On the May 5 I am entitled to vote and have an official card that says as much. Exciting or what? | MDB

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Vote - vote - vote! I know that voting in an English local election isn’t exactly ‘up there’ with tantric sex or Southampton FC actually winning a game of football, but it’s a damn close-run-thing in my estimation. Let me explain. After years of political abstention I have actually been sent a notification from my local council that on the May 5 I am entitled to vote and have an official card that says as much. Exciting or what?

To be fair, after a number of years I was entitled to vote in Mallorcan local elections, but apart from just once, I always felt that it wasn’t really my place to engage in Spain’s democratic system. Beyond that I have been ‘voteless’ for almost two decades. So perhaps you can appreciate my excitement at turning up at my local polling station (the church hall up the road) and placing my X any-which-way I like. I wonder if the experience is anything like it used to be? You know, a charming old person sat at the door with a coloured rosette to proclaim their political allegiance enquiring if you had voted for their candidate, or heaven forfend, one of the other plebs on the ballot paper.

Anyway, to reach this stage of complete electoral bliss I had to phone the council and declare my interest in voting only to be confronted by a young woman who clearly thought that I was mad and hinted non-to-subtly that it was indeed a complete waste of time. But was it? Because on checking, it seems that my particular electoral ward is in fact a marginal seat keenly fought between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives with the local Greens not that far away. Come now, this is Cheltenham - the Labour Party haven’t had a sniff here since Keir Hardie were a lad. Anyway, I don’t know if it is linked, but no sooner had I had signed us up to vote than we ere engulfed in leaflets from all-comers. I don’t think that politicians do that in Mallorca do they? Mostly if memory serves me correctly all the various parties set up stalls in town squares and shout at people walking past in a jolly and persuasive matter. Although, I do remember that after an election in Mallorca roadside posters would stay in place for ages as clearly nobody could be arsed to take them down.

However, back to the ballot box in Blighty! Is it me, but by just looking at the picture on the leaflet, I can always tell what party they are representing. If they are rather smug with a self satisfied look on their faces (of whatever gender) and carrying a little extra weight…he/she will be the Tory candidate. The Liberal Democrat candidate will be earnest, and slightly under middle years, wearing their hair a little too long and favouring lots of uncalled for linen. The Green candidate, will be just like the Libby-Dem chap but more so, if you see what I mean? The Labour Party bloke who knocked on my door just yesterday (thus provoking this article) curled his lip at me even before I said a word and demanded to know if I think that Boris Johnson should be hung, drawn and quartered - and when I demurred, he shouted to his fellow canvasser “Put him down as a possible.” Hey, it’s the way you tell ‘em!

A DEEP-HEAT BODY!

I don’t want to delay you too long with a tale of my body falling apart under the strain of modern life, but I will anyway. Up until recently I believe that I had the constitution of a large beast of the jungle - or, something like that. Nevertheless, slowly but surely and as age creeps up on my admirable physique, I have become prey to various physical pains, niggles, and breakdowns. For instance I’ve recently twisted my knee whilst playing tennis with young people, perhaps just another example of how I have become injury-prone as the years pass by and I fail to recognise that undeniable fact of life.

For instance for some weeks now I have been self-heal my long list of aches, pains, pulls and tweaks with a tube of Deep Heat Rub, the smell of which is hard to disguise even if you wanted to - and mostly you don’t, do you? Our old team captain or ‘skipper’ - used to say that we Mallorca CC cricketers, who were knocking-on-a-bit should use loads of it before a match and impress the opposition, ‘cos “We may not be very fit, but we certainly smell as if we are.” However, rather like never watching yourself ‘throwing some shapes’ at a wedding reception/party for example via the grizzly video of the event, sportspeople of advancing years, should never agree to someone filming them playing tennis for instance. As an acquaintance of mine once observed of himself playing tennis, after being secretly videoed by a so-called friend - "It was if I was being filmed in slow-motion” I was tempted to laugh, until I realised that my pal is a much better and quicker tennis player that I am. Oh dear!

TOO YOUNG TO VOTE?

Anyway, back to the upcoming local elections here in England. It seems that 18-year-olds are three times more likely to be on Instagram than to vote. Unsurprisingly perhaps, it appears that many 18 year-old don’t seem to be in a hurry to vote for the first time. This in the wake of calls to lower the voting age to 16 years of age. Research has found that 227,087 teenagers who became eligible to vote in 2021 were on the electoral roll, compared with 657, 356 who used Instagram at least once a month. Mind you, before we ‘oldies’ climb aboard out high horses, most local elections have a turnout of less that 20% of the electorate. So perhaps those youngsters are only following in our own footsteps?