Jaqui's Daily Blog

In Which I Do My Civic Duty

I walk to the Polling Station, intent upon doing my Civic Duty.

 

I have chosen to make my sortie at the exact time pupils from the local comprehensive school have decamped for the day which means that every few minutes a young cyclist hell-bent on death and destruction, swoops by me, exceedingly close. Whose death and destruction we are talking about here is anyone’s guess. I give a moment’s consideration to the fact that nobody in authority ever seeks to impose the laws about riding on the pavements - but, you know, it’s such a very beautiful day that this is not the time to talk politics...

 

Mr B is not accompanying me, having already smugly cast his vote by post. At the last election, regular readers may (or, most probably, may not) recall, Mr B drove to the polling station astride his mobility scooter but had an unfortunate encounter with a wall when emerging from the lift. The scooter came out of the encounter rather worse for wear and certainly more damaged than the wall. I referred to it as “the cost of democracy” and applied for a postal vote on his behalf the minute we arrived home.

 

Being alone on my walk to the polling station means we can’t have our customary discussion / debate / argument about whether we should share with each other for whom we will be voting. Mr B says there should be no secrets between husband and wife (he is nosy like that) while I am firm in my belief that my vote should remain strictly between me and the ballot box. That is why, I tell him, it is called a secret ballot. Mr B always harrumphs a bit then changes the subject. 

 

I contemplate the stalwart souls who fought for Votes for Women, my memory having been prodded by recent news coverage of the statue erected to Millicent Fawcett. This wholly worthy train of thought is then rail-roaded by that scene from Mary Poppins flashing into my head. You know the one I mean, where Glynis Johns removes her Votes for Women sash to tie it on the end of the kite crafted by her husband, watched by the couple’s two children, delighted that they can now, as a family “go, fly a kite!”

 

I sing “Let’s go fly a kite!” as I trot along, only dropping my voice to a whisper as the next gang of school children, some on foot, some on bikes, overtake me. I have turned my back on five beds which need to be made up at home, in preparation for a May Bank Holiday visit by my (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys and their parents. This task would be daunting enough but has been made more so by the fact that the double bed in the front bedroom is strewn with photograph albums (required for my Secret Project - of which more in a future Blog) while one of the twin beds in the smallest bedroom has been used as a kind of dumping ground for everything that hasn’t so far been found a Place Of Its Own. It is doubtless easy to understand why I didn’t find too much difficulty in tearing myself away, with or without thoughts of (i) Millicent Fawcett and (ii) Glynis Johns to spur me on.

 

When I was a Working Gal, many moons ago, elections meant long, long nights at the Count, feeding results to press and public, while trying to stay awake. My eldest granddaughter, Katie, was born the night before the 1997 General Election twenty-one years ago. I was up all night welcoming my new granddaughter into the world, then up all night the following night as the Election Results rolled in. I was so tired that I was beyond sense and sensibility, giggling at even the silliest of comments. I drove home early in the morning, watching the sun rise on another day and thinking that life would never be the same again. Oh, no, nothing to do with the result of the General Election and everything to do with the amazing, mind-blowing realisation that I was a grandmother for the very first time. 

 

That baby who changed my life and set me off on the path to grandmotherhood will also be with us on Saturday. We will have a house-full and it will be SUCH fun. I doubt we will talk about politics. Far more likely I’ll be thinking up activities for all ages, from five (nearly six) year old Morgan right up to Mr B and everyone in between.

 

We could even, perhaps, go fly a kite?

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Latest comments

Today | 08:25

Beautiful piece. Thank you. Sally

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30.08 | 19:32

P.s. I absolutely adored Gipsy Tart, and, yes, my son has his work cut out!!

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30.08 | 19:26

I too went to school in Kent where my Aunt worked as a dinner-lady. I got seconds sometimes thirds of my favourite pud, the said Gipsy Tart. My son’s a dentist!

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21.08 | 21:28

Also, Anne always walked the long way home after Rangers so that I didn't have to walk alone down that lane in the dark. I've never forgotten that kindness...

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