With Carl Walker selfishly taking some time off to 'have a holiday with his family', Pat Schan steps in to give us her news from the north (of East Worthing).
The troops were not in good form for the first day of canvassing due to a combination of old age, dodgy legs, asthma and a cold but being the troopers we are Margaret and I had been to town for the launch with the Worthing West Team – so efficient they kept reminding me of German footballers – and were reporting for duty.
All woes disappeared when members of the dream team were spotted on the corner of Broadwater St East- the triumphs of last summer came flooding back, the laughter and camaraderie you get from spending three solid months in the trenches and more time with them than with your own family.
You do not mess with the Selden crew
Captain & Mrs Beaumont had us organised spit spot and off we went - soon all the old habits returned – telling Johnnie on the board every conversation in detail - describing pot plants and curtains but forgetting to ask how many voters in the house He’s actually given up telling me their names. I literally put my hand on the gate and instantly forget so revert to my habit of calling them all love or darling. This has not always worked out well and is not to be recommended. Being the peaceful socialist he is though he doesn’t get cross but has this look and occasionally shows a little testiness after a full street of incompetence, but it’s so worth it when you get a promise and he does his victory dance.
So with that we soon fall into our old routines – get in from work, shovel dinner down, grab walking shoes and head for the rendezvous – inevitably just as you get the “I’m running late” text. Before the enlightenment I can’t honestly say I had envisaged a time when I would hang around on street corners wearing a red rosette but this is now so part of my life I barely remember a time before.
I know many members feel anxious about door knocking but given my previously described memory of a gnat, let me assure you that I don’t know the manifesto off by heart or Kier Starmer’s six tests for Brexit (without doubt he uses products in his hair - Carl & I have debated this in the past).
Oh my word they're everywhere!
I think our aim is to let people see that socialists are nice people and interested in them and their community – I think spending time chatting about everyday life is a good investment - always admire the dog, even if it’s going mental (same rule for kids), the lawn and also go for the sympathy vote. I tell them that I have worked for the NHS for 44 years, that I’m a WASPI woman (important to try and notice when they have glazed over). Humour is also good – I had a very grumpy lady telling me all about how much she disliked and distrusted JC – I told her that I was a little bit in love with him and she roared with laughter and took my leaflet to read. I am also pretty good at bailing out when all is lost and do not enter the ‘flogging a dead horse competition which has been known to be regularly entered by Cathy and Margaret.
Mind you the other day when still under the weather I came upon a very strange man who informed me that he didn’t vote ever, knew Jeremy's brother and went into a long spiel about a Marxist plot. I stood there blankly for a good while – none of my escape tactics were working so I went for “is the porch the original…?”
David makes a good point
This week we revisited a road which during the GE campaign I disturbed a very cross kipper who was not up for any of my blarney and actually came down the road after us to hurl insults about JC. I was up for round 2 and maybe bit of peace and reconciliation but was outvoted. I just wanted to ring the bell and when he looked in his camera doorbell to see me waving “Hi - I’m back” …
This weekend our merry band set off (33% of us with hideous hangovers (not any of the girls let’s just say – look at the pictures) and we were suddenly confronted by people in other colour rosettes “What madness is this“? we cried.
Our sitting councillor saw us and fled but we were left with a rather stereotypical tory bloke waving his arms about in a military style telling us they “had it all covered – far as the eye can see” (slight exaggeration there) but he did say a 6 street radius. So JB drew himself up to full at least 7ft tall and said “We will do our afternoon boards“ (I’m thinking WHAT AFTERNOON BOARDS ????). So we went round the corner muttering “pants on fire” and just doubled back later. Oh how we laughed and amused ourselves for the rest of the morning imitating the arm waving. Another high spot was realising that pillar boxes are Labour red … It’s heavy political debate in these parts you know.
But Broadwater's where it's at
We always take lots of selfies, sometimes in the middle of the road and Johnnie always makes a crazy face. Luckily the residents of Broadwater are very used to our antics and have stopped reporting us.
Join Team Broadwater for canvassing – have fun, get a political education and make amazing friends. Always remember the number one aim – Annoy Tim. Tim doesn’t like us and, when he goes on Twitter and Facebook late at night to say rude things about us, we know we are doing ok.
|Go on then, sign me up!|
So I’ll sign off my musings as the guest blogger and won’t be at all offended by the audible sigh of relief and chorus of “Is Carl back yet?”
Pat Schan, Socialist, Gooner, Midwife and Led Zeppelin fan