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The Doors

Learning about doors, ironmongery and canine behaviour while leafleting for the Yes Campaign in Lochaber

The Doors
The Doors

They should be dragged out and shot! Who on earth could deserve such draconian treatment? Well, people that design doors with letterboxes at ground level or letterboxes with double flaps and a draught excluder. The latter is a particularly vindictive design as it is not something you can see from the outside. You carefully lift the outer flap and insert the leaflet only to discover the draught excluder is preventing further progress. So, you now push your hand in a little further to ease the leaflet through which is when you discover the internal flap. If you are lucky you will be able to extricate your hand while only taking a few layers of skin off. Goodness knows what might happen if there is a dog on the other side.

Ah yes, man's best friend and the leafleter's nightmare. Some dogs announce their presence long before you get there so you are forewarned but others are much more sneaky. On one recent leafleting trip I opened the front gate and walked up the path to the front door and that was when I saw the "Beware of the dog" sign on the door. What dog I wondered as I deposited my leaflet. It was then that the very large Husky made its appearance standing between me and the gate which was my only escape route. I tried to banish thoughts of Huskies bearing a strong resemblance to wolves from my mind. It turned out he was a big softy and liked his chin scratched, phew! Of course, most dogs are much smaller than that and I suppose a Yorkshire Terrier or Chihuahua couldn't do much damage though perhaps that is the real purpose of ground level letterboxes.

It can sometimes be really hard to find a letterbox. Doors made almost entirely of glass are quite popular which requires the letterbox to be located elsewhere. I have also come across quite a few properties recently with two letterboxes. One letterbox on the door and another right next to it on the sidelight. What is the purpose of the second letterbox? Does it have a recycle bin directly beneath it? Another property I visited recently had three doors but no letterbox visible anywhere. In the end I found a fourth door, on the patio, which was open and I left the leaflet on the floor. Perhaps, the house had a nice American style mail box in camouflage colours somewhere.

Now, if you haven't leafleted in rural locations you will find this difficult to believe but sometimes it is hard to find the house never mind the letterbox. The indicators were there: a house sign, wheelie bins at the end of the road, a well worn track but no house. Roads to nowhere must be more common than I thought. I have also experienced the converse where the house is visible with no obvious means to get there. Of course, I could march straight across the garden to get to the house but that goes against leafleting etiquette. I have never seen the manners of leafleting written down anywhere but they do exist and householders everywhere know them chapter and verse.

Here follows an example. I approached a house with leaflet in hand. The property had a gate with one post supporting the hinge and a post on the other side holding the catch. There was absolutely no fence anywhere, the gate stood in splendid isolation. Leafleting etiquette quite clearly states that I had to open this gate, close it behind me, proceed up the path, deposit my leaflet and then follow the reverse procedure to get out no matter how ludicrous it feels. Had I not gone through the gate there, almost certainly, would have been a householder glowering at me from behind the net curtain seething with indignation.

All of these problems are mere bagatelle compared to the weather or more specifically rain. Every other weather condition can be coped with but rain has the ability to turn your beautifully printed leaflets into a papier-mâché representation of The Blob. Modern waterproof and breathable clothing means that the campaigner can stay dry but it seems to be impossible to stop water from running into your leaflet collection. If I was leafleting in the Atacama Desert it wouldn't be a problem but it has been known to rain in Lochaber, no, really, it does sometimes.

The preceding few paragraphs highlight some of the things that can go wrong while leafleting. So, why do it? Well, it can be great fun and it is good physical exercise. Amusing anecdotes usually describe where things go wrong but I could fill as much space, and more, with stories of encouragement and support when encountering members of the public. It really lifts your spirits when people say "Yes Campaign, you've come to the right house" or "you've made my day" as you hand them your leaflet.

However, most importantly though leafleting really makes a difference. Yes Scotland is a grassroots campaign with very little support in the unionist dominated mainstream media. Yes campaigners can get the facts across either in face-to-face situations such as street stalls or in written communication including printed leaflets. A really good leaflet can challenge people's mainstream media fed assumptions and it arrives unprompted on their door mat. Once people start questioning what they are being told by these vested interests they start moving towards a Yes vote. If you can convince a "no" or "don't know" to a Yes it is a one-way street, there is no going back.

Just one last thing to say; Posties of the world, I salute you.

ATTENTION!

This is an archived copy of the Yes Highland website created prior to the referendum in September 2014.

If you are looking for the current website please go to https://yeshighland.net.

Yes Lochaber