Parliamentary candidate breaks foot whilst canvassing!!!!

Modelling the latest must-have accessory!

Modelling the latest must-have accessory!

I am asked what it is like going out and knocking on strangers’ doors. I always reply that it is great fun and the best bit about being a political activist.

Of course there are drawbacks; I am always cautious of dogs. As a child I suffered from cynophobia – fear of dogs – something that I am not entirely over. I encounter many, of course, and I have to say that the overwhelming majority of dog owners are very considerate. I like walking dogs that I know and trust, and I am only really troubled by large or aggressive dogs. I have twice been bitten whilst politicking; both times on Canvey Island, and both within a week of each other in the run up to the 2010 General Election. The first occasion the very small dog only managed to sink its teeth into trouser fabric before being chased off by its embarrassed owner. The second was when delivering an out card; the silent dog managed to draw blood from my right middle finger.

I nearly had heart failure when chased out of a front garden by an alsation (again on Canvey Island!) I also got chased out of a garden in Rayleigh – although that was probably my fear rather than the dog’s fault. I did once get trapped by a couple of dogs in Pitsea when leafleting for Angela Smith and had to be rescued by a passing motorist. These dogs were left to roam in their front garden, and leapt the wall as I approached – quite where the owners were and why that did not have control of their dogs are unanswered questions.

I have had numerous cuts from letterboxes – I cannot be the only campaigner who prefers those wall-mounted letterboxes, which are both discreet and allow leaflets to be delivered without injury to either hands or the material being delivered.

I can only recall two truly aggressive residents, and both were in Milton ward. I am usually unfazed by people – in twenty-eight years as a football referee I had to deal with the occasional aggressive individual. As a referee you have the full majesty of the Football Association behind you, as a politician retreat is the best option.

Last Sunday I was canvassing in Princes Street (Southend-on-Sea, in Milton ward). Despite giving much of my time over to my Parliamentary campaign in Southend West I still have responsibilities in the ward I represent on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, which I am determined not to neglect. Anyway I turned my ankle on someone’s concreted drive, I failed to spot a slight slope. As I reported this was very painful. As I can work from home I took this option for the first four days of last week.. By Friday I decided I had to get to the office (I am not very good at hanging around indoors for any length of time). Driving was alright provided I did not have to brake hard, and I managed to park close enough (using the visitiors’ car park) to make it reasonably short hobble to my desk. A long day in the office was a mistake, and by the time I limped back to my car I was quite uncomfortable. Despite several minutes with my foot immersed in icy water when I got home it did not look great.

Hence to A&E at Southend University Hospital and the x-ray that confirmed that it was not just bruising; I had broken a bone in my foot. I am now wearing a velcro cast, and have an appointment with the Fracture Clinic on Tuesday. I cannot drive and am condemned to being largely housebound for four to five weeks, unless I can find people willing to chauffeur me about.

I must mention my A&E experience. The staff were very good, and I was seen far faster than I had anticipated. It was almost disappointing – so quick were they that I made little headway with the Lenin biography that accompanied my visit.

Campaigning does not stop, but it certainly pauses as far as I am concerned. Drat!


6 Responses to Parliamentary candidate breaks foot whilst canvassing!!!!

  1. Tony Wright says:

    Dear Julian,

    Having once been bitten by an Alsation in Vange, when I was a County Councillor there, I can sympathise. It was a Sunday morning and I had to call out my G.P. – the late Julian Carlile, whose wife Joan was Southend Mayor later. As a committed Tory he not only did not complain about my calling him out on Sunday but could not WAIT to come round and give me a Tetanus Jab, which he administered with a broad grin!

    To more practical matters, I am free all next week, with the exception of Thursday evening and the weekend, when I shall be at the Co-op. Conference. Thus I am willing to drive you round for any campaigning you wish to carry out or even to your Fracture Clinic appointment.

    Let me know, if you need me. My phone number is 01268 793651 and my E-Mail address is

  2. Tony Cox says:

    Julian, in wishing you well for your campaign, I have to say it is so tempting to say break a leg! With a serious face I wish you a speedy recovery and I to am terrified of dogs so much so I would cross the road from a guide dog.

  3. I have had numerous cuts from letterboxes – I cannot be the only campaigner who prefers those wall-mounted letterboxes, which are both discreet and allow leaflets to be delivered without injury to either hands or the material being delivered.

    It’s the letterboxes with draught excluding brushes on the inside that I really dislike – folding a leaflet sufficiently to make it stiff enough to go through is often impossible which means fingers have to guide it through. It’s when you have just got your fingers through the brushes and have started to feed the leaflet through and you then hear the scraping of claws on a lino or wooden floor as a dog tries to get enough purchase to accelerate its teeth towards the tips of your fingers!

    There should be a British Standard for draught-proof leaflet-friendly letter boxes! Then councillors on planning committees can insist on their adoption – or would they have to declare an interest?

  4. Pingback: Cursed streets & new boots — weekend cavassing in Milton ward | A Mad Man With A Blog

  5. I have frequently stated that there ought to be some sort of legislation about the type and siting of letterboxes. Aside from injured hands, some seem deliberately designed to damage anything that goes through them, and others often have you grovelling on the floor to put stuff in them.

    Occasionally I have come across house with no letterboxes, giving one no option other than to leave under or on door mats, window sills, etc.

    Of course this is partially tongue in cheek, but it does make you wonder how some ever get their mail.

  6. zita subasinghe says:

    So sorry to hear that you broke an ankle bone, while out canvassing. And you are so good natured about it. Your dedication knows no end. I hope it all gets better soon and oh yes I really enjoyed reading about your experiences in the past while on this duty.

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