I went to sleep on Wednesday night listening to rain drumming on my roof and hoping that it would have eased by the morning. But I woke to my 5am alarm with the drumming still there. By 6am I was out delivering Good Morning leaflets. I discovered very quickly that my waterproof was merely showerproof and useless against the solidly heavy rain then falling. It was windproof enough that I didn't get too cold, so long as I kept moving.
Back at home I peeled off my no-longer-waterproof, and then changed my saturated clothes for dry ones. Plan A was for me and Tony to vote together with Charles, before Tony took him off to school and I took up my telling shift at the local polling station. However, Charles was uncooperative about being ready in time, so after breakfast I just went straight to the polling station, leaving Tony with the school run.
Telling is probably my favourite part of election campaigning, because it's the one time for cross-party co-operation. Most local activists regardless of party are there because they care about their local community and it's usually possible to have friendly conversations in between asking voters nicely for their numbers. We had a friendly person in charge of the polling station too, who at one point was explaining in detail how they make voting accessible to blind people.
The rain had stopped, thankfully, but it was still very cold sitting outside. (The other thing I normally like about telling is the chance to sit outdoors in the nice May sunshine ... not so this year!) After my shift I voted and then went home to try to warm up. Two hot drinks later, and a third set of clothes (more layers), I felt able to face my next telling shift, over in a different ward. I packed a blanket this time but was relieved to discover that the new polling station had a large porch area and the party political people were allowed to sit in it.
Even so, after this shift I opted for a hot takeaway lunch and then needed some time in the warm at the committee room before I could face going outside again. Eventually I went out for a round of knocking up, but in my own knocked-up condition needed to sit down three times on the way around. So after that I alternated my time between telling and resting at the committee room until I ran out of steam about 8:30pm. My last telling shift was shared with an amazing lovely lady, who had clearly lived in the area for years, greeted half the voters walking in by name and in between times told me anecdotes about her extended family and gave me lots of well-meant encouragement for my pregnancy. (There was also the highlight of seeing angua
on her way in to vote, and to catch up a bit on her way out.)
Back at home, Charles had been allowed to stay up to say goodnight to me, and then Tony & I vegged in front of Goldeneye for the rest of the evening. I had forgotten how much I like the film, especially the tank sequence. Things I hadn't noticed before were the rubbishness of the incidental music apart from the big theme tune, and the last line which sounds rather more sinister these days than it did in the late 1990s: "Why don't you two debrief each other in Guantanamo?"
As for the results, the LibDems had lost 3 of the 7 seats they were defending, and gained none. The Labour party gained the one Green seat being defended, and the other Green councillor (not up for re-election until 2014) announced his defection to Labour on the morning of polling day
. The LibDems retain control of Cambridge City Council for the next two years, with the Mayor's casting vote. (For more details, see Phil Rodgers' excellent political/data visualisation blog posts on vote swings
, vote shares
and the new balance of power on the council
Overall, I did much better at pacing myself throughout the campaign than I managed last year
, and I knew better than to even try to go to the count. This year was also immensely better than last in that I didn't have to authorise a cat being put to sleep 36 hours after close of polls