out and about

Yesterday was over to Mum’s to meet up with Jane, Chloe, Phoebe. Chloe was very under the weather, having just broken up with her boyfriend, but Phoebe was hr usual bubbly self.

Today was Worcester Pride. I helped out on the Green Party stall for a couple of hours, in a really good atmosphere. Quite a change from the over-commercial and youth/yuppie orientation which I fel has come to typify London Pride.

And I received a fair number of approving comments about my shirt!

printing

A couple of bits of printing for the Green Party yesterday – some for Worcester, some further afield. This batch went through with almost no hitches, as opposed to last Friday’s batch when the extreme humidity meant that the paper simply wouldn’t go through for the second side and I had to wait for better weather on Saturday.

make votes matter

Emily had organised a “Make Votes Matter” stall outside the Guildhall yesterday, and I’d said that that I’d pop down and help for a bit. Arrived about mid-day, and stayed until packing up at 1345. A couple of spells of light drizzle slowed things up, but it was generally pretty busy – the “Brexitometer” and the “Make Votes Matter” board were full of stickers of people showing their views.

Emily had a hat decorated with the white/green/purple plait round the crown, which looked really good. Sadly, I didn’t take a pic of it.

For some reason, there seem to be photos of me chatting to Councillors – Marjory (our new Green City Councillor) and Matt (Green County Councillor). I very much like the latter photo, and have stolen the bit of it showing my head to be my Facebook profile pic!

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damp and dismal

It’s been generally vile weather here most of the day, but the rain stopped a couple of hours ago and I managed a scamper round the garden. Quite a lot of things are looking rain-beaten! However, the first of the courgette flowers has opened, which is promising.

I did manage to finish the Green Party newsletters, but something clearly went terribly wrong! My count for the “side one’s” was a couple of hundred copies different from my count for the “side 2’s”! I’ve done extra, so it should end up over rather than under … but I can’t quite understand how it happened, as I’m normally rather careful about keeping track!

I’ve been a bit low, as today’s the first anniversary of Maurice’s funeral, so it’s probable that I mis-counted somewhere just due to brooding.

garden bits

A very “senior moment” this morning! I couldn’t remember if I’d taken my morning dose of pills. Complete mental blank about it. Fortunately, when I looked in the kitchen drawer, it was clear that the evening meds were on top of the morning ones, so pretty clearly I hadn’t yet had the morning ones.

Let’s hope this doesn’t become a regular occurrence – I don’t feel ready for dosette boxes and suchlike aids for the elderly quite yet!

The first if the Shirley poppies came into flower this morning. They self-seed so generously that they’re a bit of a nuisance! However, this one is in the planter for the fig tree, so not really a problem.

The ceanothus is looking splendid, and mimulus is coming out in handfuls. Elsewhere, the first foxglove has opened in the “messy” ground up by the raspberries. The rose “Etoile d’Hollande” doesn’t seem in the least upset by the recent change from trellis to rose arch, and is making excellent growth over the new structure,with more promising flowerbuds.

images are “clickable”

This afternoon will see me dragging the printer out – Green Party newsletters for part of Worcester to do. I might also try to plant out some rather leggy lettuces, which are currently languishing on the cloakroom windowsill!

MEP election count

Yesterday was the election count for MEPs – I was a “counting agent” for the Greens at Worcester’s Guildhall. This merely involved watching the count, at fairly close quarters, to check that there were no irregularities, though from a Green point of view it’s also useful to get and idea of how the vote split up by ward.

In at 1500h, for a 1530 start, which was “checking and validation”. Votes are counted into bundles of ten, face down, then collected into bundles of a hundred. Once all ballot boxes for that ward are counted, this is cross checked with the number of ballot papers issued, to make sure none have gone missing or whatever. There was then a break for refreshments – provided free, as we’re not allowed off the premises during proceedings. I’d met up with Daniel Thompson, who had asked if we could slip out the back for a smoke, which isn’t normally allowed, but he got permission. Result!

Then the actual count. It was fairly clear from the size of the piles, nd my rough count of the bundles of hundred, that in the wards I was watching there was a big Brexit vote, but large Green and LibDem votes. We were – to my surprise – allowed to go at around 1930, once the counting was complete and agreed, under threat of dire penalties if we breathed a word about what we’d seen or heard until 2200h – the time the last polling station in Europe closes.

I got home, had a bit to eat, and so on. BBC1 election results programme was as usual dominated by dickheads! However, I stayed up til around 0200h.

Worcester’s overall results, which are fed into the overall count for West Midlands, shown below. Greens a fairly close third to the LibDems – a very creditable result. And we now have a Green MEP (Ellie Chowns) for the West Midlands. Across the UK, Green MEPs have more than doubled, from 3 to 7. A good night.

Worcester results

Trip to Suffolk

Thursday 16th was over to Suffolk to my brother’s place, for a fishing day on Friday. I loathe the train journey! It involves leaving home just before 1100, going Worcester Shrub Hill > London Paddington > London Liverpool Street > Ipswich > Halesworth, arriving 1655. Each time I do it, I swear “never again”, but so far it hasn’t worked out to stay in London over the previous night – this time, because of a Green Party meeting on the Wednesday evening.


