Last week was probably the best and most exciting week of my political journey.
It started a few days before when I received an invitation from the Prime Minister, to attend a reception at 10 downing street, via direct mail and totally out of the blue.
I was so delighted - it came a few days before my birthday and I wrongly guessed the envelope was just one of those marketing happy birthday cards with a discount offer - which would've put a little smile on my face. But this? - well I have to admit, my mouth was wide open for a few seconds as I took it in and read it several times in case it was a joke.
It took me a few days to find out why but it seems it was a reward for working so hard in my ward and for campaigning work. There was no way I was going to miss this little treat, so preparations began.
The start of the week was my birthday and although I don't like them coming round so quickly these days, I did decide to treat myself to several things including some nail work - the first time in my life that my hands were professionally made beautiful. I had a great day and that was the start to a really great week.
The Big day arrived and I was looking after my grandson in the morning - I do this every Wednesday and will not change it for anything, we adore one another and I cant bear to be away from him for too long - Plus afterwards, I had enough time to get ready and set off for the station to meet the other invitees, Councillor Liz Harsant, Eddie Phillips, Bob Hall, Paul West and Katherine Parkinson - all work tirelessly for the residents and the Ipswich conservatives.
It was on the train that I was reminded about my invitation card - my heart did a lurch when I realised I hadnt got it! This thing that I had lovingly looked at on a regular basis had passed me by the one time I was supposed to have it!
Being an optimist I wasn't worried, and I knew they had my name on a list, although I was annoyed with myself because I am always so diligent in such administrative things but hey ho, my hubby retrospectively enjoyed the fact that little miss Admin Perfect was human after all (by the way - I am not perfectly organised when it comes to bills - just travel documents, work and council papers. My bills disappear with the socks!).
I was perfectly happy to try my luck and get Ben Gummer to sort but my companions decided that it was a risk too far and started to organise for hubby to pick up the docs and pay for a train ride down to Westminster for me to be reconnected with my invite and proof of identity.
Thankfully, just as he was handing his credit card over to the ticket master, I called him back to put a halt, as Ben Gummer had quickly got onto the event organiser and all was well. My trust in him once more validated.
We met Ben at Westminster and spent some time listening to a debate with Gove and Tristam Hunt - Gove was sparkling with wit, cleverness and knowledge. The whipper snapper Hunt was no match but came across respectfully and with intelligence.
I was pleased to see Nadine Dorres involved in the debate. Apparently she has a good record of attendance and this was borne out again by her attendance in a half empty commons room. I also liked the deputy speaker who had no problem barking orders at Gove et al. She's a lot more pleasing to the eye than Bercow too!
This was followed by a catch up over tea with Ben..
From there we walked to Downing street. Knowing we were not going to be able to take pictures inside, I can only give you this one as proof of my safe arrival through the gates.
I think my best moment of reflection inside the house was walking up the staircase and through the rooms that Margaret thatcher once trod. I imagined her receiving MPs, guests and making our country great once more behind these secretive doors and it was fantastic to remember the first female prime minister whilst waiting to greet the current one.
After some wine and food, and then more wine and food - the PM made his great entrance and it wasn't too long before I found myself in front of him once more (I met him last year in Ipswich and spoke to him about grandparents rights) and this time I chose to speak to him about Ipswich, my upcoming re-election, Ben Gummer and our need to keep him as our MP especially as we are not happy with how Labour are running the IBC administration.
More importantly he accepted our invitation to visit Ipswich again.
I noticed that the PM had a little bit of knowledge about all of the constituencies represented in the room and he was every inch the statesmen.
His speech afterwards was excellent and reminded us all of how much we have already achieved in such a short time. To see the light at the end of the tunnel after only 3.5 years having inherited such a mess, is something to be proud of. I felt totally motivated and inspired.
Unfortunately I had to miss the council meeting but asking the PM to come to Ipswich again, talking to him about some of the issues in Ipswich was a far more important role, and one that I wouldn't have missed for anything. After nearly 8 years as a councillor it was a reward that will not come my way easily again. Listening to the labour administration, offering papers and policies that have already been decided by them at executive and outside council and being patronised by some of their members, is something that has been there and will continue to be there many times to come!
The evening ended in a pub near Liverpool St station before boarding a punctual train back to my beloved Ipswich.
And the whole affair is now safely stored in the memory bank.....