Representing Cheshire East Council must be demoralising if you are on the front line. Councillors and top management can hide from the public but if you work in the parks and gardens, refuse removal or social care there is no escape.

The moment people see that CEC logo you are a target for their ire.

The absurdity of having a £250,000 a year chief executive on indefinite and unexplained suspension has absolutely nothing to do with you.

You may have received specific instructions forbidding you to discuss the matter but that’s not how it works.

To the public at large you are Cheshire East.

You may be even more incensed at seeing public money drain away while your pay seems permanently frozen but you are not allowed to share that opinion.

Social workers have literally no place to go when harangued by angry residents.

If you are inside someone’s home you can’t hide under the bed (although you may want to) you must take it on the chin.

Personally, I have had nothing but admiration for CEC front line staff.

Look at the amazing job done by the park and gardens team.

They have produced some stunning floral displays recently.

Given the amount of littering in the parks I believe the clean-up crew deserve medals.

It’s not a job most of us would even want.

If you are part of the refuse/recycling team at least you have the truck in which to seek sanctuary but go into a shop for a sandwich and you are in the firing line.

No wonder they eat their lunch in the cab.

Of course CEC employees are supposed to be enthusiastic and loyal but there are limits.

Even the passionate disciples working for Apple and Google would revolt at the antics going on at Cheshire East.

Do me a favour…if you enjoy the floral displays, our wonderful parks or you think your care worker or refuse collectors do a good job please tell them.

I’m sure it will make their day.

(I’m running a book on how much CEC will spend on the current management crisis before it’s concluded. Send your estimate by email to


I received an email from my dentist today informing me I was due a check up and asking me to call for an appointment.

When I phoned I referred the receptionist to the letter and waited for an available date.

She immediately asked for my date of birth, which I found rather intrusive.

“You have my name and address plus my email address why would you need my date of birth?

“To confirm your identity.”

“So, let me get this clear. You need me to confirm my date of birth in case a complete stranger with an identical dentistry record to my own intercepts an email sent to my address and has a check up masquerading as me? A little over the top don’t you think for a scale and polish?”

She didn’t like that at all but I’m getting fed up with every Tom Dick and Harriet insisting they need my personal data.

I’m a regular listener to Radio Two and tune in on my computer whenever I’m working in my office.

Yesterday I was asked to ‘sign in’ or ‘register’ and was further informed that soon I would not be able to listen to Radio Two on line unless I did so.

I started the registration process, that I was assured would take only a couple of minutes.

Ten minutes later I was wondering why a national radio station was asking me for my date of birth, post code, ethnic origin, etc.

Apparently Radio Two wanted to ‘enhance my listening experience’ so desperately that failure to disclose such information would prevent me accessing the station at all.

Precisely how that would ‘enhance’ my listening pleasure they didn’t say.

Fortunately there are dozens of alternative stations that do not demand my personal data and are delighted to have me as a listener regardless of my ethnic origin and marital status.

Regrettably, Radio Two and I have parted company.


(Subs Note: Can we have a picture of Doddy, please?)

The visit of Ken Dodd to Alderley Edge recently reminded me of an incident a few years ago when Sir Ken called me at work.

“Is that Vic Barlow?" asked a familiar voice on my phone.

“Yes, that’s me, what can I do for you?”

“You can write a little piece on my forthcoming show at Gawsworth Hall.”

“Who’s that?” I asked.

“It’s Doddy.”

“Come on don’t take the Michael, I don’t have time, who is it?”

“It’s me Doddy.”

“What are you doing, Doddy?”

“Well at the moment I’m frying a pan of chips.”

“Stop kidding around.”

“No, it’s true I am.”

“How are you, Mr Dodd?” I asked sarcastically.

“I can’t tell you how tickled I am.”

It wasn’t one of my mates fooling around it really was Doddy, King of the Diddymen.

We had a strange kind of friendship from thereon where he would contact me whenever he needed a bit of local promotion.

Had he allowed me to write about the real Ken Dodd instead of the clown we all know and love it would have been a best seller but I doubt that book will ever be published.

Who knows maybe Ann, his wonderful partner will, write it with me one day?

(I’ll make her a pan of chips.)