I meant to vote first thing this morning but didn't get up in time so I had to wait until this evening. When I arrived at the polling station I had to queue to cast my ballot. Unheard of! I also met three sets of friends on the way in.
I live just around the corner from the my polling station and one of my favourite sights is the stream of people making their way along the road to cast their vote. Elderly couples, mums with their children, young people on their way to or from work. Democracy in practice is a wonderful thing.
I well remember listening to the Today programme on the morning of the first elections in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid. Brian Redfern's humbling interview with an elderly woman who had walked miles to vote for the very first time moved me to tears.
I have voted in every election since my 18th birthday, with one unforgettable exception. I was a student. It was a local election. I had other things to do. When I returned to the family I was living with that evening and admitted to not having made it to the polling station I was left in no doubt that I had betrayed the sacrifices made by the brave suffragettes. Thanks to Irene I have never missed an election since.
I voted Scottish Nationalist on the first occasion and Labour ever since - until today when I voted Green.