Week 8 19th - 25th April
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Monday 19th

The hangover is gone today, but I can still feel its repercussions! Headache, can't get out of bed. When I do, it's grey and very uninviting. More April showers!

I have to get copy to the Press today for an advert which will go in on Wednesday. That takes an hour or so - which is fine as the weather shows no sign of changing!

Today I want to crack Baliff's Cross - and, I hope, the Vauquiedor too, if I've got the time. Only 2 days of canvassing left before election day.

All goes well, even my rather more than calm discussion with a housewife who won't let me be right about anything. I suppose I'd better get used to that!

Just before lunch, I knock on the door of Tall Timbers and find myself chatting with the day of my first girlfriend whom I had last seen, I suppose, some 22 years ago. No hard feelings, though, it seems! :-)

Lunch at the PEH with Aidan. 3.25 for gammon and pineapple - not bad, is it?

Afternoon along the Vauquiedor and the rest of Baliff's Cross. Actually, I find loads of support along there and start to believe that I might really have a chance.

I wish I had the time to do all of St Andrews, but I won't! By 7pm, I have done perhaps 16 pages out of 60. If I can cover half of it, I will have done well, I think. Next time I will do better!

Home for delicious Ainsley Harriott bake and a lovely glass of modern Bordeaux. Mm-mm!

Then more blogging, naturally! So now I'm actually up to date. :-)

Tuesday 20th

Last day of canvassing today. Hoo-rah! It'll be a relief to know my fate tomorrow. Same old thing - only I seem to get slower every day. This morning I stopped for at least half an hour at the house of one Richard Curtis, who is a local kayaking and climbing instructor. Of course there was lots to say, but I suppose I should have been somewhat more mission focused.

Perhaps, though, the best thing that I have got out of the whole standing for deputy lark is the chance to meet so many people like Richard. He knows places on the south coast which I have never heard of!

15 minutes later and I am stopped again for another 20 minutes, talking to an old feller who used to work for the water board. He tells me that he used to be on the Cadastre - and I have a momentary crisis of confidence when I realise that I don't really know what the Cadastre do!

Later on, on reflection, I realise that it is only natural that I don't know many such things. I don't know all of the current deputies - but that only makes me more normal in Guernsey! One cannot be expected to be as familiar with the world of Guernsey politics as the current encumbents are!

Not such a nice day today - it's fine until around 2pm when it starts to rain in a more and more insistent way. I bump into Maria from primary school around that time - which cheers me up. Her husband is in the police and I promise to come back and talk to him in the event that I get in. If I do, it will be essential to benefit from a copper's-eye view of the world.

After that, I head down, trying to dodge the rain-drops, into the heart of St Andrews territory. Having just knocked on Mike O'Hara's door, I bump into him fifteen minutes later. He tells me that he is knackered and heading home for a cup of coffee. I sympathise. I have a gentle dig at Mike for his published hobby of "extreme sports" but he takes me at face. :-)

Five minutes later, I am knocking on the door of the other St Andrews candidate, Hugh Bougourd. He is working on an architectural drawing but he, too, is only to happy to chat for 10 minutes.

I read in my "How to Win Elections" book (ta Liz!) the other day that the candidates have more in common with each other than they do with the electorate. It certainly is a very friendly and supportive atmosphere here in Guernsey.

The other day, someone mentioned the fact that he is prone to meditative thoughts whenever he runs and asked me whether I have experienced the same thing whilst trawling the streets of "The South East". I have experienced the run meditation before and know what he means, but answered, honestly, "no". I really don't find that my mind has much time to stray even when all that occupies it is where to find the next "Beaulieu" or "Mon Abri".

What I have found, however, is that I have developed knocking on doors into something of an art form. I reckon that I have knocked on roughly 1800 doors in the last 5 weeks. At first it was the common or garden "rat-ta-tat-tat", but as time has gone on, I have found myself evolving through the basic "para-diddle" to the more esoteric realms of triplet combinations and even the occasional syncopated 5/4. The residents on whose doors I have knocked have almost universally shown a lot of patience with me - I often press the door-bell and, not knowing whether it has rung, go for the knock, which could potentially be construed as rather impatient. Perhaps their primal senses are soothed by the beat... A kind of rhythmic NLP.

