I went canvassing this afternoon in Lobley Hill which is in the neighbouring ward to my own. Last year we reduced the Labour majority in the ward from 900 to 92. As you can imagine, it is the top target for us in Gateshead.
Not a bad canvass but I was a bit surprised at the first house I called at. A retired person's bungalow and the person who answered the door was, I presume, the occupant's daughter.
"Come in Mr Wallace," she said before I had had a chance to introduce myself. "You'll be here for the elections."
I don't actually know who she is but it was a bit surprising to be so instantly recognised when I wasn't even in my own ward!
After the canvassing I went up to the bulb show in Whickham, with our Euro MP Fiona Hall. "You must get recognised quite a bit," said a constituent to me. I immediately thought of the Lobley Hill resident I had canvassed!
I suppose that having been on Gateshead Council for nearly 20 years, I should be in a position where people recognise me!
I'm currently working on the Whickham North focuses. We rarely do ward wide Focuses - instead, most of the Focuses we do are village or estate based. The current round of Focuses for this ward was meant to see 2 editions, one for the Swalwell end, the other for the Whickham end. Swalwell is written, printed and delivered. Whickham is now written. But we have had such a glut of local issues that we are putting together additional estate letters, one for each of the three estates in the Whickham part. They will go out with the Focus.
Somehow, the news stories keep pouring in. Each month I write 18 pages of text for our email newsletters. So far the well of stories and articles has not dried up!