Sunday, April 17, 2005

Watercress womanI'm back in the land of the watercress.

I would explain, but either it'll be too complicated, or it will simply be not worth it.

So anyway, after a couple of hours of rain, and occasional rectangular and rhomboid flashes of blue and orange, I'm here once again. And isn't it strange, that of the many placards ensconced safely behind the property line, all advertising various political parties, there was no hint of red anywhere? Admittedly there was no hint of green, or purple, or grey, or puce, or taupe, or beige, or whatever the hell other parties there are.

What does the prevalence of roadside campaigning signs suggest about the current state of politics? That the only two parties in consideration are the Tories and the Lib-Dems, with the Tories having a slightly higher frequency. So am I to take it that the population has already spoken and the Tories will win? And then I notice the way that the banners and boards only appear in one of two situations: on the edge of a field, or on the neat fences and immaculately trimmed hedges of tiresomely precise gardens. Which leads to two things.

The first is that the roads round here, and over towards there, feature a large proportion of countryside to town. So one farmer putting signs at every corner can make a very long statement, whereas eight foot between walls, trees, and for sale signs doesn't last long at 40.

The second is that it takes a certain type of person to declare their own political beliefs for public inspection. Farmers are farmers, and most others who pass won't know whose field is which. And given that the area now occupied by a hoarding was last month occupied by a trailer advertising a golf course and a country hotel, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that they sold the space to the highest bidder.

The other type to declare their preference before being asked are just that type of person. If they're not already on the council, they write letters to it. They usually make disgusted Retired Majors of Tunbridge Wells sound tolerant, and almost nice by comparison. They police the world around them, and are usually resented for it. They are the type of person one always hopes will have some subversive flaw, or huge personal drama rumbling beneath the surface, if only stop their lives being so unrelentingly dull.

Although that past comment about an unrelentingly dull life does rather suggest I ought to have something sitting a few feet from the front door, giving me something to back into before the dustbin. But I'm not sure they make a "I'm not sure. Not Blair. Not Howard. Lib-Dem maybe. Others mad. Do I have to vote?" poster. But as no-one has yet supplied me with one of those (maybe it's because I happened to not hear the canvassers' knock; I was cooking, and so didn't even get the chance to decide if I wanted to hide until they went away), I haven't got anything up.

When I was growing up, we did have a huge board backed banner for the Conservatives tied to the fence; we got back one day and found it there. Before the vandalism set in, it got taken down, placed in a corner of the garden and then donated to a good home (the town bonfire). The really stupid thing is I think both my parents voted Conservative at that election, and had they been asked probably would have had problems saying no to putting a banner on the fence (having problems saying no is a family trait). But whoever erected it didn't ask. They clambered over our garden and broke off part of the rhododendron. Therefore sod-off.

And what does it say about the country's political structure that people representing the main fulcrum of power are treated like Jehovah's Witnesses (actually that's a lie; we talk to Jehovah's Witnesses, and if you do it for too long, they never ever come back, whereas political workers just think they've nearly cracked you).

Somehow this have become longer than I expected; there is more to come, but I have to do other things now. Like try and guess where I'm supposed to be tomorrow at 9 am. Things suddenly shifted on Friday, and Monday got organised differently, so I have to be somewhere different in the morning. Unfortunately, she-who-will-remain-nameless-except-for-some-very-rude-names organised it. I may well have previously ranted about her. Anyway, she was supposed to email the details to me. She took my email address, for about the thirteenth time, even though she's used it in the past. She was supposed to email it. She uses email about as well as her colleague (who wrote the contents of her computer screen down on paper, and then posted it via the stamp-using method). Come quarter to five on Friday, and there's still no email. I ring her office. Automated message. Automated message using the word "Hellaby". I check the number. 6 digits, all right, therefore it should be pretty local. I'm not sure I know where Hellaby is, but I'm fairly sure it's not in the next valley over.

The automated message is one of those "Press five for assisted suicide" things. I press the desired option (I use the term desire loosely). I get an automated message. The same one as I got when I first rang. I try different options. All cycle back to the beginning. Oh great, their phones are buggered.

I email again, trying to raise a response. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn. These bloody people and their team networking meetings on Friday afternoons (for those less versed in euphemistic jargon, read: the office has adjourned to the pub next door).

I go away for the weekend. I get back. I check that email account. I check all my others, just in case they have a personal address. Nothing. Nothing on either phone. My vague hope that they might have used their brains and sent stuff to my home address is woefully optimistic. Well, they have sent stuff to my home address, but it's stuff singing their praises (um, guys, you might want to find a way to make other people do that for you).

So I'm going to have a fun morning of driving vaguely in the right direction, and hoping that someone gets in early. Expect a very long rant about how sodding cold standing round on street corners is on wet April mornings tomorrow.

Oh, and I saw some dolphins. More details soon. Once again bed beckons. Well, lies prostrate in a thoroughly unflattering manner.

Oh two, go and cheer up [suddenly realises part of earlier comment which might be misinterpreted. Oh well] him of InAcFa. I'm sure he only posted it to make me feel bad about the wingmirror thing. But then as I have 3rd party, fire and theft (A. Does rust burn? B. Yeah, like they could get it started. Are thieves prepared to bump-start?) on a car where my partial no-claims discount is worth more than the car itself...

Which reminds me that the passenger door lock has developed a habit of unlocking itself. Not that it matters much, as there's nothing worth nicking, except possibly the fossilised Fruit Pastilles. They could try nicking the radio, but as it hasn't worked for since before I owned the car, it might not be worth their effort. It also doesn't do FM, let alone RDS and digital. But then the clock beside it has hands and ticks, which probably dates it a bit.

I mock my car, but I like it really (other than the condensation, dodgy electrics and the mould). It's fun to drive, and I don't have to worry too much about it. And shiny silver Mercedes tend to give it a wider berth than they give each other. It's the pre-existing dents and dangling trim that do it (if he's done it once...). But even so, I think I might be slightly annoyed if I came out one day to find my car in the same predicament as Mr InAcFa's.

Oh yes: bed.

"Twee is not enough". Have I found the new tagline?

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