Saturday, 6 April 2013

Greg Clark MP, Dan Hannan MEP and the Elephant Man

This time yesterday I was looking forward to a busy and well choreographed day of membership building, political and fund raising events, with two senior and highly regarded politicians touring two of our three Association.

The first event was Dan Hannan MEP at the Rose & Crown in Tonbridge, for a Meet the Members session. About forty had booked to hear him speak. This was the second of Dan's five campaign stops today. He was to be in Ashford for a breakfast meeting, then Tonbridge for coffee, Aylesford for Lunch, Sittingbourne for Afternoon Tea and Thanet for dinner. Oh, the glamour of being an MEP! 

Immediately after the Tonbridge event, he would be leaving for Wealden Hall in Larkfield (within the Chatham & Aylesford Association) for a pub lunch (Chilli con Carne or Sausage and Mash - who says the Tories are all Champagne and Caviar?)  This event was particularly interesting for me as half of those attending were non members, who have never previously supported the Party financially.  We had written to 200 local residents who had returned Tracey Crouch's latest Residents' Survey and had indicated support for her vote in favour of an EU Referendum. Much to my surprise, about 10% responded and bought tickets for the lunch.

Co-terminus with this was another event at Kings Hill at a neighbourhood Thai Restaurant, the Thai Moom. Here, 25 supporters were gathered for Thai food and to hear Greg Clark MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.  This was a new venture - we had invited 500 pledges to join the Conservative Party with an incentive of a complimentary ticket to lunch if they did so. To be honest, this was not quite the success I had hoped.  About 12 new members signed-up, our target was 30, and we have had to bus-in a few additional Officers to make up the numbers. I am a great believer in trying new approaches, some work, others do not, but you don't go anywhere if you stand still. Having said that, 12 new members are very welcome !

That was the plan, but unfortunately, about mid afternoon yesterday my jaw started to ache and by 7pm my face was swelling. I phoned the out of hours dentist, who was closing 5 minutes later, but suggested I took pain killers and called back at 8.30am today.  By this morning, I resembled the Elephant Man. After poking and prodding, a very nice dentist told me that I had a large abscess, and before anything could be done to cure the cause, I would need to get the infection under control. I now have two lots of antibiotics - one of which looks like a horse tranquilliser.  Both she, and the pharmacist, were at pains to tell me that I must take food before the medicine and on no account must I drink alcohol, either whilst taking the tablets, or for a week afterwards !  A quick check on Wikipedia spelt it out in spades. "<3% of patients who continued to drink alcohol whilst taking this medication suffered from brain lesions, renal failure and paralysis of the central nervous system."  Seems a bit drastic for a swollen cheek! No alcohol for me for two weeks then.

Finally, a big thank you to our Assistant Agent, Jon Botten, who found out last late evening that I was unwell and that he would need to keep the show on the road today. I have no doubt he will have done super job. I suspect I am a very demanding boss, but he copes brilliantly - so a thank you to Jon for all his help and support.

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