Is this the first sign of encroaching madness? I need a holiday - say in Madrid!

Just when I am reaching the end, T calls and tells me that there a are a number of people at her Peter Mandelson talk. I only have a few doors left to knock on before I reach The Hangman's, though one of them turns out to be the door of Dave Sauvarin, one of the current deputies for St Andrews. Another person I don't recognise. Oops!

When I reach the end of the row, I head into the garage to buy myself some chocolate and a think. I could head into town to see the Peter Mandelson talk - but I should head back up to the Naftieaux estate to pick up some core votes...

10 minutes later, I am sidling into a seat at the back of St James. :-) An excellent talk - though would one expect anything else? Obviously a very erudite guy - and full of excellent arguments in favour of Europe to what, I would guess, would be a rather euro-sceptic audience. One can't help wondering at the timing of his appearance and subject matter:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3635943.stm

One thing he mentioned struck home, the concept of "retreatism". This is where a government loses its nerve over time, preferring to play to the people rather than following its mission. Something to watch out for in Guernsey. Perhaps the status-quo favouring system over here means that even the most promising new candidates are compromised by it after one term in office!

Surprisingly, though, the questions seem to indicate that there are as many pro-europeans as there are sceptics. Excellent questions too - I'm impressed. By the end, though, I can't help feeling sorry for Mandelson. He has been at centre stage for over 90 minutes and the questions keep on coming. It seems the organisers want to get their money's worth from the exotic creature they have on display.

Retire with some relief to the Admiral de Sausmarez to see the Monaco score their first against Chelsea. T, S and I have a couple of G&T's before making the inevitable decision to head down to The Sitar for a ruby murray. Then home.

Doubts? Some. But nerves, not so many... We'll see!

Wednesday 21st
ELECTION DAY

No time to update this yet as I'm recovering at the mo - and going to Madrid on a stag party this weekend! :-)

So, a quick summary. A very exhausting day - I don't think I realised quite how drained I was until about 7pm today, although standing around outside the polling station for 9-10 hours or so was partly to blame.

The day started with a last minute attempt to acquire a rosette - but from where and, crucially, what colour? I eventually located one - second-hand from someone at the Baubigny stables - it was blue and white (perfect) and would cost a fiver, cos the lad who had won it doesn't win too many competitions. :-)

I was there at 10am, chatting to Mike Mason and the other early birds before heading home to finish my preparations and head back down to start the longest day.

You know how it is when you've got too much time to think, your head fills up and you start humming, whistling - or even softly singing a song that you've got in your head. Well, as it happens, the last song I had heard today was "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against the Machine. I had ordered it from Amazon along with a new digital camera and it arrived yesterday. So all day and, most likely, rather uniquely, whilst meeting and greeting the great and the good of the South East, I was gently singing "...., I won't do what you tell me!" to myself.

It wasn't the best day, either - rather cold, in fact - but time meandered onward and we smiled and ran through good mornings, good afernoons and good evenings with increasingly fixed smiles and stiff limbs.

That's not to say there weren't highlights, meeting ones favorite members of the electorate and chatting to the other (very affable!) candidates, all made much more bearable by the constant supply of fabulous food generously and copiously provided by the St Martins douzaine! Thanks Barbara - and thanks Cynthia too!

When they finally closed the doors at the parish hall, it was all I could do to haul myself off for a pint. Aching smile muscles, tired of talking the talk, all I wanted to do was relax in the company of my nearest and dearest.

Of course it was too early for that and after the pub, my loyal chauffeur T and I headed down to the BBC and Island FM to join the media feeding frenzy.

We passed a couple of hours thus and, after a quick stop at The Captains - no booze for me here - we headed back to the polling station to hear the result.

The hall was populated by the candidates and their families. Results started coming in and for me the shock of the night came first. Ann Robilliard wasn't returned in The West. Green leader was down! A big loss for us - and for the island!

A tense hour's wait later, the returning officer, John Domaille read the result.

Here's the BBC report...

...and here's the result:

So 7th - close but no cigar! More about this soon...

Back to campaign HQ afterwards with the loyal friends and family to imbibe some champers and digest the result.

More coming soon...

Thursday 22nd
Friday 23rd
Saturday 24th
Sunday 25th
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