Boastfulness should be avoided, but it’s been a significant week in my little life, so perhaps you will forgive me on this one occasion.

Last Tuesday I was proud to stand beside the Prime Minister outside Westminster Hall to welcome home 120 Tidworth-based soldiers from 1 Mechanized Brigade on their return from Afghanistan. After photos, it was down to the terrace for a welcome glass of Red, White and Brew beer kindly donated by Devizes’ Wadworth Brewery.

On Thursday I am honoured and delighted to say that the North Wiltshire Conservative Association unanimously selected me to be their candidate in the next General Election. That will be my fifth election in North Wiltshire (after a previous one against Charles Kennedy in Ross Cromarty and Skye in which I was, thankfully, unsuccessful). Five equals the record set by my predecessor Captain Cazalet (1923-43) and during the next Parliament I will have served for longer. (Philippa says I shouldn’t say that for fear people will say ‘quite long enough.’ I do hope not.)

On Sunday I was on BBC’s Politics Show; then on Tuesday I hosted 250 or so Polar experts in an all-day conference in London’s Royal United Services Institute, and published my book entitled Poles Apart. It includes a picture of me unfurling the Royal Wootton Bassett flag at the South Pole last winter. Later that day I fulfilled a very long-term ambition by being elected to Parliament’s Defence Select Committee. Throw in a speech to the local Federation of Small Businesses; a meeting with Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership; hosting a Trafalgar Night dinner for the Navy, taking part in Westminster debates on the Greenpeace activists imprisoned in Murmansk and on the George Cross for Gibraltar; looking in to the lovely annual ‘Dot’s Do’ in Kington Langley in aid of the British Heart Foundation; and surgeries, amongst other things, and I hope that you will agree that I have not been idle.

I have a tremendous team in Parliament – Rosemary Fisher and Adam Fico – and in Wiltshire Jenny Hancock and Philippa to make these activities possible. I am fortunate too, to have first class officers, activists and councillors in the NWCA, so ably led by chairman Gladys Macrae and am so grateful to them for their vote of confidence. I promise to try my best to live up to their expectations, by doing what I can in North Wiltshire, and by flying the (deep) blue flag in Westminster. Enough boasting – back to the real issues facing us all next week.