Friday 6th May 2005

With Friday comes my weekly blog entry. Sometimes, I consider that I should keep my blogging to this one day a week and include a detailed roundup of all the events in my week. While this was not be difficult to achieve, I feel the ability to record any moment in my life, which I deem appropriate or rather news worthy, gives for a much more entertaining blog. Friday is my favourite day of the week and in the evening I have the first opportunity to take stock of the working week, look forward to the weekend and make plans for the coming few weeks.

My mobile is never on during the course of my working day. Working on a help desk, answering calls to a 0800 number means I have little time to take my own personal calls. I may switch it on during the lunch hour to check if have messages, but generally I switch it on at 6pm, as I leave the office and get into my car. Most of the tine, there are no texts coming through and no voicemails waiting. Yesterday, Thursday evening was different. As I got to the exit and main road, my phone, now in my top right breast pocket, vibrated. First it was a voicemail, so I stopped the car, listened to the first few minutes of the message and killed the call. Then, back to the driving, heading home. My phone vibrated again, this time it was a text message. Completed unexpected, it was from the one person who has been on my mind more than anyone else. Yet another appearance on Murdoch’s flagship News channel was scheduled for this evening at 7pm. No problem, I would be easily able to cast my vote and be back in time to catch the latest from Santa Barbara. Seconds later, I got another text message, sent earlier that afternoon. The appearance had been moved to 6.45pm. This was going to be tight. I put my foot down, thinking of the most suitable reply to the original message, as I sped across from the lavish Berkshire countryside into the deep Chiltern hills. The clock was ticking. I needed to get home, collect my vote notices and then walk over to the polling station for my ward. Then rush back in time to catch Sky News. As I left the house and walked up the road, I checked my watch, it was coming up to 6.30pm and I would have to rush to get back in time. Some among you may have opted to go and carry out your democratic right, your civic duty later in the evening. This evening had been planned for months in advanced. I was not going to let myself or my dear Grandfather down. So, walked at a brisk pace to the polling station which is only 5 minutes away. Not sure why some people would decide to drive there, there is no parking and major roadworks on the main road. For my first true taste of democracy this was not the most memorable. At the entrance, an lady in the autumn of her hears, checked and recorded my number on the electoral roll. Then, I entered this local Community Centre. The queue was surprising long, with around half a dozen people ahead of me, and only three voting booths erected in the middle of the main stage. This is it, I thought to myself, as I watched the machinery of the people power hard at work ahead of me. A system was clearly in place and executed with precision. The first lady, took your voting cards, noted your number and issued the parliamentary voting paper, passing this along to the next lady. She then noted down the my electoral number on what like a raffle ticket booklet. My local council ballot paper was then issued and both papers passed onto to a middle aged man, who had the fantastic job of operating a stapler. Then, the papers were passed onto me, with my polling cards tossed onto a back table, which had by this time, a mountain of other cards. These were the most important documents that I had in my hand, as I headed towards the only voting booth that was free. In the middle, a small blunt pencil had been placed and I quickly marked a large cross on both papers, folded them and placed them into the ballot box. This final act, was perhaps the most satisfying of all. Putting to rest, four weeks of strained campaigning, which had seen the news services converted into this industrial strength election organ grinders. Enough, I had other things on my mind, as I left the building, rushing back towards home. As I approached my housing estate (that does not sound right, perhaps my residential neighborhood) my mind came to the realisation that perhaps I had missed this appearance and not to fret, for there would be plenty more before the case was laid to rest. The sun was shining brightly for the final burst of sunshine for the day, as I headed back. I got in, switching on the television, checking the time it was 6.46pm, I had made it just in time. Watching my television light up with your face, in mid flow responding to some tough questions from the news presenter. Comfortable under pressure, the professional performance always comes through with something positive to give back. Then before I had time to sit down, they news agenda changed to another story, sports, if my memory serves me correctly. The moment was gone. I had to get in touch, let them know they had done a good job, but also confirm that I had been able to catch the last glimpsing moments of them on satellite. Wish there was more I could do, than be a mere spectator watching from a far!

I know there is a long tradition to always rebel against the town of your birth. Not in the sense you hold a great grudge against the place, but just the fact that it is boring, there is nothing to do. Whenever you do go out, it is the same places and the same old faces. As my blog entry from Easter 2003, April 20th to be exact, clearly demonstrates. Thankfully, that will all soon come to an end. When I read through our local free paper, The Star, I was intrigued to discover a one page article about the redevelopment of the town centre. This programme has only just entered the first phase, but the plans are breathtaking. If all dreams become a reality and the artist impressions and computer generated images come close to match the bricks and mortar that is laid, Wycombe, my Wycombe will be the place to go and be seen. Watch this space, this is not going to be an overnight miracle, but I look forward to the day, when I say I am from High Wycombe, people sit up, take notice and actually want to visit the place. Oh, by the way, for pure reference purposes, here is the Google Map of my home town.

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