|The Weekly Ceremony of the Keys which precedes every Campaign Team Meeting|
Imagine the scene. It's 9.50am on a Monday morning, and five expensive cars are rushing to a
Slowly the team gather by the back door. The candidate, who is far too grand to park on the street, is always the first to arrive. By 10am we must resemble a group of naughty school boys outside the Head Masters study. Once we all gather, we go inside. We climb two flights of rickety bare stairs, trying to remember which ones have rotting boards. Half way up the second flight everyone eyes the wall of glowing luminescent fungus and invariably someone passes the "asbestos alley" joke. We then negotiate around and over several boxes of unsold raffle tickets and a pile of old In Touches, which appear to have been abandoned mid-flight.
By this time, Craig has reached the office door at the top of the stairs. For some odd reason, Gordon Williams is always directly behind. The rest of us spill down the stairwell, avoiding the broken stairs, unsold tickets, discarded newsletters and desperately trying not to inhale the poisonous spores being pumped out from the wall of death.
Out come the keys. The first key is inserted and turned one way and then the other. Then the next key, then the third. None work. The first key goes back into the lock and is rattled back and forth. By this time we begin to hear profanities. Gordon Williams starts peering over Craig's shoulder offering advice. Craig ignores him and continues to shake, rattle and cuss. Usually at this point some accusatory remark is thrown down the stairwell regarding the quality of the workers employed to fit the new doors. Key's still rattle. Gordon starts to look nervous. The troops get restless. At this stage I ask if anyone has remembered to buy the milk for the coffee. Everyone looks at their shoes hoping they don't have to go back down the stairs to the shop. Invariably the person at the back of the line offers to go (no doubt grateful to get away from the spores of death). Still keys rattle.
Finally, the locks clicks, the key turns, the door bursts open and in we go.
Once this campaign is over on 15 November we shall (apart from the candidate) be redundant, though I suspect we could offer ourselves as a well rehearsed pantomime troupe - thought with several more Dames than is necessary!