May. 26th, 2017 12:15 pm
hollymath: (Default)
I didn't really get a chance to catch my breath about the citizenship, because of the job interview appearing so quickly on its heels. Now that I've got the inevitable rejection out of the way, I'm starting to think a little more about it again.

I've been forgetting about it, or I've been at best excited that I have my passports back. I really underestimated how much I would hate being without them (plural because the expired one has my proof of Indefinite Leave to Remain in it, which is my proof I can work here and hopefully what keeps the border guards at Manchester Airport from being completely awful to me whenever I come back, so the expired passport is still an integral part of the deal).

Working on my book (I owe Kickstarter an update too). I am so stressed about it at this point, but Andrew's looking at what I have today and assures me it's not as bad as I feared and it's not as far from being done as I feared either.

And [personal profile] po8crg and [personal profile] haggis are taking me out for dinner tonight to celebrate my UK citizenship, so that should help make it seem a bit more real!
hollymath: (Default)
I didn't get the job. Boring details about that. )

Anyway, almost as soon as I got home from the interview, it was time to leave again. Part of me wanted to sleep for a week but I'd arranged to go to the theatre with James and Jennie and Other Holly back when I couldn't have known what a tiring week this was going to be, and the rest of me knew that I'd feel better once I got myself there.

And I did. We saw "The Play That Goes Wrong," which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about it. [personal profile] miss_s_b's review is here (very slight spoilers) which is lucky as I think I'm getting a migraine so should get off the computer before I could write one myself.

To hers I only need add that she was awesome for giving me a little impromptu audio description, which especially at the beginning of the play where the gags were all visual was very welcome because we were sitting way at the back and so I was doomed to hearing people laughing a lot and having absolutely no idea why, which wasn't exactly the mood-lifter I needed. I was worried someone would tell us off for Talking During the Performance but luckily no one did and it totally made the experience for me. There were lots more dialogue-based jokes later on and some of the phsyciality was stuff I could just about discern, but I still would have felt like I'd missed out on a lot if it weren't for my kind friends.

We were a pretty noisy audience eventually anyway, so maybe I needn't have worried. Some asshole to the left of us started shouting "funny" things (as opposed to actually funny things) almost right away, and continued to throughout the first half. And eventually, the po-faced actor/director-playing-the-inspector's tantrum included "Despite appearances tonight, this isn't a pantomime!" and I feel I earned all my British-citizen cred by being the first person (from what we could hear, anyway) to shout "Oh yes it is!"
hollymath: (Default)
And it's just as well I've got my passport and marriage certificate and stuff back, because I'm going to need them tomorrow because I've got a job interview.

For a job helping disabled people get jobs, so I think I'd be the best at it frankly, but we'll see.

Cue me finding this out at 4:30 this afternoon, it being at 11:10 tomorrow morning, and me wishing I could spend the rest of the evening looking for suitable clothes and identity documents and stuff (honestly, we get all our bills paperless if we can; it's hard to do this these days!).

And also having a big WI event to help with, starting in about half an hour, so I can't even a) properly devote myself to this or b) go to sleep, which is what after all this overwhelm I really want to do.
hollymath: (Default)
I owe Dreamwidth a much better post about this, but I also want everyone to know: today I found out my citizenship application had been approved and my passport and other important documents have been returned to me.

I'm not officially a citizen until I do the ceremony, which I should find out about in the next week or so. (While I continue to want no one there for that, I'm very happy to have as many people as want to and can, in a pub nearby waiting for me to be done with it.) But this is basically it. Done now. Until a few years ago, this would have made me indistinguishable from a person who's British because they're born in Britain. Our previous, immigrant-hating Home Secretary changed that, but it's still pretty good.

I am so grateful to all the people who backed my Kickstarter to make this application possible, to my friends who signed my application as references, to everyone who's told me that the UK is better for having me in it, and especially for Andrew who's into his second decade of tolerating the expense, stress and diminution of his own rights in his own country as the spouse of a foreigner. And that's even before the day-to-day horrors of me not letting him buy the hundred-quid six-CD set of one album that he doesn't like all that much anyway, and suchlike.
hollymath: (Default)
This morning, [personal profile] white_hart shared a quote from C.S. Lewis:
"If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things - praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts - not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds."
If we'd been much later, it'd have found Andrew and I on a tram home from a lovely night out.

One of Andrew's friends who lives in Australia was in Bury doing some work, and invited us out for dinner with him, his wife and the people they'd been working with all day, recording an audio drama for a podcast. It was a lot of fun, and it's always good to see Andrew enjoy himself in social situations, especially ones where people tried to guess his second-favorite Beatles album.

