Week 3 15th - 21st March
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Monday 15th
Nominations open

First day of nominations. The BBC was down at the Bailiff's office early on, catching up with the runners. Mary Lowe was there from 8am! Crikey! I thought I would be one of the first but apparently not. There was already a substantial list of incumbents registered before I left to catch the bus into town.

Into town and go to see Ben Morgan, stopping outside the gates of Elizabeth College to admire a "Kool Tech" bike/car. Excellent, tiny little 2 seated vehicle. How many of those would fit into the North Beach car park?

Carey Olsen's an impressive place - very city! Ben & I chat for half an hour - it turns out he's also very green - he's not the first person to suggest a household vehicle limit. He's got a few campaign ideas too - "A Greener Guernsey" - fantastic! Ben's quite an enthusiastic runner too and another one occurs to me too "The deputy who ran - and just kept on running" - could be a good theme for the web-site. My nomination form is complete!

I hustle along from there to the Bailiff's office. Deputy Roy Bisson is leaving just as I arrive and wishes me luck. Seems my face is starting to be known... this is it! The Bailiff's office is very busy. Business as usual plus candidates popping in all morning. The Bailiff is there and Mike Ozanne arrives with his nomination just as I'm leaving. That's it - I'm running.

The sun breaks through for half an hour and I take a ten minute break sitting on a harbour bench. Aah, the summer is on it's way.

Head up to Frossard House afterwards to pick up my electoral roll. There's a big pile of paper on the floor at the reception area and Alison is having fun organising it all. I get an alphabetic copy and a road-order one and sign up for an electronic copy but it's not ready yet - pity about all that paper!

No buses for a while but it's only a half hour walk home. When I get in, the BBC is listing the nominees so far. My name is mentioned - there are 29 already!

My cold's receded enough for me to run again now so I do my 2-3km as prescribed by Simon the osteopath. The hamstring is a lot better now and I'm looking forward to starting on a decent length run again.

Home for a bit of admin/blogging, lunch and then it's time to pick up my manifesto "flyers" from Hamilton Brooke and a walking map from Digimap. I also need a Bluetooth Adaptor so that I can get the pictures off my mobile phone and onto the web-site. That's why there's a sudden glut of them today! :-)

Time to relax with a bit of Weakest Link before tea. More blogging in the evening - I'm going to try to get something up there today, even if it isn't perfect yet. So here goes...

Tuesday 16th
STEPS meeting 7.30pm

Quick 2.5km to start the day. Can't resist a jaunt on the cliff path on such a beautiful spring morning! Spend the rest of the morning writing, doing admin, etc.

Today's the day to start canvassing. I've got the map, I've got the manifestos, I've got the sensible shoes. Have I got the courage to get out there and play the part?

Planned out my route after lunch - which in itself took quite a while because the map and the road order lists are mostly in sync, but not precisely. Sometimes houses in the same area appear in different places on the list. My plan is to start locally and cover the Rue des Gron, some of Saints Road and the road towards Icart.

At 3pm I'm ready to go. I don a jacket and shirt, comb my hair, put a couple of hundred manifestos in my bag and head out to meet the electorate.

There's no-one in at the first house on the right of the Rue des Grons, but there is at the second and I hand over my first leaflet with a smile. People are a little wary at first, often peering through a crack in the door - I suppose I must look a bit like a travelling insurance salesman - but when they find out what I'm up to, the doors open. I suppose that, having registered to vote, they are pleased to be involved in the process. I'm the first they've seen, many say - not surprising as nominations only opened yesterday. The election's 5 weeks away but I've got a lot of ground to cover.

It's interesting just to see the houses. There's a mansion down there, next to a commuter belt home which is opposite a States-owned house. They all seem pleasant, though - homely! We're lucky - we have such a good standard of living here in Guernsey - and especially in St Martins!

The Clos de Beaupre is absolutely full of voters - nearly every house there is registered. These are the mainstay of Guernsey's electorate. They are all very happy to talk - even the pro-life lady who disagreed with my stance on abortion... Another man tells me that Wave Telecom are building a 15m mobile phone mast in the field behind the estate. Hmmm - I didn't know that.

