By rights I should have posted this on Friday but I got in way too late, having been at a dinner celebrating the first anniversary of the election of Willie Rennie MP.
Now, much more important than the political significance of the occasion, was the quality of the food, which was absolutely fantastic. I started with pate and oatcakes with plum chutney, which I knew would be a winner from our work Christmas lunch, then I had roast beef, which was gorgeous. Usually when you go to these affairs, the beef is much more overcooked than I would like it to be but this was perfect. I finished off with meringue, cream and lots of fruit. The portions were a decent size (unless you had the melon starter). So, where was this wonderful place? The Wood Mill restaurant in Dunfermline. The owners of that also have Oohla's restaurant, which just happens to be across the road from the office and we almost inevitably end up there if we are working at weekends.
Anyway, it was a fabulous night. Over the last few weeks, I've been enjoying quite a few flashbacks to the campaign - the suboptimal, shall we say, political background, the long hours worked by the campaign team, the joy of outnumbering the opposition anywhere we found them. For a campaigner, it was the ultimate learning experience.
I will never forget the moment when I found out we'd won. I'd really felt for a few days that it was on the cards - you know your message is getting across when you start to hear it back from people on the doorsteps, and you could just feel it in the air. Anyway, after the polls closed, my friend Liz and I had the glamorous job of heading to Tesco to buy bin bags. We decided as well that we would buy ourselves some half decent wine to drink - but forgot that we couldn't as it was after 10pm. Anyway, we did our shopping and then I realised that my car was running on the whiff of an oily rag. My mobile phone rang just as we were pulling in to the petrol station. I know you're not supposed to answer them, but when I saw it was Somebody Who Was Likely to Know Something, I couldn't resist. As that person told me that we had won by around 2000 votes, I shouted out some extremely bad language. Liz thought that it had all gone disastrously wrong, but when she realised the truth, we cheered all the way down the road to HQ.
Party leader Nicol Stephen and Willie Rennie both gave very positive speeches about our prospects in May and particularly our hopes to elect Jim Tolson as MSP for Dunfermline West and Alex Cole Hamilton, Andrew Arbuckle and Peter Barrett as list MSPs for Mid Scotland and Fife. All the signs are good, but the next 81 days will be an exhausting blur.....