It’s not quite the neighbourly drinks I was envisaging – but it will certainly do. The wife and I are in attendance, with a torch and a bottle of Gavi (that’s a given), but the only neighbour is the Maine Coon from two doors down. We are obliging with a bit of house sitting and pet care, and taking the opportunity to catch up on a some post, and a bit of escapism – which strangely can be achieved from viewing the evening news on a slightly different TV set.
I intended to take the opportunity to update the blog, but the text you are reading now will have to wait. The first pieces of mail off the deck are our Postal Voting forms, nestling on a bed of fliers, tri-folds, and various poorly formatted news letters from candidates for the Local Council Elections. I had seen the steadily growing pile of junk mail accumulating by the front door, and had tried to ignore it. But now it was staring me in the face. That ‘District lot’ were of course going through their election campaigns whilst I sit here all smug and uncontested. It was clear, however, that one of these faces staring back at me from poorly framed, over exposed photos next to fly tipping sites and potholes that they were pledging to “clamp down on” was going be my nemesis for the coming months and years.
I have to give to them (or one of them at least), they had really gone to town on the PR. One fellow had provided an unsolicited flier, campaign posters (large and small), news letters, a glossy brochure, and a hand written letter clearly inspired by a doorstep discussion the week before with the wife. The volume of paper would suggest that green issues and sustainability were not particularly high up his agenda, but you had to admire the relentless effort, and dedication to his core messaging. As I comprehended the election campaign expense return this man had ahead of him, I started to feel pangs of sympathy; but I soon got a grip of myself.
From the teachings Sun Tzu, I knew I had to lay plans. I had to learn and master my enemy. What started as some casual house sitting, now feels like a remote war room where I can study the volume of material available to me – your relentless mail drops will be your undoing my friend (insert evil laughter). I recharge my glass, and eye up the neighbour’s garden room as a potential operations hub. I think my WiFi signal will be strong enough, and I can get a 1:25,000 OS Map of the parish on the back wall. It is evident that the Gavi and remanence of joss stick vapour is getting to my head (a familiar and pleasant odour that I’d experienced before when visiting two doors down).
With a decisive cross, my vote is cast. A short, torch lit walk home clears my head, with a diversion via the postbox having the added benefit of diverting us away from the pub. Good luck to all involved in the Local Elections, but be assured: we may be able to find common ground on the fly tipping and potholes, but I’ve noted your suspicious silence on planning policy and bin collections – the Parish are watching you.