Well I hope so!
Hello again after a week away in France.
Let's get the holiday stuff out of the way first.
This is the only picture that I took on my camera.
It's 5.45am just outside Skipton. Tina and her parents are having a break for coffee and rolls on our way to Leeds Bradford Airport. About half an hour later I left my camera in the side of my car door so went on holiday without it. This meant I had to buy a disposable one out there and we have yet to have those photos developed.
It was a relaxing holiday with lots of cycling, reading, drinking and good food. A visit to the Royan Hippodrome left my father-in-law and I 30 euros down but it was worthwhile to see some trotting races for the first time although I must say I prefer proper horseracing which was where I backed my only winner.
We also visited la Palmyre Zoo. I'm afraid I didn't like it. None of the animals looked happy and the place was packed with sightseers which made it seem hotter than it was. I much preferred our visit the next day to the bird sanctuary at Les Allards on the Ile d'Oleron. Here injured birds are looked after and the centre piece was a massive aviary for herons which had been injured by electric pylons (where they make their nests sometimes). There was also an injured birds of prey section where the occupants looked just happy to be alive.
Back again next year - just Tina and I probably - where we intend to explore the areas around Saint Trojan, Le Chateau and La Cotinaire which we have yet to see. We enjoy our cycling because it makes you feel as though you have earned your meal and wine in the evening.
On Thursday we cycled to Saint Dennis and while still enjoying the French countryside, my mind was also on the two by-elections we were contesting back home. They weren't happy thoughts. I feared we might come fourth in Broxtowe and be beaten by UKIP in Denton. The results of the previous Thursday had been disappointing to say the least and we needed to buck this trend in order to restore some confidence within our ranks.
So you can imagine my delight when arriving home late on Saturday to find that we had performed well above what I had expected. Here are the full results for anyone who hasn't seen them.
Broxtowe Borough Council
30th July 2009
John BOOTH (Con) 416
Nina BROWN (BNP) 288
Stuart HOSKER (Lib-Dem) 224
Edward JACOBS (Lab) 68
Keith MARRIOTT (UKIP) 21
BNP Percentage: 28.3%
Denton North East Ward
30th July 2009
Denise WARD (Lab) 1258
Floyd PATERSON (Con) 660
Christella GAUCI (BNP) 358
John COOKE (UKIP) 193
Rachell LUCAS (Green) 164
BNP Percenatge: 13.6%
Denton was a good first effort, and although it was disappointing to lose our Brinsley seat, our vote held up well considering the whole Sadie Graham saga and the effect it had on Brinsley in particular. Well done to Nina Brown (below) and her team for a sterling effort.