For years, when MWM was working in local government he, I, the two boys and mother-in-law used to spend four, or more, consecutive Sundays delivering and collecting these forms. We would take a picnic lunch with us and either sit in the car or a nearby park for half an hour, depending on the weather, eating our sandwiches with a flask of coffee and juice for the boys, though they preferred a drop of their gran’s coffee because she put rum in it! It sounds a very boring thing to do on a Sunday but we had so many laughs believe me, especially when collecting the forms and reading some of the things people put on them. Lots of people had the forms ready, but there were always a hard core who would give any excuse not to return it – usually because they hadn’t a clue how to fill it in!
Quite often we would knock on a door asking for the form and the occupier would disappear to look for it and they could be heard shouting, to the other occupants, “Where’s that electrical form they delivered last week?” Or they would swear black was white that we hadn’t delivered one, we always had spares so that was no excuse for them not to fill one in. Other excuses were “the dog ate it/ the baby scribbled on it/ I can’t find it / I don’t want to bother”. None of these excuses were valid – it is against the law not to fill the electoral registration form in and you can be prosecuted for not doing so. Quite often we would just get them to give us the information and fill the form in for them so they just had to sign it, this would save us the trouble of going back there the week after. We had to get at least 80% of the forms back before we could get paid, the pay wasn’t too bad but it was hard work, but if you did this job you got to deliver the polling cards, which was really good pay for not too much work. As a joke we used to give MIL a wage packet with her share but showing deductions such a lunch, petrol etc so that the deductions just about cancelled out what she’d earned! Of course she did get her share, the boys got a little treat too and our share paid for the boys Christmas presents or went towards holidays.
There were three groups of people we collected from: the elderly who were the nicest people – either they always had the form ready, or they asked for your help to complete it with the offer of a cup of tea and a biscuit – though we never took them up on the offer, and we always made sure they saw our authorisation. The majority of people either had the form ready or needed help with filling it in. Then there were some really nasty people though who threatened us with physical violence if we didn’t leave them alone – no amount of money made it worth arguing with them so we put those down as no returns.
Every year when people received their polling cards there would be a spate of stories in the local newspapers saying “my two year old son has received a polling card – how stupid is that!” Oh yes, I so agree, it is totally stupid - on the part of the parent who listed two year old Johnny as over 18 on the registration form therefore eligible to vote! God give me strength!
Thank you Bindi for making me take the time to think about myself.
I love this sentiment so much I want everyone who comments on this post to please take the award but tell me in your comment "Two things you love about yourself" - it's not easy I know but please do it. You should love yourself if you expect others to and you're all wonderful in my book.