14 April, 2007
I had pushed the bell before I had read the sign fully.
Should I high-tail it before anyone came to the door, or should I stand my ground? Normally I ignore the 'No junk mail' signs, as I'm sure most of us do. I stood my ground. I could hear footsteps. I took a deep breath.
"Hi ya doing, sorry about that, I hadn't read the sign before I pushed your bell."
"Oh, don't mind that sign, that's only the husband, he gets these notions, and printed out the sign."
"I'm from the Green Party, I'm Ciarán Cuffe, one of your TDs, and I'm just calling by with a newsletter.
"Oh, the Greens, come on in, this is a green house here. He put the sign up because of that other fellah that keeps calling by, morning, noon and night.
I broke one of the cardinal rules of canvassing and stepped across the threshold.
"What a nice house"
"It's one of these Coillte Griffner timber houses, isn't it lovely?"
And, indeed it was. Rule two of canvassing. Listen to the voter, don't talk at them. The house WAS beautiful; timber-frame, lots of light, a bright stairwell filling the house with light.
"We built it in the side-garden, and then decided to move into ourselves."
And that's why a fifth of the new homes in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown are being squeezed onto these infill sites, alongside existing homes. It's a great solution to providing a house for the son or daughter, and allows them to live close to their parents in the neighbourhood where they grew up. It also beats being squeezed into one of the shoe-box apartments that seem to be replacing houses all around the County. Some guidelines on infill development wouldn't be any harm, but in general these side-garden homes work out well.
Anyway, after the full tour of the house - ("lovely kitchen, but too many windows, and not enough storage...") I made my excuses and headed away. The rest of the team were two roads on at this stage, and reminded me (again) never to spend more than two minutes at a door. A pleasant encounter, and a nice snapshot of canvassing on a sunny Friday afternoon in April 2007