Clerkenwell action day

We had a great campaign day in Clerkenwell today.

Mind you it started a bit madly. As I was getting ready to leave the flat, I got a casework phone call and ended up making a dash for the bus with a heavy bag of target letters for one of the student halls. So much for the serene image that candidates are supposed to project…

But things got better and better as we went along. Spring weather, a great turnout of activists ranging from our MEP Sarah Ludford to Marisha’s little boy Abrial, meant we got the whole ward delivered in a day: and time for some surveying too.

Great value lunch at the Union Tavern (corner of Lloyd Baker Street and Kings Cross Road) – £8 a head for a full lunch, and they were very accomodating to a dozen hungry Lib Dems.

Basements in this part of Clerkenwell used to flood regularly with water from the Fleet and its underground tributaries. There’s actually a drain cover in the middle of Lloyd Baker Street where you can hear the river running by. When the first digging for the Metropolitan line cutting was done about 150 years ago, the engineers tried to block off the river with disastrous results – filthy water erupted all over the neighbourhood. Thankfully despite all the railway works around Farringdon, we don’t have quite such dramas today.

After lunch we went surveying. My team was on the Peabody estate off Clerkenwell Close – honey coloured brick outside, pristine walls inside, and very friendly residents. There’s a lot of respect for the hard work of Lib Dem councillors over the years – and a lot of anger and disappointment with Labour.

I was shocked to hear from one woman who works with the family courts that Labour has increased the court fees for care proceedings from around £150 to around £4000! All added expense for hard-pressed social services departments, and the opposite of investing in children’s services.

Peabody built some of the first and best social housing in London – but they predate lifts, so it was good afternoon exercise. (I’m relieved we could use the lift up Michael Cliffe House’s 23 floors earlier today. Walking down delivering is one thing, walking up is another). The warm welcome at the top of the stairs made the climb in each block worthwhile. Although we were glad of a sit down with tea and cake back at HQ.

Then it was time to go – not forgetting my bag of student letters. Luckily the hall is opposite the bus stop for my trip home.

So feet up tonight? Well, briefly. I’ve had some more tea and a quick shower; the green jacket has been swapped for a little black dress, and now I’m about to cram my tired feet into heels to go off to the Londra Gazette Ball….


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