I spend about three and a half hours out there - including a quarter of an hour with an old man who tells me that he's planning to tear up his form in the polling station, in protest at the National Insurance contributions which they have decided to start charging on pension income. It does seem harsh - he calls it a stealth tax. Educational to talk to him, if unproductive. I make one more pleasant mistake - accepting an invitation in to talk to a friendly elderly couple who are full of ideas.

Out of a total of 201, I have covered 6 pages of names in 3 hours - about half of what I had hoped to do today. That means that I've got another 97 hours ahead of me. This is going to be hard work but I'm on my way!

A lot of people have said that there's a list of declared candidates in the Press today - but I haven't seen it yet. I will have to pick up a back edition tomorrow.

STEPS meeting in the evening. It's a forum asking members what they think should de done by the group. Creating cross country paths a la Vic Froome need pursuing. Another idea is asking people to suggest pedestrian road safely improvements and amplifying their voices to the powers that be. Perhaps we could collect ideas on the web site...

STEPS web site

There is a vocal group of new faces - women who apparently usually attend a meeting at their local church on Tuesday evenings, but it's closed at the moment. :-) Maybe they will sign up, though! Pat Wisher has asked me to be on the committee. A first taste of how-to-do-things, perhaps! It's one thing having ideas, another is getting them adopted and implemented.

Wednesday 17th
St Patrick's day

Got my first mail on the gregsonweb address today. From James Menhenit from STEPS (I think). Nice to know that someone is reading this! :-)

And one from Joff, my sister's fiance including the following link: bestfootforward.com

Catching up with admin in the morning - and writing up yesterday's weblog..

Afternoon spent pounding the streets - this time along Icart road and up the hill from Saints Bay. It was a pea-souper out there - would have made an atmospheric photo but I forgot my phone - I'm not really used to having it yet and keep forgetting to take it with me. I think I prefer not to have one - I think it's much easier to do without in Guernsey than elsewhere. There is not the same pressure to conform - people are willing to make plans in advance for one thing.

Met more voters. It seems people are very reasonable on the whole - the thing that exercised them most was the bus that goes along the road there. It really is too big. I hope that when service improvements come, the bus company will consider assigning the bigger buses to other routes and invest in some smaller ones for routes like the 6/6A.

This has got to be my favorite part of the island - so beautiful - so home! :-) I got quite envious, visiting all of the lovely places on either side of the valley.

One Scottish man was quite keen to discuss everything and quizzed me quite soundly for 20 minutes or so. Keeps me on my toes!

Got back home around 7pm after 4 hours on the beat. Keeps you fit, this politics business, though I think I need to improve my through-put a bit. There's still a lot of ground to cover and I'm going to be away next week...

A pint of Guinness tonight, I think! Though a friend of mine has suggested we ameliorate the effect by visiting the gym at Beausie first. :-)

Ooops - over-did it slightly at the gym. I forgot my shoes so I just stayed out of sight on the rowing machine for half an hour. :-) And then had a go (feeling rather foolish at first!) on a "Swiss Ball" as recommended by the osteopath. Quite a work-out in fact.

Then over-did it ever so slightly at the Cock & Bull afterwards too - there was a really shindig in there. Had a few points of the black stuff for St Paddy.

Thursday 18th

More admin in the morning - quite a lot of it related to this web site. Rather time-consuming this web-log!

The incinerator plans seem to be ruffling a few feathers at the moment. The revised plans have been released and the building is going to be 20m taller than at first advertised. People are just starting to realise the impact it will have on them. Good. Perhaps it's not too late to stop it!

Into town to meet up with T for lunch at La Crêperie. Then home via Frossard House to see Alison about the electronic copy of the electoral roll. I don't really find I need it but it seems that as I've signed for it, it's hard not to take it. £10 I don't need to spend but ah well... maybe it'll come in handy.