And because his friend was in Bury, we got a train to town and then a tram to Bury. Chatting idly along the way about how long it'd been since we'd been to Bury, having flashbacks at the tram stop that we used to use all the time when I first met Andrew, what kind of commute I'd have if I got a job I applied for, which would involve one of the tram stops along the way. On the way back, we were nearly half-asleep.

The tram went through Victoria station, right next to the entrance to the arena, about an hour before the bomb.

I went home and almost straight to bed. I already had an e-mail from my mom asking if I was all right, when I still thought this might have been a speaker blowing up or something that had spooked people. We were surprised she'd heard about it so quickly (if my parents knew how, I'm sure they'd set up a google alert for "incidents in the UK" and e-mail me about all of them, but barring that I have no idea how they manage).

I did not tell her I'd been on a tram going past there an hour before.

This morning I woke up to another e-mail from her asking if Andrew's family (the only other people she knows in the country) were okay, and it was all I could do not to tell her that I couldn't imagine any of them being at at an Ariana Grande concert.

No, those are for kids. I can't handle thinking of all the teenagers' parents today.

I woke up to other e-mails too, one from my old "blind teacher" who I hadn't heard from in years. People in North America had been fretting about us while we slept. FB and skype messages too, when I hadn't even thought I was logged into skype. By the time I read and could respond to them, the people who'd written them were asleep, hopefully not too worried about us.

One of those North Americans was awake, and upon hearing that we and ours are fine, said, "YEESH thank goodness yet it is still awful so be kind to yourselves PLEASE, eh?"

I hadn't thought of this as something I needed to be kind to myself about, but I replied to my friend, "Such a sad demographic to lose people from: the pictures being shared around social media of people who are still missing are of fourteen, fifteen year olds. I am having to be a bit careful around it actually for all the mentions of grieving parents, which inevitably remind me of my grieving parents saying no one's kids should die before them. I hope the strangers do no mind that my eyes are wet with tears for me as well as for them."

In his invariably lovely way, he said, "Of course that's what grieving is all about, dear Holly. My loss is your loss, your loss is mine. We're all in this together, though most of the time we don't see it. For you to think of your own family in this way shows a great respect for what other people are suffering with: connect us all together, connect you to me and me to you."


May. 22nd, 2017 09:38 am
hollymath: (Default)
Andrew wrote a book! Set during the second world war, it's a novel about Alan Turing, Aleister Crowley, Ian Fleming and Dennis Wheatley who combine math, magic and espionage in what ends up sounding like one of Wheatley's novels.

This sounds like the last kind of thing I would read normally, but I really enjoyed it! (And I'm not just saying that because sales will help pay our bills!)
hollymath: (Default)
I am never going to listen to you about whether something is transphobic.

There is no number of cis people saying "that's not transphobic" who will convince me.

Trans people are the best judge on what is harmful to them. And we as cis people are really not.

This point is also true for listening to white people on what's racist, or men on what's sexist, or monosexuals on what's biphobic...but today we're talking about transphobia because something got tweeted that a cis person said was skating too close to a slippery slope of transphobia and so of course the first thing that happened was a load of people I know to be cis mocked her and told her it definitely wasn't, why couldn't she take a joke (as if being a joke was proof it's not transphobic, because those are two circles that never overlap in a venn diagram, right?).

I have been assured by cis people that all kinds of things that hurt trans people are not transphobic. This is partly because most cis people don't know what transphobia is, but also because people in dominant social categories still think you have to be intending something in order for that thing to happen: if the reasons for doing something aren't transphobic, they think the thing cannot possibly be transphobic.

It doesn't work that way. Intention matters a lot less than impact, and since the impact of transphobia is (almost*) never on cis people, it doesn't matter how many of cis people laugh at you and tell you there is no way that thing is transphobic. We have no idea.

White people have no idea about racism. Men have no idea about sexism. Cis people tend to have no idea about transphobia. They don't have to, it's not as important to their survival, so they just don't.

* With a few exceptions like when cis butch-looking women get followed into ladies' rooms by cis men who think the women are trans.
hollymath: (bill and doctor)
Well, we'd had four weeks in a row of Doctor Who I liked or loved, so I suppose we were due a rubbish one but...that made me cry. And not in a good way.

And I'm also annoyed that I can't talk about why without saying it's a spoiler. )
hollymath: (postmark)
My mom spent $22 mailing me something I both asked and then told her not to. I thought I'd gotten it through to her.

