Autumn’s in the air

This week I was lucky enough to win on the horses at the recent Chester races, and took the pleasure of spending it in the marvellous city of Chester, a great place for a day out if you have an eye for that famous Victorian restoration style of black and white wood.

In the shifting weather of this autumn I managed to get ahead with ploughing up the fields for next year’s wheat harvest, only to remember the wheat seed hasn’t been delivered yet. I wonder if it’s even ready for harvest yet! Mother Nature must be focussing her efforts on keeping us all guessing on the possibility of an Indian summer and figures we can do without bread and cereal for a little while longer next year.

I’ve had a busy week in the Cabinet. The county council met on Wednesday to discuss and approve the additions to the updated Waste Plan, a monster of a document weighing in at 90 pages! The wisest decision of the meeting was to not print off individual copies for the attending members!

Other items discussed included the new Funding Reforms for local schools and proposals to simplify the formula of how education is funded. The proposal’s scheme needs some noticeable rethinking lest the balance of funding between schools is tipped unfairly. The education of children in Staffordshire is our highest priority, and we will work with ALL the schools to protect ALL their futures.

Speaking of schools, we’ve also launched a consultation to enlarge River View Primary and Nursery school with, a step towards providing an extra 1,000 primary school places for Burton-on-Trent, a really positive step in accommodating more pupils and providing further facilities. Plus, the expansion will require the building of new classrooms, and I’m sure the children will love a JCB rolling around school.

Closer to my own world of farming there was terrible, sad news to hear from Northern Ireland on Saturday. For those who don’t know, the young rugby player for Ulster Rugby Nevin Spence and his brother & father (all farmers) were tragically overcome by fumes and killed in a slurry tank accident whilst trying to rescue a dog. Nevin was an outstanding and valued rugby player, who had had a stellar career and his death at the too young age of 22 is a great loss. My thoughts go out to his sister, who was caught in the accident and is currently in a stable condition in hospital. ‘Come home safe’ is something all farmers must remember as it is the most dangerous job in the country for fatal accidents.

On a brighter rural note if anyone is ever in the Ashley area, head down a little beaten track there and you’ll come across the Hungersheath farm shop, a wonderful hidden treasure of Staffordshire and a great place for cream tea and scones.

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