Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dirt under the nails again

I'd like to record my first tiny bit of gardening after about a six year gap. The tenement I stay in has a nicely-kept communal garden where I have negotiated planting rights. This has coincided with unseasonably warm weather. The heat made it feel like I was back in my garden in Ipswich in the warm muggy south.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Election night

First an update on my personal election postbag. More materials have been arriving, including various of those newsletters that pretend very unconvincingly to be newspapers, but of course just have stories about Party X and how great they are. Is anybody actually swayed by this kind of stuff? The ruse is so worn out that I doubt it. More convincingly, I received a letter with a handwritten address from the Lib Dems. The contents looked handwritten but was actually printed/photocopied (not quite sure). But anyway, somebody was trying hard, and some family member/intern probably got the job of writing out lots of addresses. Oh, and I just got an almost identical one from the Tories. Sorry guys, but saying "Me too" doesn't cut it.

I have a polling station across the road, but it's not my polling station. Some odd boundary-drawing means that I had to walk up to Sciennes and vote in the school there. As a kid in Glasgow my primary school was used for elections, so that an early memory was going to vote with mum and seeing familiar classrooms with the desks pushed back and plywood partitions in front of the sandbox. Today was much the same really. I lingered in the corridor for a moment to admire children's work based on Matisse's The Snail (erudite or what?).

If any readers aren't familiar with a British General Election, what happens is this. You enter a large room, usually a school classroom. It is almost empty. Sitting at various desks in it are a selection of pensioners and students earning beer money. They are always very polite. You read a list of streets to see which desk to go to, then hand over your polling card, have your name checked off a list by one of the polite people, and get a voting slip. You then retire into one of the plywood shacks and place an X in the position of your choice using a pencil on the end of a bit of string. It only remains to slide the folded paper in the slot of a black-painted metal box and you have voted. You may then optionally view children's art on your way out, nodding to the various political hangers-on who congregate round the entrance for some reason.

Other countries have vote rigging, violent demonstrations, and people being prevented from voting. Gives you a cosy feeling, doesn't it?

Unlike some, I will not be staying up for the first results, as it's pointless. I'll find out quick enough in the morning.