Monday, 5 May 2008

Electrical Form.........

Last Thursday (as Brits will know) was Local Councils Election day in England. Before you switch off this is not a political post, it just brought back memories of the years I was involved the process of delivering and collecting Electoral Registration forms, on which the British public register their entitlement to vote, and the funny things that happened.

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!


Bindi (Beautiful World) gave me this beautiful award which was created by First Suzanne from My Rosecottage Studio who said: "I want you to list at least two things about yourself that you love. and take this award..."

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.


ciara said...

you HAVE to register to vote?? or is it just a form saying who in the household can vote? here, you register if you want, but if you don't want to it's no big deal. i did register and vote this year. just got my sample ballot in the mail the other day.

you know what's great about you all doing this job? you all found a way to make it family fun. :)

btw i didn't realize robbie williams sang the song she's the one

ok, two things i like about myself...well, you know that i LOVE being a scorpio. i mean, really, who wouldn't. LOL one thing i also really love about myself is that i'm very open-minded. i like to see everything from every direction and make a decision from that.

Flowerpot said...

that's a difficult one Ak, given how I feel this morning. But I guess if I had to really push myself - which I am doing - I would say that I am thoughtful and sensitive. This is not necessarily a good thing for me but it is for my friends!

buffalodickdy said...

My wife has been involved at a township level working the elections... She has some stories too!

CG said...

Great post!

I love the way I feel about animals...that enriches my life.

I love the fact that I have a sense of humour.

Akelamalu said...

Ciara we have to fill in an electoral register form every year stating who in the household is eligible to vote - it is mandatory. Yes it was a good thing to do as a family and the boys got to earn some money. Being a Scorpio and being open minded are two things about yourself that you quite rightly should like. :)

Thoughtful and sensitive are lovely traits in a person Flowerpot x

You could blog about them Buff people love reading about things like that!

Two nice things to love about yourself CG x

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

of course the older ones are the nicest. i could have told you that! ha ha ha

smiles, bee

the teach said...

Akelamalu, I'd love to take this award! Because we have become friends I think... Thanks for commenting on my blog this morning. And I'd like to pass it on to others if that's all right. :D

Akelamalu said...

You are so right Beexx

Of course you can take the award and share it Teach, I too think we have become friends. xx

S said...

Hi Akelamalu
Thank you for asking. I suppose I am fine. I just don't like to blog when I get in a pondering mood.

I just like to share the fun parts.
I am working a lot as well. Trying to get my priorities together.....

Tammy said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and wishing me a happy blogoversay. Misty is such a sweetheart isn't she. :o)

storyteller said...

Interesting and informative post! I love it when I learn things I didn’t know so thanks for sharing … and thanks for passing along this lovely award!!! Let’s see … two things I love about myself: my unbridled optimism and enthusiasm for life top the list … followed by my ability to teach myself what I need to know when I need to know it … asking for help when needed.
Hugs and blessings,

Akelamalu said...

Good to hear you're OK Susie x

Thanks for stopping by Tammy and yes, Misty is a doll. x

Glad you enjoyed it Storyteller and all those are admirable qualities. :)

Dianne said...

those form collecting days sound like great fun and LOL at gran putting rum in her coffee - I'm known to do that on the weekends.

that award is beautiful and I too would like to share it with some folks

My 2 things are:
I respect all creatures - 2 legs, 4 legs, tentacles, whatever ... they all count to me.
I always try to approach people and situations from the perspective of - how I would feel if I was them, in their place. I guess I just did a very long winded way to say I'm empathetic.

OK - thing I don't like so much about me - I'm long winded! ;)

Richard said...

I enjoyed your post today about how voter registration is done in England. I went to our polling place today to make sure I could find it tomorrow. We have our Democratic primary in North Carolina on Tuesday.

We can sign up here when we get our driver's license or on line.

It's a brave new world technologically speaking.

Too bad all our high tech stuff doesn't improve the quality of our government.


James Goodman, Author said...

Hmmm, two things... I love that I've been able to keep an open mind to the lifestyles and beliefs of others even when surrounding by closed minds trying to sway me to their way of thinking.

And I love that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I'm still happiest when I'm spending time with my family.

James Goodman, Author said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike M said...

Congrads on the award!!! You are very deserving!

Travis said...

I'll never understand people who don't take seriously the census and the right to vote, and then complain about the state of government.

Smalltown RN said...

My sister and her hubby use to do the numeration for Statistics Canada..and it would be the same thing...oh the stories she would tell us....

Two things I love about determination....and compassion for others.....

lettuce said...

and not only Local elections. We now have Boris as Mayor of London


maybe he will surprise us? and not in a bad way? is it possible?

Ali said...

Love your story. It never ceases to amaze me how rude some people can be though.

Asking all your commentors to write 2 things they love about themselves is a great idea too, so in the interests of not being a party pooper!!!
1. I love that I learnt many years ago to stand up for myself when necessary.
2. I love that I helped to mould my children into wonderful, caring human beings. The world is full of them if you take the time to look, but can always do with more.

cathy said...

I love my ability to fit in anywhere with anyone.

I love my ability to pick up new things easily.

This is a nice idea I'm more used to examining my faults. Thanks.

Julia Smith said...

I agree with Smalltown RN - in Canada it's the census forms that sound like your electoral forms. It's against the law not to fill them out. My gram, of all people, was always suspicious of having to fill them out ('What do they want to know all that for?') but I made her fill it in, anyway.

Congrats on that beautiful award, Akelamalu - I'll take it proudly, but once again I have to put it on hold as I have a few other things I have to post, first. I'll let you know when it goes up.

