Posted in Family, Personal life, Writing

Not Written Off Yet

Rock-paper-scissors chart
Image via Wikipedia

Although it’s taken me a long time to label myself as a writer, writing has been at the core of all the jobs I have ever done – reporter, PR, marketeer.  But what I most enjoy writing – and reading – are letters.  Among my most precious possessions are airletters penned by my grandmother when, aged 8, I lived in America for a year.  (Her not-so-subtle parting gift to me was a writing case, so that I might write to her too.)  I cherish boxes of letters from old schoolfriends, received when I moved to Germany at the age of 14.

So I was terribly disappointed to discover last year that I’d missed by a few days the deadline to apply for a job writing letters for Steve Webb, our local MP, responding to his constituents’ enquiries and requests.  For a long-term supporter of the Lib Dems, what a dream job that would have been: getting paid for writing about issues that really mattered to society and playing a small but significant part in changing our nation for the better.

My disappointment was short-lived.  In the wake of the General Election, as the new coalition emerged, I decided I’d had a lucky escape.  I would not have relished responding to the wrath of the disillusioned masses.  I began to feel sorry for Steve Webb, even though he’d been elevated to Cabinet Minister. But I still couldn’t stop myself firing off a few letters to him expressing my dissatisfaction with some of the new government’s policies.

Then last week I had the chance to meet him.  He visited the village school to plant a tree donated by Morrisons and I was invited to take photos for the school.  My disenchantment quickly melted away.  He came across as a sympathetic, dedicated representative of our community with a genuine interest in our children.  Some of them will not be eligible to vote for another 14 years, so no cynical fishing for votes there. He may be a Cabinet Minister, but he gave himself no airs and graces.  No formal silver spade for him – he got stuck in and muddy.  And no cynical kissing of babies, either – instead he played “Rock, Paper, Scissors” with the Year 6 boys.

A little later, we spoke briefly and he asked me my name.

“Ah, yes, Debbie Young,” he smiled.  “France Lane.”

My goodness!  I thought.  A Cabinet minister knows where I live!  What stroppy message had I put in my letters to make my address stick in his mind? But really, that doesn’t matter now.  Next time there’s an election, I know who’ll be getting my vote.

(This post was originally published in Hawkesbury Upton Parish Magazine, April 2011)

Author:

English author of warm, witty novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries, set in the Cotswolds. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors and for the children's reading charity, Read for Good. Public speaker for the Type 1 Diabetes charity JDRF.

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