The nice thing about my culture is that in the e-mail saying "thanks, they arrived" I can also say you really shouldn't have. (I perfected this kind of truth-telling when it wouldn't be treated as such, when I was a teenager.)

But I guess the bad thing is that when I said "oh please don't, I'd really rather nothing or something else instead" in the first place, my family think I'm just being polite and ignore me.

I know they want to do nice things and they don't get to spend money on us very easily because they don't live nearby. And I try to appreciate the good intentions of the thing. But it's tiring doing that, and it'd be easier if I could get them to understand that the things I value aren't things that carry a high value to them so seem like stupid things to send (wild rice, maple syrup, ranch dressing mix...).

Whereas they really like sweets, so they think it makes sense to send me Girl Scout cookies. I'm just thankful that my mom didn't part with any of her Thin Mints this year! She did that once and I'm so indifferent to them while she loves those things so much, I couldn't bear to think I'd taken them from her.

I think last time I gave them to Simon; I'm sure I have some friends who'd like Girl Scout cookies. So at least they'll bring someone some joy.
hollymath: (Default)
I feel like I've done nothing today (though I've swapped over my winter and summer clothes, which means two trips up the rickety ladder to the loft while carrying a bag of clothes, and I've applied for a job) so here are some Facebook comments that made my day when I was up in the middle of the night when I shouldn't have been.

First, I'd shared a name that said "Tell me what you associate with me. Colors, songs, aesthetics, people, anything." Got some fun answers, but the best is
Screenshot of a comment saying Plus! I always picture you with a rainbow flag backdrop as if you have one permanently attached like a cape (rather than it just normally being behind you because you're on the stall).
Another person said they associated me with the Biphoria shall st Pride (somewhere that, shamefully, I don't remember seeing them at all! But I'm terrible at recognizing faces) so I guess this is just what I do: sit at tables and hand out leaflets and I'm cool with that since I really enjoy it!

(It wasn't all worthy stuff. I also got two compliments on my hair, which really baffled me because I hate my hair right now. I had a dream the other night about getting it all cut to be about a millimeter long and in the dream I could see a picture being taken of me like this and I was so happy and it looked so good and when I woke up and discovered none of that was real I was so disappointed!)

The next nice Facebook comment I had was on a different person's wall where the last thing I was expecting was to be told nice things. I was actually there to tell her a nice thing: she was feeling apprehensive about her appearance in a photo and I told her the truth and she said...
A comment from me saying You are great and your hair is great and your necklace is great and even if you didn't look great you'd still be great. She replies, Holly, if there is a teeny version of you I can keep in my pocket I will have 5 of them please.
hollymath: (Default)
Tim Harford (from among other things one of my favorite Radio 4 shows, More or Less) writes about why we should be grateful to immigrants. An idea I'm so unaccustomed to hearing my brain savors it like an exotic flavor.
Immigration inspires strong feelings, and those feelings aren’t of happiness and gratitude. That is a shame.

Is there a gut-based case that we should be grateful to immigrants? I’d like to think so.
Xenophobia is basically a "gut-based" conviction, which is why no amount of droning on about the economic benefits of immigration will counteract it; we need to fight this feeling with other feelings.

The first feelings-based counterattack, or lesson in being grateful, Harford suggests is "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you," which leads us to ponder why people from our country (and this is true in both the UK and U.S.) who leave it are called expats while incomers are migrants. Harford then points out Matthew Iglesias saying "he wouldn’t get away with describing white Americans without college degrees as people 'without merit'."

Same is true of Brits here: immigrants have to meet standards -- whether that be of education, employment history, evidence of private health care, proficiency in the English language, invasive amounts of biometric data, willingness to live without any kind of benefits for you or your family, or a willingness to let their relatives age and die thousands of miles away without the comfort of family nearby -- that would never be asked of native citizens.

While there is (rightly!) outrage at the thought of people in Britain needing to pay directly for health care or being denied essential welfare benefits, these things have already been happening to non-British people in this country for many years (and of course continue and worsen all the time) without the outcry or solidarity that we're starting to see now that it's good, ordinary British people.

Harford goes on to say "There are many analyses of the costs and benefits of immigration. What’s not widely appreciated is that most of them simply ignore any benefits to the migrants — expats — themselves."

Indeed this has always been one of my gripes: immigrants are talked about as if we can't even read or hear the conversations, much less be listened to.

