IT IS AUGUST as I write, and the Westminster Parliament is in recess for a month.

As the two candidates for Tory leader criss-cross the country in brutal combat, I am criss-crossing my beautiful constituency meeting old friends and making new ones.

When Westminster is sitting, MPs have limited time in the constituency as votes can take place daily. It's rarely possible to nip home from London during the week. So, recess is a time for catchups and discovery, when MPs can get in-person briefings about what matters most to the people they represent.

Our constituency is huge – one of the biggest in Scotland – and it's fascinating in its diversity, stretching from the edge of Perth to Alloa, taking in Kinross and Clackmannanshire.

It's a beautiful place, but it has its challenges.

We all know how tough the Covid pandemic has been on businesses. Covid disguised the effects of Brexit and, as we recover from the pandemic, the chronic Brexit staff shortages are laid bare, as are the disastrous delays which are having such a negative effect on our exporters. No-one I speak to talks of a Brexit dividend.

Ochil and South Perthshire has hidden glories at every turn.

Today I'm heading to the Japanese Garden at Cowden. This wee jewel has been restored from near dereliction. It's considered to be the finest Japanese garden outwith Japan itself and I'm going to be talking to the restoration team later and planting a commemorative tree with the Japanese Consul General.

I love it when I hear of teams in our community working together. My dad spent his working life as a social security officer. He saw it as his job to get the maximum benefits he could to those most in need.

And I was delighted to find that ethos alive and well at the Job Centre in Alloa when I visited.

The team there are passionate about helping their customers back to work – some after years away from the workplace.

And they've got friends and colleagues across the road at the inspiring Clackmannanshire Citizens Advice Bureau.

The Job Centre team told me how much they value the CAB expertise and regularly send people there for detailed, independent advice.

One of my passions is architecture, design and building renovation. And so, I was delighted to be taken for a tour of the glorious Greenfield House, now taken back into council ownership.

Built in 1892 by the mill-owning Paton family, it's a monument to Victorian craftsmanship with its turrets, grand staircases, panelled rooms, and stained-glass windows.

Once the Clackmannanshire Council headquarters, it has had an unhappy spell in private ownership and has fallen into near dereliction.

But the council has grand plans for its rescue and restoration in conjunction with Stirling University.

As always, feel free to get in touch with me about anything you feel my office can help you with and I hope to see you when I'm out and about.

Please feel free to come up and say hello. And enjoy your summer.