It's been a pretty amazing few months. Lots of door knocking, talking to people, getting out and about, and doing battle with the dreaded draft excluder letter boxes that shred your knuckles as soon as look at you.
Finally Judgement Day arrived. May 3rd. Election Day.
It started early: and not auspiciously. In heavy drizzle worthy of a special affect from Lord of the Rings, Michele and I started leafleting at 5am, along with three other hardy volunteers. I ‘entertained’ Michele (I use the word loosely) with appropriate songs adapted to the occasion: It’s Raining Votes (hallelujah); Five Minutes (Stranglers obviously a must on such an important day); Break on Through; and She Does It Right (though perhaps Dr Feelgood should have been renamed Dr Feeldamp in light of the rubbish weather).
Two and a half hours - and two additional jumpers later -breakfast on the Cowley Road.
The hopes of a quiet hour or two in a darkened room were destroyed by the Human Dynamo that is Harry our Organiser who had us getting out the vote from 10am. Harry is relentlessly cheery and quite, quite brilliant. He is also a sadist with no time for the infirmities or whining of candidates (or at least me). Good for him!
As we tramped the streets, Peter discovered new places he’d never realised existed. We found houses with so many posters from so many different parties that it was difficult to see any glass at all.
By mid afternoon, the temperature was rising – psychologically rather than literally on what felt like November not May. Up and down the hills of St Clements. (I never realised Oxford was so hilly till starting this campaigning lark.) Amounts of exercise I’ve not seen in years were compensated for by eating gloriously calorie packed donuts (thanks, Kate, for supplying the food of champions!).
Into the evening.
The arrival of Labour Legends to help out – Oscar, Justin, Ray, Colin, Scott, Ed. The energy of running round the ward. The delight of discovering the number of red heads who are also Reds.
And then the tranquillity of a last walk round the streets of St Clements as the polls closed with my long suffering hubby.
We arrived at the Town Hall at 11.15. The energy in the room was like nothing I’ve experienced. So much excitement. So many friends to say hello to. The dawning realisation that I might, actually, have won. (I say ‘dawning realisation’ - Kate my counting agent kept walking past and squeezing my arm which I assumed was a positive signal. Of course, she might just have been drawing attention to the new flab on my arms from eating all those donuts.)
And then the result.
Wow! Shocked, overwhelmed, excited. Becoming a councillor rather than a candidate. I'm not sure the media interviews were encouraging for the electorate as I burbled on like Gwynneth Paltrow on a bad day.
And now the real work begins. It is a humbling experience to be elected and I hope I can repay the trust that people have shown in me.
I’m definitely going to do my very, very best.