And when you think about it, it's bizarre that the benefits of migration to the migrants are so universally overlooked. Despite all these deterents, despite the hostile environments put in place, loads of people still do migrate so there must be something in it for them. Us. See, even I am in the habit of talking about immigrants as an Othered group, because that's the discourse I associate with power and with the people's minds I want to change.

The rest of Harford's paragraph there is interesting too:
Given this handicap [of ignoring the benefits of immigration to immigrants, remember], it’s striking that many serious studies find some modest net economic benefits. If I told you that a school or a hospital could pass a cost-benefit test even after ignoring the benefits to the pupils or patients, you might reasonably conclude that the school and hospital were impressive organisations. You’d also tell me it was a very strange way to do cost-benefit analysis.
I just think it's really striking that I'm someone who talks and thinks about immigration, not to an academic standard but still quite a lot, and a lot of these arguments are either totally new to me or else some of my own facile bullet points (like talk about immigrants and not immigration, which this does flawlessly and without even having to call attention to the fact it's doing that) fleshed out and extrapolated pretty beautifully.

Economics gets a bad rap for being an inhumane way to think about immigrants, and other humans, but here's an economist blowing us all out of the water on that.
hollymath: (Default)
Both the questions I've been asked so far -- How did you get in to being poly? and When did you decide to move to Uk? -- have the same (short-version) answer:

In general? LiveJournal. And specifically? Andrew.

Long version got long! So here's the poly bit. )

And here's the getting to the UK bit. )
hollymath: (Default)
I've seen quite a few people doing this elseweb recently. And I have a lot of new people here because of [community profile] 2017revival and such like so this might be a good time for it.

Please feel free to ask me any question at all!

Comments on this post are screened: let me know if it's OK to unscreen or whether I should post your question anonymously. I reserve the right to decide not to answer a question.
hollymath: (Default)
I did front of house yesterday for eight hours, only a normal working day but twice as long as I expected to be and it wiped me out. That and the lack of sleep I'd had meant I could keep my eyes open after about eight o'clock and I succumbed to an early bedtime.

I woke up a few hours later and when I checked the time on my phone I saw a message that had been sent only about an hour previously: "Oh on something earlier - I still reckon if Jackie wins you should get a job as a caseworker for her :) You'd be dead good at it."

I think I reacted as I would have if this had been part of a dream, I wasn't as surprised as I think I'd have been if I'd really thought about this. It'd never occurred to me to be a caseworker or indeed any job in politics beyond the one I'd had when I first moved here, that earned me less than the dole so only people who couldn't get dole (me and students mostly) would do it.

But it was a flattering day for me being offered hypothetical political jobs. When discussing the contingency plan for if he won the seat for which he's prospective parliamentary candidate, [personal profile] po8crg said his first step would be to give me a job. Bless him! (In a very him fashion, he later amended this to his second step, after resigning his job so it wouldn't appear on the list of Members' Interests, but still!).

He said "I can't think of anyone better to run my Manchester office. And you'd make damn sure that I didn't forget accessibility in everything I do." And really if he ended up an MP it'd only be because we'd had enough of a landslide that we were the government, so he could hope to be Rail Minister and I'd have fun with all I could do about accessibility there!

In the meantime, for any of my friends lucky enough not to know what I'm talking about or why this passes for small talk among my friends, I've been recommending Argonauts of the incredibly specific: anthropological field notes on the Liberal Democrat animal, a long (and using an uncomfortable number of metaphorical allusions to African and Asian cultures in an uncomfortably superficial way) but hugely informative description of British politics in general and being a Lib Dem specifically. Not in terms of policies or individuals, but in procedures and patterns observed by someone who used to be one up until he wrote this. I find it hugely enjoyable to read in the same way I used to feel about song lyrics I identified with as a teenager: it's good to feel that someone out there really understands you.

And while there are bits I'd quibble with (I actually still believe conferences have a function beyond the kinship rituals, because we're writing policy and anyone can join in--a much underrated feature of being a Lib Dem, if you ask me), there's a lot I laughed at or nodded vigorously at too.

Anyway, here's what it says about the job I've been told I'd be good at.
Caseworkers are the closest approximation politicians have to real human beings. Obviously everybody looks down on them for not being “political”. Caseworkers tend to work 9–5 and have friends outside of politics. They also deal with real problems that happen in the real world. Unsurprisingly therefore caseworkers tend to be the most diverse and broadly representative political caste: there are caseworkers of all ages, races, genders and shudder classes.

