With the sun shining, it was too tempting not to resort to my motorbike. First stop was Macpherson House in Preston. I was met by the chairman and other members of the board who could not have been more charming. Fortunately, the Chancellor had capped rental rises at seven per cent, which is what the not-for-profit organisation and others like it had asked for. The best way of telling you about this warm and cosy home is to print what is on their website, which says this -
"Located in the beautiful seaside town of Weymouth, one of the gems of the breath-taking Jurassic coastline, is MacPherson House, a sheltered house built in 1961, offering a home from home with support when you need it from our professional and caring house staff and team of volunteers. MacPherson House was the first purpose built home for the Abbeyfield Weymouth Society, with 10 ample rooms fitted with en-suite facilities and fully carpeted. Bring your own favourite pieces of furniture and beloved photos so you can make your room feel like home. For added peace of mind and security, all of our bedrooms and shower rooms have emergency call bells and we always have a night member of staff on duty. Find companionship, warmth and security at our house, where visiting family and friends are always welcome to come and join you for a meal or special celebration. There are many beautifully decorated communal areas including our sitting room with a TV, superb garden with a substantial lawn, which you can tend to if you're feeling green fingered. We're in an excellent location, with a doctor's surgery, hairdresser and deli nearby. you'll discover a stunning beachfront just a 15 minute walk away from the house, as well as a range of wonderful restaurants and cafes. For those looking to travel further afield, we are within walking distance of bus stops in both directions."
The home I had the pleasure to visit matches the above in every way. The rooms were airy and comfortable, the house immaculately clean and tidy, the kitchen pristine and a wonderful cook who has been a chef for decades. Like all organisations similar to this, they are battling rising costs, although they were pleased that rent rises were capped at seven per cent by the Chancellor yesterday. I then drove to the Portland Cenotaph to lay my wreath. I alternate each year between the island and Weymouth and this year it was the latter's turn. I came to attention, bowed my head and lay the wreath. Having been away in Moldova and Ukraine, this was the first opportunity I'd had to pay my respects to those who had died from the island. Then it was back to Weymouth to meet the Principal of Wey Valley Academy, Tom Neill. He's been in charge for two years but Covid had meant I had not been to the academy for a while. I was very impressed with Tom, who is young and energetic and certainly has the drive to take the academy on. Regrettably, due to a mass of other things I had to do since returning from abroad, I could only stay for a quick tour, but committed to returning and chatting to the students. Back to the office until well into the evening working on a mass of constituency matters.