It's been a bit gloomy here in the Gipping Valley, with the sky a kind of leaden grey until about an hour ago. But now, at last, the sun has made an appearance, and the sound of birdsong can be heard as I sit outside the polling station here at Stowupland Village Hall.
Business is rather less than brisk, and one wonders whether or not we'll reach the 40% mark achieved in 2007. However, the voters seem friendly enough, a concept that might not be familiar to other candidates across the country (regardless of party...).
It is lonely though, as there is no sense that anyone else apart from Ros and I have even put in an appearance in a campaigning capacity. I did meet my Green opponent, Craig Theobald, who is the only candidate voting here today - I'm a postal voter in the ward and voted more than a fortnight ago - seemingly his only active participation since signing his nomination papers. He seemed nice enough, though.
The Labour candidate, Ron Snell, is a paper candidate, and I didn't really expect to see him - he'll probably be helping out in Stowmarket, where he lives and where Labour must harbour hopes of winning a seat - currently they hold none on Mid Suffolk. If only they'd run a full slate in any of the three Stowmarket wards...
It is the apparent absence of my Conservative opponent, and the incumbent, which puzzles me most. There certainly hadn't been any sign of her or her agent in Creeting St Peter - I know because I always visit my polling stations as a courtesy to the presiding officer and poll clerks who do so much to make our democracy work. I've not seen her in Stowupland either, although in fairness, she may yet be out and about. She certainly hasn't visited the polling station.
There is one mystery though - the man who has been sitting in the parked BMW watching the door of the polling station for the past half an hour or so. I assume that he's here to meet someone, but it's rather odd nonetheless...
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