It always amuses me that parties' plans to increase diversity seem to consist, not of turning politics into something a sane human being might want to do, but in convincing working-class BME women that they too should make the kind of mad irrational ego-driven choices that white twentysomething childless middle-class men do.
hollymath: (Default)
Thanks to a link from a link on [personal profile] silveradept's latest collection of links, I found something that ties in with what I wrote about the Doctor Who episode "Smile" the other day.

It's an episode called "The Myth of Closure," of a podcast called On Being and it seems to be about several myths about grief that our societies have taught us, like that it's a linear process we progress through and emerge from in a straightforward way. And it does talk about immigration as a state that involves grieving for what's been left behind, no matter how positively the decision was made.
MS. TIPPETT: Pauline Boss is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Minnesota. Her 1999 book Ambiguous Loss coined a phrase that has become a field in psychology and family therapy. She grew up in a first generation Swiss-American immigrant family in Wisconsin.

And you said, “Homesickness was an essential part of my family’s culture.”

DR. BOSS: It was. I think it may be true for all immigrant families, but it certainly was for mine. And it was even in the village because there were many immigrant families there.

And so it became a sort of pathos that would be in the family when we weren’t even aware of it, except that I could see the sadness periodically, like when my father would get a letter from Switzerland, or worse yet, a letter with a black rim around it, which meant announcement of death in the family.

So, I was always aware that there was another family somewhere, and that there was some homesickness, except where was home? And I figured that home was in Wisconsin where we lived, but yet I knew he had this other family across the Atlantic that he pined for.

And my maternal grandmother was the same. And, of course, she refused to learn English. She said she lost her mountains, she lost her mother, she lost her friends, and she wasn’t going to lose her language. So I think that, too, is not unusual for immigrant families today, especially the elders.

MS. TIPPETT: One thing reading that about your family made me reflect on is that we talk a lot about immigrants, right? And especially now. And we even talk about things like people sending money back to family. But we don’t kind of acknowledge the grief or that homesickness or that sadness, that loss that must always be there, even when people have made a choice to go far away.

DR. BOSS: I think that’s part of our American culture that we don’t want to hear that. We don’t just deny death in our culture, I think we deny ambiguous loss that comes with things like immigration. And homesickness comes along with that and we really want people to get over it.

And they don’t. And in fact, it’s paradoxical. The more you want people to get over it, the longer it will take for them. And why not remember your former country, your former island, your former culture while you’re learning to fit into the new one? In other words, having two cultures is what it ends up being. And you have one foot in the old and one foot in the new. And one can live that way. That may be the most honest way to do it.
"We talk a lot about immigrants now," the interviewer says, and I don't actually think that's true. We talk a lot about immigration, in terms of swarms and statistics, but we don't talk about immigrants as people. We don't talk about the old people who've lost their mountains and their mothers and so refuse to lose their language. We don't talk about people who get black-rimmed letters or the modern equivalent.

We struggle to allow people any kind of actual grief because it's messy and awkward and makes us uncomfortable. But we'll never think of immigration as something that involves grief until we get past thinking of it as economic statistics or political debate. Until we think of the people and not just the abstraction: immigrants, not immigration.


May. 1st, 2017 07:29 am
hollymath: (Default)
I'm unfollowing people on Twitter and deleting photos from my phone and it's all a proxy for what I really wish I could do, which is turn my brain off and back on again.

I got two or three hours' sleep last night. Racing, intrusive thoughts.


Apr. 29th, 2017 11:40 pm
hollymath: (Default)
My period showed up today, a rare and surprising event because the birth control I'm on means that I have only a few every year.

Usually they're pretty easy to manage but occasionally I have one that reminds me why I started taking the birth control in the first place. I used to be one of those people who'd miss a day of work a month with them. Missing a 5k obstacle course seems even more understandable.

But I'd been eating myself up about it. I worried that I wasn't "really" sick, or not sick "enough," that it's "just anxiety," that I was making excuses... This is common enough but I think it was especially bad because I was missing an exercise thing. The most virtuous of all things, exercise!

Skipping that wasn't just bad in a "I've already paid for this" sense, or a "I'm supposed to be doing this with my friend" sense, but in a moral sense. I try very hard not to attribute Goodness and Evil to various habits but obviously I'm failing miserably at that based on my reaction here. I know it's illogical but if you could logic yourself out of what society has ingrained into you, the world would be a very different place.

