Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Wisdom of Worshipful Dave

No, not that Dave.  I'm talking about Dave Davis. 

No - not that Dave Davis (MP for Haltemprice & Howden). I'm actually talking about Dave Davis, local Councillor for Burham Eccles & Wouldham Ward in Tracey Crouch's constituency. 

Driving to Tunbridge Wells this morning, having picked up Jon Botten from his home, we stopped at traffic lights in one of Tonbridge's less grand roads. Suddenly Jon let out a strange yelping noise, a bit like a spaniel would make when someone opened the cupboard where the marrowbone treats are kept.

I turned to check he was OK - to see him pointing at the window of a local Indian restaurant. In the window, in a fading gilt frame, was a photograph of Dave Davis in his Mayoral chains. Underneath the photograph, on tatty piece of paper, was written

"Worshipful Dave says we have the best Vindaloo in Tonbridge Town."

Worshipful Dave and the best Vindaloo in Tonbridge Town
I am full of admiration for people who dedicate a year of their lives to be a First Citizen of any town or borough. If ever I was elected to a council and offered the position, I would have to refuse. In fact, I would let it be known beforehand so I was never asked!  I simply couldn't do it. I struggle to be nice and charming for two consecutive hours; the thought of having to do it for a year is simply beyond comprehension.  

I once asked a friend who had served for twenty years and had looked forward to his Mayoralty whether he had enjoyed it. He smiled ruefully and said, "the first four weeks were delightful." And what was the low point?  "Five hours of madrigals with a ten minute refreshment break."

On another occasion I arrived at a local council office for a meeting with the Group Leader.  As I walked along the front of the building I could see into the civic suite, and there, elevated on a high stool, was the Mayor. She waived cheerfully. She was surrounded by hundreds of primary children and someone was reading aloud "The life cycle and history of newts in the ponds and waterways of Kent."  I left the building 90 minutes later, and the poor old woman was still there. By now someone was strumming a guitar and the children were signing about newts, toads and frogs. The Mayor, by now pallid and semi conscious, was clapping along with a rictus grin where her smile used to be. I thought, "she does this three times a day and all she gets is a cup of municipal tea and a plain digestive."

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