Friday 17th was up bright and early at 0620, arriving at fishing just before 0700h. Geoff was already there (having been unsure whether we were meeting at 0600 or 0700) and set up. “Bob the Bailiff” came round mid-morning – I’m not sure if he took pity on us, or genuinely thought that we were all aged over 65, but we got the OAP rate of £8 each.

Not a brilliant fishing day for me – a dozen or so little roach. Geoff (fishing one side of me) had three carp (to around ten pounds) in the morning, and Sim (fishing the other side of me) had several decent carp and perch in the afternoon – that’s just how it goes. Fishing finished about 1700h.


Saturday 18th started with a facebook message from Andrew Cross, saying he could drop off the agreed Green Party poster board later. I messaged back “if you’re happy to put the signboard up yourself, please feel free. A post driven into the front flowerbed wll do the business – preferably towards the dustbin end ( the plants there are pretty bombproof). Or leave the stuff behind the bins and I’ll put it up tomorrow. Many thanks“. He not only put it up, but brought my bin back in (out as I’d been away on Thursday bin-day), and sent me a pic of it all:

It was then the drive over to Green Mount, with Sim driving the first half and Phoebe doing the rest. A really utterly dreadful coffee and OK toastie for lunch at the changeover spot, in a Costa. Heavy shower, and I really was not walking at all well! fortunately, it cleared up later, and I was able to go for my usual stroll on the Common around 1600h.

Just going on to the Common there was a swarm of bees over the path, about nine feet in the air. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a swarm for about 40 years!

 

swarm of bees (still pic)

Sim and Phoebe drove me to the station for the 2100 train. As always, the “train describer board” was acting up – 90 seconds of going through its re-boot procedure, ten seconds of showing train information, followed by re-booting again …

Normally, I have return tickets, of course.This time I didn’t, having come from Suffolk. I was very tempted to try it on – I get my ticket checked about once a year on these evening trains – but decided not to. Just as well: there actually was a ticket check this time!

Home just short of 2230, and spent the next hour reassuring Chelsea-cat. She does get into a bit of a state, and won’t even eat unless I remain in the kitchen with her, which is a trifle inconvenient.

Local Elections

Yesterday (Thursday 2nd May) was Local Elections day here in Worcester. We elect a quarter of the City Councillors every year, and this year there was no election in my ward of Rainbow Hill. However, the next-door ward of St Stephen has been the Green Party target for the past couple of years (we already have one Councillor there), and there’s been a massive effort put in.

So I set my alarm clock for 0515, and struggled to get up. I’d packed the bike top-box with essentials the night before, and set out a thermos etc ready. I was on the bike by 0645, and speeding my way down the very steep Merrimans Hill to St George’s Primary School, one of the polling stations. I arrived comfortably before it opened at 7 – the polling clerk was friendly, and brought out a chair for me.

The first slot I did (0700-0900) was very quiet, with only about a dozen voters turning up. Two elderly friends met up, and spent twenty minutes standing next to me discussing the failure to deliver Brexit, the perceived failures of Westminster, and “the Council” (though they seemed unable to distinguish between City and County …). An uncomfortable amount of tact was needed! At least the rain held off – though maybe it might have moved them on a bit quicker.

Matt Jenkins turned up five minutes early, so it was back up the hill (electric bikes are wonderful) for a bacon butty breakfast. A quick peer through the window at progress with next door’s fence, and some more work on this blog, and back down to the polling station for midday. This time round the weather was much less cooperative, and much of the time was spent lurking under an umbrella! My relief turned up 15 minutes early, but then went off to Sainsbury, and back home for an umbrella, so actually took over at bang on the appointed time of 1400h.

Heavy rain back up Merriman’s Hill, and I was soaked when I got home. Front room full of bike on charge, umbrella, jacket, high-vis vest etc all spread out to dry!  An hour’s snooze, and by the time I woke up the fence people had been rained off – I later had a text from Rupert to say they’d be back on Friday.

More playing with historic entries to this blog all evening. Despite getting up early, I stayed up to follow the results on the Worcester News website (it’s a bit of a Tory rag, but it’s all we have!).

Marjory gets it for the Green Party

YIPPEE !

Being over-tired (and slightly zombied having taken a tramadol because my back was – not unexpectedly – playing up) I stayed awake until all Worcester results were in. It’s left us with “no overall control” – Tory 17, Labour 15, Green 3. So, Greens holding the balance of power again, as we did for most of last year (until Louse unbelievably defected straight from the Greens to the Tories!). Green share of vote massively up, and Andrew Cross came within 34 votes of getting Warndon South, a “development ward” which he’s been working incredibly hard.

Green Party tweet pic

Green Party printing

Bloody printer/duplicator/thingy!

First 2000 sheets went through, at 100 pages a minute, without any problems. Then, without changing stencil,or ink, or anything except re-loading wiith more of the same paper, the next 2000 sheets produced nearly a hundred times I had to fish out bent or folded or misaligned or jammed sheets, even at the reduced speed of 60ppm.. I’ve turned it off … will attempt the final 1000 sheets at teatime.

Tomorrow will see doing the reverse side of all 5000, at this rate to be accompanied by multiple screams of rage and frustration …

(later)

Fortunately, the teatime batch went through with only one faulty page! I have no idea what the problem was … fingers crossed for tomorrow’s lot. In general, it’s something I’m happy to do, as leaflet distribution and door-knocking are not possible for me, but there are occasnally frustrating episodes!