The last weeks of summer term bring their own repeated rituals. In many respects, they are among the happiest of an MP’s duties.
Most Sundays in June and July see the annual civic church services in the towns throughout the constituency. Last Sunday it was Ruthin, the previous one Abergele (which this year I had, sadly, to miss, being away on business). The services are always encouragingly well attended, with councillors and congregation uniting in civic pride. It is particularly cheering to see the way the mayors from neighbouring towns always make a point of supporting the host council, their gold chains of office adding to the pageantry of the occasion.
In Westminster, summer also brings the visit of pupils from Ysgol Pen-y-Bryn, Colwyn Bay. Every year since I was first elected, a party from the school has made the journey to London to present a petition at the door of 10 Downing Street in support of the Send my Friend to School campaign. Send my Friend is part of the Global Campaign for Education, which brings together young people, politicians, teachers, civil society and the media to join in campaigning to demand quality education for all children across the globe.
A number of schools in the constituency support Send my Friend, but none more assiduously than Pen-y-Bryn. Every so often, when in the supermarket, I will bump into former pupils who made the journey to London well over a decade ago. They always tell me how much they benefited from supporting the charity and enjoyed the visit to the capital.
Some parties are more fortunate than others. One year, four pupils were lucky enough to meet the the Prime Minister, David Cameron, who happened to be entering the Cabinet Office and stopped to chat to them. Last year, the visit coincided with the RAF centenary fly-past.
And on one particularly noteworthy occasion, the visitors were treated to the impressive spectacle of Larry, the Downing Street cat, nonchalantly strolling up to the famous black door, which opened when he reached it, as if by magic. It was the coolest thing ever.