Now, two wonderful things about me...gosh, where do I start, there are so many...

I have a huge sense of humor and love to laugh.

I'm always willing to give someone who needs to talk a few minutes of my time. And I really listen. An easy gift to give and it makes people feel SO much better.

Akelamalu said...

Empathy is a fine quality CG and you're not long-winded at all :)

Ah if only technology did improve the government Richard - we can dream!

It's great that you love spending time with your family James and keeping an open mind isn't always easy.

Thanks Mike, nice to see you back. :)

My sentiments entirely Trav!

I can just imagine the stories RN. Compassion is a wonderful thing to have.

Oh yes, you have Boris now Lettie, good luck ;)

Rudeness is unforgivable isn't it Ali? Yes we have a great responsibility when bringing up our children - hopefully we did a good job. :)

I think most of us are guilty of just examining our faults and not our qualities Cathy.

Time is our most precious commodity Julia so to give of it is the nicest thing you can do. x

Dumdad said...

Interesting post, as usual.

And another well-deserved award!

bindhiya said...

Dear Akelamalu,
Thanks for sharing those beautiful memories..
I have done registering people to vote, hire people to work (help people to fill electoral form), training, payroll and administration... this post bringing so much memories back... I had a wonderful time..
Thanks for accepting the award.. You did beautifully...
Have a beautiful day!
♥ & ((hugs))

Akelamalu said...

Thank you Dumdad :)

It can be fun Bindi, can't it? x

girl with the mask said...

Two things? Urm, okay...
1. I love that I nearly always find the humour in a situation that could otherwise be unbearable

2. I love that I stand up for what I believe in, even when it is not easy.

Oooooh, suddenly I really, really love myself! I am ace!

david mcmahon said...

I vote for you!

CrazyCath said...

Hi Akela! Great post. I have one little story from last year (it isn't always the parents...!) My son turned 18 last year but received a polling card for a local election months before his 18th! (I had ticked that he would be 18 in 2007 because he was.)When I pointed it out and said he wouldn't be voting obviously, I was told if he had a voting card then he could! :-/ He didn't.

Now 2 things about myself that I like...
1. I am honest - sometimes TOO honest but you will never catch me lying.
2. I am a loyal, empathic and trustworthy friend.

Where are your two? I presume they are at Bindi's? I'll have to go look.
Well deserved award and thanks for passing it on.

Sandi McBride said...

I don't know, I think it's a great way for the family to spend a Sunday together. I remember when we lived in Beaconsfield, (Bucks) having to pay the TV License and keeping it showing by the set all the time. I still have the last one, I keep it displayed by the set as any Loyal Subject of the Queen should (okay, so I'm only a Loyal Subject in my heart, it is only because I had to be with my mother when I was born is all...)
Two things I love about myself?
I love that I am capable of being a good friend and handy shoulder to cry on (shoulder has been a bit soggy this year, too)
and 2. I love that I'm so much like my mother...while others might complain that one day they looked in the mirror and saw their mother staring back at them, I in fact love that there is so much of my mother in me. I hope to grow up to be half the woman she was!
loved this post...

Momma said...

Akela -

This was a fascinating post, and it sounds like it was an interesting little diversion (to say the least) for you and the family.

I actually read this a few days ago and got interrupted (of course) before I could respond. David's POD selection reminded me.

Peace - D

Quilldancer said...

Here we do the registering when we get our driver's license. Since most people drive, it seems to work.

:-Daryl said...

David sent me... good post .. and lovely award..

2 things about me ..

1) well I was going to pinch the award and give it to CrazyCath but I see she's already been and done

2) I try always to be honest but if I cant I try to fess up as soon as possible


Ron said...

GREAT post, Akelamalu!

What a lovely memory!

WOW...I can't believe the delivery and collection is done by HAND!

Congrats on your award, dear lady...and is much deserved!

Ok...2 things I love about myself?

Humor and Energy.

P.S. I love how you've added your awards to a slide show...very cool!

Akelamalu said...

That's fabulous that you've discovered you love yourself GIM xx

Aw shucks David, thank you. :)

No, not ALWAYS the parents Cath especially when the offspring is almost of age but 2 year olds??? Love your reasons to love yourself and yes I put mine in Bindi's comments. :)

LOL about the TV licence, I remember my parents doing the same thing Sandi! How lovely that you are proud to be turning out like your Mum. x

Thanks for coming back to it Momma x

That's a good idea quilldancer, thanks for dropping by. :)

Fessing up is a great quality Daryl, so many people would rather see someone else take the blame these days. :(

They're not delivered or collected by hand anymore Ron but it was fun while it lasted! Humour and Energy are definitely two things to love about yourself. I had to do something with the awards - I was running out of sidebar ((wink)) x

bigbikerbob said...

1. I think i like myself for telling things the way they are.
2. I think i like myself for managing to give up smoking and also lose 4st-9lb all in 14 months.

Suzanne said...

Well...well...well. Look who's here. The painter who designed your award! And yes, well deserved! That goes for everyone here. I read all the comments and feel WONDERFUL! Bindi asked me to stop by and I'm glad she did because it's amazing how a little thing can blossom into this. I love your post and all the comments. And thank you all for accepting this award. It was given with so much thought and I'm so please to see it was recieved with even more.

Unfortunately, now that I've found all of you, I'm not leaving. I like it here!

XO Suze

Akelamalu said...

What an achievement Bikerbob losing all that weight and giving up smoking! You must be really proud of yourself and quite rightly!

Thanks for dropping in Suzanne and I do hope you will continue to visit me. :)

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