A very long day spent working at a by-election within the Leicester Stouth constituency.
I really hate polling days with the Lib Dems: they’re always exhausting. Today, like too many days before it, I got up before 5am in order to be leafletting at the crack of dawn. We deliver “Good morning” leaflets across the target area in the hope of impressing the voters on the early-bird principle. It’s our last chance to get our message across, but it does make for long days.
Delighted to learn, on getting to Leicester, that my name was down for being the guy who stayed at the committee room with the computer tapping the information into the voter-ID database, and marshalling the troups. So whilst my colleagues have been freezing their nadgers off a polling stations on the day that looks like it’s going to have the season’s first frost, I got to sit down, all day, with my hands in their default position on the keyboard of my laptop
Today’s committee room was a huge, vacant, furnished house in a nice suburb of Leicester. So being computer guy was better than usual. I didn’t get a desk, but I did get a sofa. Bargain.
I’ve basically spent the day lounging, eating crisps, chocolate and white bread, sitting at my computer. A long day, of course, given that it’s gone 9pm whilst I write this on the train on the way home, and I was at work in Leicester by 7.30am, but it could have been a lot worse.
The work is also sporadic, and it’s important to maintain a presence in the committee room, which militates on the whole against leaving to take number (“tell”) at a polling station, or to chivvy reluctant voters out to vote (“knocking up”) or even to do routine leafleting.
Basically what I’m saying is I got paid to sit and catch up on my news backlog. I must have read 4,000 posts in the rec.travel.europe newsgroup today. If only I’d also had an internet connection… but unfortunately I left my bluetooth dongle at home and the vacant house didn’t have a connection.
I did have some brief moments in the fresh air, spending a nice hour with a charming Tory teller at the Lancaster College, a Leicester boys’ school.
At this point, I don’t know whether my lounging / telling / database work (and of course the much more arduous work of 40 or so activists who have been at schools, churches, and on the doorsteop all day, actually paid off with getting our guy elected. It certainly should do: it’s a ward we’ve held for twenty years, we are defending the seat of a councillor who succumbed to cancer earlier in the year, and we have thousands of registered supporters. But there has been much wrangling in the run up to the fight, the voters can’t support our councillors on a number of issues, and the local Conservatives seem to have learned how to put up a good fight after years of simply dreadful leaflets. Time only will tell whether the neck-and-neck fight went blue or gold.
The reason for the new subscription to rec.travel.europe is that I’m working on an elaborate fantasy for a holiday after the general election next year. A higher number of weeks than usual for a holiday, me, a car, a tent, and mainland Europe. Paul also for as much time as his employers can spare him from work. I’d better get saving now.
Strange times have been how the week has been going: with Tuesday being the American elections, I stayed up til 4.30am Wednesday to see the results come in. Neck and neck all the way through, but with Dubya just that little bit ahead at every step. It was pretty clear from very early on that Kerry just wasn’t gonna cut the mustard. Disappointing. Terrifying, even: what fresh horror will rain down on the cowering world with Bush back in the driving seat?
I carved this in his honour:
Well, I didn’t, of course, I carved it for halloween last week, and just didn’t post the picture till now.
In addition to hollowing out the shell, I made pumpkin soup out of the flesh, slow roasting it for an hourn then boiling with milk and seiving, and dry-roasted the seeds. Whilst the seeds are tasty, I have discovered I don’t like the taste of pumpkin. And that huge great fruit made barely half a pint of soup. PAh!