Bump into Phil Collenette and Nic Carre on the way home, along Havilland Vale, doing somebody's trees. As ever, they're encouraging in a wry way. :-)

Get home and get back out on the beat, this time, along Le Rocher, past Blanchelandes, including Les Aubrets towards the Bon Port Hotel. Weather isn't too bad and I spend a few minutes looking out for Mrs Weaver's dog - a big brown tearaway who seems to enjoy teasing the chickens in the allotment :-) and head on down past Stuart Taylor's Driftwood. Nice!

From the Greenaway's Bon Port farm, I get a closer look at Mr Tang's famous new house that's being developed in the copse at the end of la Rue des Clotures, overlooking Saints Bay. Apparently the cause of many over-sized vehicles along the lanes around there. I can believe it. How can we reduce the size of the vehicles allowed along such narrow lanes? Perhaps there should be a size / weight limit for any road declared a Rouette Tranquille... The local builders would have to use(/buy) smaller trucks. Wouldn't be popular!

Via Blanchelandes and La Rue des Frênes to home. Still pretty slow going... I'm going to have to accelerate to cover the ground. I'm going in a sort of spiral pattern, starting from home and working around to the further flung parts.

Friday 19th

Wake up to Radio Guernsey's announcement that gale-force 9 winds are imminent. OK - better get out there and face the elements before they arrive...

They're also talking about the incinerator and have the plant manager from the Isle of Mann on talk about their experience. The plant is due to open there in April. They paid £40m for theirs - ours will cost £80m+! And it will be a monster that will need feeding - no more recycling paper or the possibility of recylcing plastic - they will both be needed to maintain the combustion temperature. An interesting thing mentioned is that, since the price of refuse disposal has risen from £10 a tonne to £100, there has been a massive surge in interest from the commercial sector! No surprises there!

I head up the Rue Jehannet estate first thing after breakfast. Quite a few people are in - great - but it's only an hour before I'm back again to pick up a few more manifestos.

Chantal de Garis gave me a copy of Mike Torode's manifesto. I take a shufty for a few minutes. It's all about him being non-conformist but experienced and steady. Hah!

This time it's out down the Route de Coutures. Along the estate and back towards home.

Those gales are more than imminent by this time and, as I dodge wetly from doorstep to doorstep, I console myself with a promise to head down to The Captain's for lunch. Aaah!

Angela Brennan and I discuss the balance Guernsey needs to strike between focus on economic benefits and the quality of life we enjoy. We can't just keep selling Guernsey out for money. Surely there must be a limit to the money we need - and the people the economy needs - to sustain our standard of living...

Lionel Downs is in there, on the Famous Grouse (as usual) and buys a generous round. Big fat pork chop (bad!), fat-free new potatoes (good!) and veg. Got to keep fit. I reckon a few hours walking a day should do the job, though. All the island's fat-cat politicians probably come back after canvassing looking a lot sleeker! :-)

A bit of route planning needed before heading out for the afternoon session. Crikey, I've only done part of Map 5 - out of 6! Lots more to do - though perhaps I've done some of the most dispersed part first. I hope so!

Later on, down at Moulin Huet, I see Annie Sandwith delivering her organic veg. Apparently, Francis Quinn was asking her earlier why she isn't standing. She is a member of the local Friends of the Earth group. No doubt I shall be seeing more of her.

Anne O'Mahoney and I discuss the difficulties in reducing car usage. She is right down in the valley there and I can see her problem with using the bus - let alone cycling! She tells me that she can only get on her bike when she reaches the Bella Luce! :-) Though perhaps if we can get people to use their cars for one journey fewer per week, then we're making a start. Not, however, if vehicle population of the island keeps on growing!

I can see enormous rollers coming in to Moulin Huet from down there so I pop down to the beach to check in out. Beautiful and dramatic. I wonder what I would do if I found myself in the middle of the bay in such conditions... can't help thinking that perhaps I will have a similar experience if I manage to get into the house next month! :-)

Aux armes, citoyens! I see Francis Paul's article in the 7days magazine today, telling us all that we can't blame the States for our environmental troubles, that we should take the responsibility on ourselves to reduce our personal impact on the island. I agree - we should each take responsibility for our own small but significant contribution, but I think we could tackle the problem from both sides and give ourselves incentives to be good - we all know how hard it is!

