Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas, a time for giving.

A gift for the Corner Shop!

Curly has had a busy day at the Corner Shop today getting ready for the inevitable post Christmas rush, it is so easy to forget what Christmas is all about when you are in this business! It's about the simple act of giving: God gave us his son Christ, and we represent this act with the giving and receiving of small personal gifts to one another at Christmas. The representaion of something new, a fresh start, new learning, they all have meaning at this time of year.

One can imagine my surprise to find an early Christmas present waiting for me when I returned home this evening!

A personally signed copy of Iain Malcolm's book "Reluctant Rebels" (Iain is the Deputy Leader of South Tyneside District Council). I don't know what I have done to deserve this gift, not even sure if I am receiving it as a prize or a punishment!

Unfortunately I have not had time to thoroughly look through Iain's book, which was published in 2003 by the Durham City Publishing Company, and runs to 111 pages, so it shouldn't take long to get through. It details the effects of the 1972 Housing Finance Act on South Shields, and a quick flick through it's pages reveals many characters who have featured in this blog at one time or another. The main thrust of this small documentary tome is the massive outcry against the "Fair Rents Act" imposed by central government and the agonies it created for local councils, especially focusing on the schisms created within the Labour movement locally.

These events took place before my political "birth" and a full eight years before I became a local Councillor, but many of the leading characters in the book were around when I first took my seat, I'm sure Iain intended to "broaden" my education and jerk my memory with this gift.

The book's cover features a quite rare picture of the interior of the council debating chamber at South Shields Town Hall, there are not many illustrations around of this magnificent building's interior. The reception rooms, the Mayor's Parlour, the members' lounge, and the grand staircase are all richly decorated and feature some exceptional stained glass. One day I would dearly love to be able to show some of these views to the outside world in Curly's Photoshop, you never know, perhaps it can be arranged!

I look forward to reading this book over the next few days and perhaps reviewing it in this blog.

May I say a big thank you to Cllr. Iain Malcolm, a regular reader of this blog, for his generous, kind, and unexpected gift, may he have a blessed and Happy Christmas.

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