Last week I have been taking advantage of Parliamentary Recess to get out and about in the constituency.
In Aberchirder I met with Willie and Elaine Bremner of ‘Bremner’s of Foggie.’, from whom I heard about their long-established family business as well as the work they do with others in the community to promote small businesses and local shopping.
I took the opportunity to bring my children to the fabulous ‘Little Treasures Toy Museum’ in Banff, which contains a fabulous range of toys, games, dolls and doll’s houses from through the ages.
Exhibits ranged from an 1860 doll’s house to those I remember from my own childhood – which I suppose is not as recent as I might like to imagine!
I also made a start at checking out the ‘Lighthouse Trail’ – a series of decorated lighthouse sculptures located around the North East and Northern Isles (I saw my first one in Kirkwall in Orkney earlier in the week).
I look forward to spotting more of these around Banff and Buchan – including in Portsoy, Banff, Fraserburgh, Crimond and Peterhead.
The ‘Light the North’ project is a fantastic project in aid of Clan Cancer Support.
During my visit to Portsoy, I dropped in past the Salmon Bothy, the Caravan Park and of course, Portsoy Ice Cream.
In my travels around the constituency, I have heard many concerns from constituents particularly around public services which, although were understandably curtailed during the Covid-19 pandemic, should be able to start getting back to close to normal now.
I enjoy getting out and about and meeting constituents face to face and since Covid-19 restrictions, moved beyond Level 0 at the start of the month, I am now offering more face-to-face surgeries again in my offices in Banff and Mintlaw.
However, if people prefer, I am still available for virtual surgery appointments – either online or by telephone – as I have been throughout the pandemic.
As I write this, I have just returned from a beach clean at Greenbanks with my family organised by the Macduff Aquarium.
At first glance there may not appear to be a lot of rubbish on our beaches but it is surprising how quickly the bags get filled as you walk along.
It was disappointing to find so many food and drinks containers which are perfectly easy to recycle – or even placed in general waste bins.
Finally, I’d like to join with the country in celebrating Team GB’s 4th place ranking on the Olympic medal table behind the United States, China and hosts, Japan.
Team GB have matched their London 2012 performance of 65 medals as well as winning medals in a wider range of sports than at any other Olympics.
As well as celebrating the many successes of Team GB, we have particular cause to be proud of our local athletes from Banff and Buchan.
Kim Little from Mintlaw was instrumental in the women’s football team getting to the top of their qualifying group – as captain for some games - and to the quarter-finals.
Neah Evans, from a farm near Cuminestown, won silver in the women’s team pursuit.
And, as the Paralympic Games get ready to start, I’m sure the whole community will join me in wishing Turriff resident, Connor Morrison all the very best of luck as he competes in the swimming.