What is it with me and dogs on this election campaign? Four weeks ago it was dog bite through letter box. This morning it was a warm wet dribble down the left ankle. I was gently putting the world to rights with one lady at the bank holiday market in rural Fordham, Cambridgeshire when her companion clearly felt he could wait no longer for the urban lamppost - she was mortified. On returning home I popped my trainers in the washing machine and reflected that the reception amongst the human kind had been more constructive.
On Friday I was in a small village on the Norfolk Coast that is gently slipping into the sea. Our Westminster Candidate Trevor Ivory had brought together local resident experts from fishermen to environmental scientists along with representatives of the parish, district and county council to meet with potential Westminster and European parliamentarians for a serious discussion on a very serious issue... This was a model of how we need to work together at all levels of representation.
The cliffs are falling away. Back in Victorian days (and before that) public engineers came up with creative ideas to hold back the tide - THAT WORKED - but in the past few years our coastal defenses have been neglected. In one day I had a condensed degree course in erosion, the local economy, tidal movements, fish spawning grounds, gravel dredging, insurance issues and more. It's something you can't learn from a text book but need to see with experts on the ground. Local people say our generation's neglect is storing up more problems for the future. On the ground, I can see their point.
I have promised to find out more about how other countries are dealing with similar problems. For example, do other countries have a local maintanance/insurance program? Advice welcome!