Saturday, November 01, 2008

Travails of Campaigner.

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?


jolly roger said...

Dear, dear, Glyn, you intrepid campaigner,
I would have thought that the solution was a simple no-brainer.
As the roads of the County you doggedly tramp,
You could employ the services of an electrical lamp.
They have them now in a portable form.
With batteries and bulbs, they are quite the norm.
In case they're not available in your rural setting.
There are other forms of light you should not be forgetting.

The lanthorn or rushlight still have their uses,
In lighting your way, you have no excuses.
Even a bundle of brushwood will do,
Providing it's held well away from you.
But if, after this, all else fails,
And the darkness impinges upon your travails.
You could always try posting your stuff in the day.
When it's dark, decent people are in bed, so they'm say.

suzy davies said...

You too eh? It's like a coalhole out there. Was bumping - literally - into torchless trick or treaters last night. I wonder how many of the Switch-Off Councillors actually visited wards where the lights had already gone off. Random and haphazard doesn't begin to describe it. I know some councillors made impassioned pleas on behalf of their wards but voted to carry on with the programme anyway! Luckily it was a recorded vote, so if anyone wants to find out how their councillor voted last Thursday they can - or call me on 01874 624796. Time to account to their electors for their decision, don't you think. In the meantime, I'll lend you my torch. I'll be asking certain councillors to pay for the batteries. And the bandage for my ankle after I tripped over a pavement in Llanfaes on Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

What were doing with a prairie buster in mid wales. sounds more like the something from the wild west

Anonymous said...

The thing to do Glyn is to have a few Labour or Plaid cards to hand - so if you accidently knock a flower pot over in the dark, you can sprinkle the area with some Labour or Plaid cards, then beat a hasty retreat.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Perhaps Ron Davies will have a field day in Powys - looking for badgers - they are nocturnal creatures after all.

Glyn Davies said...

jolly roger - its the indecent that are more likely to be in bed by seven. In future I will deliver in the light though.

Suzy - We can't afford to trip up now. But several torches.

anon - If you recall, in the 1970s, there was a grant stucture which encouraged farmers to plough up every possible acre - and some that were near impossible. The plough that we used turned over just one very deep furrow and enabled me to drive straight down very steep sideland. This plough had the nickname, Prairie-Buster. Well you did ask.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - reminds me of a joke I've heard political canidates use about wlking up a freshly laden concrete garden path, looking around after seeing the horrified face of the householder who has answered the door, and announcing representation for another party.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

I remember accidently walking backwards into freshly laid concrete at St. Georges Hospital in Tooting. I had no real excuse - so I blamed the footmarks on the guy who just smoothed out the concrete. He asked me why I wasn't looking where I was going to which I replied, "My dear sir, you had not put out any warning signs of wet concrete for me to look out for", then I beat a hasty retreat carrying wet concrete curing on my shoes and ends of my trousers.