Saturday 20th

Off on a snowboarding trip this week - not ideal but planned long before all of this came up. It was booked in October when I was finishing off work for Opera Software and had enough time and money to spare.

I wasn't looking forward to this trip. Besides being expensive, when I was working in Whistler as a chalet host, I promised myself that I would never put myself through that jet-lag for anything less than a 10 day trip. However, having never been boarding with my good friend Cal and finding myself in the fortunate position of being able to afford it, I decided to break my own rule - the travelling would be painful but when else would I get the opportunity to return to Whistler?

Upon deciding to stand, with the dates being only 3-4 weeks before the elections and with savings dwindling, the trip started to seem problematic; another friend had showed some interest in coming a few weeks ago and I would ask him if he'd like to come on the trip instead of me.

He couldn't arrange the holiday at short notice and the travel agent told me that I was too late to expect any rebate if I decided to cancel. I had already paid more than £800 - and I do need a holiday! - if only from home and the job hunt.

Finally, circumstances had forced my hand. But surely leaving the island at such a crucial time this was irresponsible. I had only knocked on the doors of 10% of the South's electorate and there was plenty to be done - for instance meeting the other candidates. Most of them are known to each other, more or less - but who is this mysterious Robert Gregson? Surely not the time to be disappearing for a week? Whatever happens, if this attempt isn't successful, people will know me next time - or in the event of a by-election.

I'd covered my nearest neighbours, I was going away with 3 intelligent members of the electorate and, as we know, travel broadens the mind - perhaps it would give me with some new ideas and I will come back fighting on March 29th...

As it turns out, I am very glad I did, because, like many holidays which one anticipates with less than total glee, it turned out to be a doozie - 4 days of beautiful powder being the main contributory element. Yee hay!

The journey was pretty painful, as expected, but passed in a genial haze as my friends (Cal, M & A) and I got to know each other in airport bars and restaurants along the way. We left Guernsey on the 7am flight to Gatwick - wishing there was a GSY-LHR flight - and caught a direct flight to Vancouver with BA in the early evening, just as the sun was setting.

As the route was polar and east-west, we seemed to be travelling in eternal dusk - especially beautiful when we looked down to see ice-floes in the Canadian Arctic - one almost expected to spot a couple of polar bears hunting.

Cal was giving up smoking for the week - possibly longer - combining the sticks of no-smoking environments on the flight and in Canadian bars and the prospect of the Great Northern Run with the carrots of a physically active week and the rest of the party's abstention from the killer weed.

I think he would attest to the help that Canada's smoke-free policy gave him in his success. And what a relief it was to be able to be in a smokeless environment - how much less seedy Canadian bars feel for their policy! Smoke-free helps - it is the future!

We arrived in Whistler later the same day - albeit a day lasting 32 hours. For a nightcap, we constructed a round of B52's from the ingredients we had collected at Duty Free and crashed out.

Sunday 21st

Aaah - Whistler! Spectacular - and all rather familiar, even 8 years later. We acquired our lift tickets and in my exitement, I dragged a Cal & M up to the top of Blackcomb Glacier in a vain hunt for "freshies". There had been a big dump 2 or 3 days earlier and I was hoping to be lucky. I wasn't - and subjected the boys to a choppy first run of 10km back to Whistler Village. Aah well - Spring skiing conditions prevail, then - or so I thought.

A rep took Cal & I for a tour of the Whistler side and back down by 3 o'clock to settle into the usual après-ski pattern.

In the evening we ate at the Mongolie grill. A fun but mixed up place where you select your own ingredients and the chefs cook them on a large round griddle. The temptation always is to choose everything you like rather than to create a real dish - and to put in too much chile! "Oooh yeah, that's spicy! ... and I can't eat it all!"

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