Local authorities often use their own employees to run polling stations during election days and to count votes once the polls have closed. This is because they can be sure that the staff will be available for training and are guaranteed time off from their real jobs, and because it’s easier to pay them as they’re already on the payroll.
Consequently, I have worked as a polling clerk (at the polling station) once and as a vote counter numerous times. Take it from me, the idea that you need to vote in pen to prevent people tampering with pencil votes isn’t just offensive, it’s laughable. Staff take the integrity of the process very seriously and would not condone or collude with vote tampering. Take a pen if you want, but there’s really no need.
Inspired by something I saw on facebook or elsewhere online, last year I put a glass jar on the mantelpiece, and every time something nice happened, I wrote it on a bit of paper and put the paper in the jar. Now it’s time to look back over the pieces of paper and see what I thought was worth writing down. Pulling them out of the jar randomly –
- 30/07/16 – Ghostbusters!
- 29/09/16 – the halal butcher gave me a massive bag of chicken offcuts for the cat and didn’t charge me
- 15/01/16 – client gave me a massive panettone
- 07/05/16 – weekend in York for my dad’s 70th birthday party
- 24/09/16 – bought a new piece of furniture from Ikea, assembled it myself, and then covered the top of it in plants
- 11/04/16 – swimming coach didn’t make a single correction to my butterfly technique (other than a reminder to point my toes) and when I asked why he wasn’t saying anything, he said he didn’t need to because I was doing it right
- 13/03/16 – lovely cuddle with the cat before getting out of bed (several more of these)
- 29/08/16- took the cat for a walk in the Queen’s Park and he scampered around in the grass while I read my book
- 01/12/16 – a client who has been quite difficult at times apologised for his behaviour and gave me a home-made curry
- 14/03/16 – managed 2 x 15m of full stroke butterfly
- 22/09/16 – allowed to bring the cat home after an overnight stay at the vet
- 01/09/16 – saw an exhibition of Royal fashion through the decades with my mum at Holyrood palace
- 30/08/16 – went through to Dunbar and spent time with my mum, her sister and brother in law, and his parents who are well into their 90s
- 08/04/16 – student finished placement and left a very thoughtful card and a positive evaluation
That’s a nice variety!
Anyone who has heard Wham!’s Ray of Sunshine knows that George Michael understood the joy that music can bring to people’s lives. I was a teenager in the 80s, and I was a Whamette. I loved other music too, particularly Queen, but Wham! were my teenage love band. I had my first slow dance with a boy to Careless Whisper.
Then Wham! came to a natural end, George went solo, and I stayed a fan. His voice is still the most beautiful voice I have ever heard. There’s a lot being written today about his gay activism, his generous donations to charity and to individuals in need, and, of course, his incredible talent. One day soon I’m sure I’ll be ready to think about all of those things, and to listen to the joyful songs – Club Tropicana, Outside, Amazing, Bad Boys, but for now, all I feel is grief and loss and sadness.