Wednesday: I’m sat in Guildhall Café in Portsmouth awaiting a lady called Claire Looney to talk to me about ‘what I can do to help the council help Portsmouth’. I’d searched her name on-line, found out what she looked like and pretty much found out as much as I could from the internet regarding her life in Portsmouth City Council. This was essential because otherwise I had no idea what to expect from the meeting.
Before I went on holiday early September I knew I was due to hear from Claire at some point regarding the next stage in my unknown adventure. I’d recently joked with friends that my unknown direction made me feel like Daniel from The Karate Kid; painting the fence and not knowing why until Mr Miyagi takes a swipe at him.
When Claire walked in she was practically marching. She had that pace that said that she had 100 things to do when she could only fit in 50. I immediately felt like I was wasting her time. Sat there in jeans and t-shirt and swigging a cup of Tea out of a cardboard cup I braised for vocal impact, stood up and held out my hand to try and remove the doubt from my mind by embracing her hand in a confident shake. Adding on the strong ‘hi there, and thanks for meeting me’ I felt I had earned the right for at least a short meeting.
And short it was, not that that was a problem. We chatted for 30 minutes about what she’d like me to do and where I’d be going from here. I’ve now got another meeting with another person (as soon as I hear back from them) and I should actually end up nestled in a position where I can finally do something. I’ll admit that my unorthodox method of getting involved is likely to blame for the delay in me getting to this stage but, hell, I didn’t really know where I could help out in the first place other than, ‘help make Portsmouth a better place to live’.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I can quite talk about the plans that I’ll be involved in yet but suffice to say I think it’s going to be a great project for Portsmouth and its residents. Councils face a lot of criticism and there are no doubt people in them who are not as motivated as we’d like. But having met a number people from the council and seen some of the struggles they face I can safely say that we should all give them a bit of slack. The world had a wake up call with the financial crisis and the councils were with us when facing the brunt of it. By supporting them, we can all work together to make this city a better place.
On a side note I found out that Portsmouth is twinned with a city in Japan! It’s a place called Maizuru and like Portsmouth it’s a city with a strong naval heritage. Weirdly the city has a museum that is infatuated with the material that surrounds so many of our homes in Portsmouth – red bricks. Not the most exciting of things but the trip advisor review is pretty good lol.