It might also explain part of why my emotions have felt so uncontrollable lately. Obviously some of that is legitimate--life has been demanding and stressful--but I've also been unsettled at the feeling that these reactions are unusual for me. That's been going on for too long to be PMS, but it means it's likely things are not as thoroughly awful as I'd imagined. Which is good, because everything has seemed pretty bleak lately and it'd be great to be wrong about that.
hollymath: (Default)
Still typing on my phone (Andrew's got a new laptop but until it's set up needs mine 24/7 so that he can keep up a steady enough stream of Twitter) so I'll have to be quick.

I finally got to see last week's episode of Doctor Who and while generally I liked it (at first I was wary of the premise for how Russell Davies it sounded, but it didn't do too badly with it), there was one thought I had during it that has stuck in my brain.

So I don't think this is spoilery but obviously opinions on what counts as a spoiler differ. I'd say this is in the "it contained the following general types of plot device" category, but I suppose that might be up for debate too.

Because I'd seen a lot of people's reactions to this episode already, I knew one of them went something like "you can tell white people write Doctor Who because when he asks Bill why she wants to go to the future instead of the past, her answer isn't just 'I'm a black woman.' "

Similarly, I can tell the show isn't written by immigrants because it inescapably hinges on the colonists' assumption that they can be happy all the time because they're headed to this utopia that's been built for them where everything is perfect.

Even if it had lived up to those utopian expectations, that would not have stopped grief being there.

Moving so irrevocably away from home leaves you grieving for everyone you left there. Except in some ways its worse than if they died, because you know they're grieving for you too. Some people (if you're lucky, all of them if you're not) you will probably never see again, no matter how much you love them.

There'd be homesickness. There'd be nostalgia in the sense it was first intended, as a proper disease people even died from, as well as its colloquial meaning today. There'd be dreams about the voices of lost people. We're sometimes fine when contemplating the big things, but then cry because we remember the pattern on the dishes, the noise the door made when it closed, or the colors in the sky.

You couldn't have a colony without grief.

It me

Apr. 25th, 2017 02:53 pm
hollymath: (Default)
Here's me doing The Worst Clerical Job in the World on Saturday. I look happy because [ profile] LadyPHackney, who was taking the picture, made me it turned out okay I think.

hollymath: (Default)
Don't really wanna type this all out on my phone (my touchscreen typing is getting worse lately if anything, and I swear SwiftKey is trying to make me look stupid on purpose: last night I thought I tweeted "I missed Doctor Who" but no, it said "I kissed Doctor Who" which made the grumpiness in the rest of the tweet rather inexplicable) but Andrew's got my laptop, and I've got words to get out of my head before I can sleep, so...

I should have the laptop back tomorrow. Andrew's will hopefully work with the replacement part we bought for it, which turned up today. Stuart was kind enough to spend all Friday afternoon and evening trying to fix it. He even soldered the broken part together two or three different ways to see if we could avoid having to get a new one, but his valiant efforts were to no avail. We did get through several cycles of "it should be fine!"/"no, it's fucked!"/"no, wait, this might do it!" which honestly was exhausting even for me and I didn't so anything except make the tea and occasionally hold something still. But Stuart said he enjoyed the process.

So I'll take the new part over, where I left the rest of his laptop the other day, tomorrow. But most of the rest of this week I think I'll be helping Andrew be front-of-house at the local Lib Dem HQ.

What had been a by-election HQ staffed with actual staff (and volunteers) has now been handed back to the local party, just volunteers. I was sitting in a meeting this evening thinking I really enjoyed being a small cog in the big machine, who could just do things and not have to make decisions. Now I'm the same size cog and the machine is...not exactly smaller but moving more slowly.

But we're still just as ambitious. We're focusing on getting through the original May 4 elections first, particularly because there's a council by-election in our constituency (maybe John Leech will get some company as the opposition on the council!) as well as the Greater Manchester mayoral election that day. I'd really love Andy "I'm so convinced I'll win I'm not standing to defend my parliamentary seat a month later" Burnham not to win. Particularly since he seems to have affectations instead of a personality, and his affected northernness is to hate foreigners and call coffee posh.

So anyway, Andrew has said he'll be front-of-house, i.e. make sure there's a human there all day long so when people turn up to volunteer or ask questions or whatever, there's someone who can help them. He reckons that he can sit there with a laptop as easily as here, and is pleased that something he can do will be such a big help to the campaign (most of the obvious ways to help involve things he finds hard or impossible).

But this will inevitably involve some help from me: the one part of this he will struggle with is getting going in the mornings, so I'm actually going to open up and probably do the "until-lunchtime" shifts. Starting tomorrow! So while there's more to talk about, I should try to sleep.


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