With Parliament in recess I am now based at home in Wiltshire and am able to spend a few weeks doing what feels like a normal job, where I start and end the day in the same place.

This does mean that I am also fitting in normal family activities like food shopping, dentist appointments and jogging around the Pewsey Vale and I apologise in advance for my off-duty appearance which can fall far short of my normal standards.

However, I was appropriately attired for a busy morning in Ludgershall last Friday, where I called on people to see what was on their minds (road crossings and the fire station were important topics) and also visited several of the fantastic local shops in the town centre to congratulate them on being nominated in my independent shop competition.

We have hundreds of entries already and the competition will run until the end of August where a winner will be chosen for Tidworth, Devizes, Marlborough and best small town and village, with a grand champion chosen in mid-September. If you haven’t done so, then please do visit my website www.claireperry.org.uk/independent-shops to vote for your favourite and if your nomination is selected as a winner you could win £100.

For anyone without access to the internet, we are happy to cast your vote for you, so please telephone my Devizes office on (01380) 729358.

From Ludgershall I headed to Pewsey to help celebrate the opening of the new facilities at Pewsey Vale Bowls Club and I dropped in at the opening of another great independent shop, Pewsey Velo, which caters for all of those like me, keen on cycling.

A quick trip to Salisbury followed where I opened an amazing new exhibition of art at the Rifles Museum, created by young people from Avon Valley College and Bishop Wordsworth’s School, based on the artefacts and diaries of soldiers who fought through the First World War.

The galleries at this museum tell an incredible story of experiences from regiments closely associated with Wiltshire and are especially worth a visit.

On Saturday, I headed off for another important local regimental occasion – the amalgamation of the First and Second Royal Tank Regiments in Tidworth. This was a truly spectacular and poignant occasion that celebrated the achievements of the two regiments, showed the strength of the combined organisation and reinforced the presence of heavy armoury on Salisbury Plain for future generations.