brief list of my ‘bests’ for the past seven days.

Some are serious, some are silly and some are just downright fun – and they are all entirely personal.

So, let's get going!

Most gobsmacking story of the week

Bad stories abounded, but this was left until today and the debate on what’s happening to police staff. That’s the forensics officers, the call centre staff and many, many more civilian workers.

All of whom form a vital part of the police service as a whole.

But it seems that some senior police officers think that the best way to make the cuts that the government is demanding is to sack such staff – and then replace them with police officers who, for whatever reason, cannot do the ‘beat’ stuff anymore.

But it gets better, since these replacement staff are paid, on average, double the rate for the job that the sacked staff got.

Bonkers, bonkers and downright wrong.

Full story here

Costume of the week

Well, setting aside Julian’s Manchester City FA Cup winners socks, it has to be Maureen and her partner at the president’s ‘wild west’ social on Sunday.

Nobody, but nobody else had made even close to such an effort.

Neigh and thrice neigh!!!

Quote of the week

UNISON general secretary “Dave Prentis is not King Kong.

“We do not expect him to climb the Empire State Building and pluck planes out of the sky.

“Dave Prentis is our leader. Dave Prentis is our general and you are our captains.”

I keep trying to put this right out of my mind – but then find myself musing over who would be Dave’s Fay Wray …

Expression of the week

No further comment required – Julie’s face says it all.

Most moving moments of the week

Seeing Kenny and Anne. Both of then are dealing with cancer, but both of then are still concentrating their energies on what they believe – helping others to fight for fairness and justice.

Even if you don't agree with their respective politics, they are heroic human beings.

I wonder if I could be as brave as they are?

Meal of the week

No apologies – it was last Saturday’s visit to Michael Caines @ Abode.

Under executive chef Mark Rossi, this is not cheap, but offers really super food.

I took The Other Half this time and, after a complimentary baby leek terrine, I had almond crusted veal sweetbreads with
poached quail's eggs, gribiche sauce
 and a green bean salad.

The sweetbreads were a first for me – and were lovely. Light and with a slightly gamey taste.

To follow, wild brill with 
crab crushed new potatoes,
baby fennel and sauce vierge.

And for dessert, ‘Tasting of peach’, which meant a lovely dish with a
peach parfait, soup, a peach mousse, elderflower sorbet, glazed peach and roasted almond foam.

I am also delighted to report that, after heavily recommending it and insisting we went, The Other Half enjoyed his meal too.

Best service of the week

Even I make the mistake of forgetting sometimes just how friendly the north is – particularly when compared to London.

Service pretty much everywhere was with a smile and real warmth.

But my own award for service this past week goes to Raymond, the top-hatted doorman at the Midland Hotel, for always being helpful, but also going beyond the call of duty in presenting a down-to-Earth, humorous and warm face to a legendary hotel where one Mr Rolls and Mr Royce put pen to paper on founding a little company.

I rang the hotel a short while ago to thank them and commend him in particular, and was stunned to learn he’s only been in the job two weeks.

I hope the hotel’s management realises just what a gem they have.

Funniest moment

Our conference office was in the hotel and, while we were there, a small but perfectly formed group of ladies from Estée Lauder were also having a conference.

One morning, they were lining either side of a corridor as I walked through, chatting about something or other.

I wished them all a good day – and was tickled pink to see their faces.

Am I really that scary – or was it simply that I wasn’t wearing the right make up?

Best bit of the whole week

In a staggering coincidence, my beloved Manchester City were holding a charity do in the same hotel that we were staying in on Thursday night.

Now the players and coaching staff are still all on their hols, but the FA Cup was brought in to display at the event, and all the staff (including security) were brilliant about letting hotel residents who weren’t attending the event go and gawp at it and photograph it.

For those who don’t know, the FA Cup is the oldest domestic club competition in the football world. And every year, millions tune in around the globe to watch the final.

I was not the only one to get emotional and excited – and indeed, took pictures for a number of other people.

But as a happy coincidence, one of our conference photographers was walking past as I was whispering sweet nothings to this iconic piece of silverware – and took up my camera to picture me with it. So thanks to Steve.

To those who are not football fans – I know it sounds bonkers. But I’m still glowing with the pleasure of that, and I know I’m not alone.

Bloooo Mooon ... You saw me standing alone ...

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