I do very little of what could be called traditional political campaigning. But about once a week I deliver 'introductory' leaflets to a community, offering myself up for discussion, usually on the following Saturday morning. So last Thursday, at about 4.30pm I set out to deliver leaflets through the 250 letterboxes of Tregynon, a village in the heart of Montgomeryshire. Dusk had fallen early. It was the first time I'd been out delivering after darkness had begun its descent, since the intrepid men from the Council had been around removing bulbs from the street lights. It was a nightmare. I won't do it again.
First problem is that I couldn't find the letterboxes. "In the doors" you might sarcastically retort. But which door? And how do you think it looks when a strange man is walking around the house in the dark, bending down to inspect the various doors of all the private houses. And the letterbox itself can be in the middle of the door, at the bottom, vertically under the doorknocker, in a side panel, or built into an adjacent wall. Sometimes there's no letterbox at all - just a container with 'Post' written on it, located in the unlikeliest place. Well, actually there is a letterbox, but its taped over to persuade junk mail deliverers to use the box - not that my leaflets are junk I should add. You would not believe the extent to which some people will go to avoid receiving their mail. None of this would be a problem if the street lights were on. I would not have been surprised to have seen a flashing blue light appearing over the hill. Perhaps one did - three hours later.
But the biggest problem was safety. I had no idea that people placed dustbins in strategic locations in order to trip unwary politicians. And toy tractors. I used to be known as a person able to control an agricultural tractor in dangerous situaations, and ploughed many a hillside, verging on the vertical, with my prairie-buster. But the first time I suffered injury at the hands of a tractor was last Thursday night in Tregynon! And I was also brought down by an unidentified metal object, an incident accompanied by a frightful clattering noise. So embarrassing - a politician cowering in the bushes, while curtains were thrown open by residents disturbed from their dinner by the sound of crashing furniture. But the important point about all this are the bruises, and broken bones. Actually I didn't break any bones - but I could have done. How long until there's a claim against the doubters of the lights for compensation in respect of a serious injury?