Well, it's been a fantastic day today. I've spent it in the company of some fabulously enthusiastic Liberal Democrat candidates for the Council elections next May, in some 244 days' time, at a training day run by the Association of Scottish Liberal Democrat Councillors in Perth.
From Caithness to Dumfries and Galloway, fired up campaign teams came to learn from the best Liberal Democrat campaigners (and me).
I have to give a special mention to ALDC's Mark Alcock for being a complete superhero. We don't have the August Bank Holiday up here so I hadn't factored it in when we were organising the event. He had to give up his bank holiday weekend to come up and he really deserves huge amounts of thanks for doing so without complaining.
We heard from Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson on his group's phenomenal success in Portsmouth, making gains when the rest of us suffered in May.
And our brilliant former President Ros Scott called in with her husband the Hon Lady Mark just to say hello to a few friends as they were here on holiday - and found herself being spirited on to a panel discussion so her visit was longer than she might have intended. It was so good to see them. I have some photos, but Blogpress will strop if I try to upload them now, so I'll do it later.
I have to say that the lunch at the Grampian Hotel in Perth was one of the best I've had at one of these events. After a morning of intense training, you really need a robust buffet lunch. Their quiches, sausage rolls, vol au vents, pasta salads and Coronation Chicken baguettes were delicious. Good, old fashioned, honest to god comfort food.
And then there was Willie Rennie. Leaders tend to breeze in and out of these events, delivering a motivational speech and then rushing off to the next thing. Willie pitched up at lunch time and spent the whole afternoon talking to as many people as he could, finding out about what was going on in their area and advising like only a true campaigner could. He's already been out and about in every single council by-election since he became leader in May.
He closed off the event at the back of 4 with some challenging and motivating remarks. And, no, I'm not about to tell you exactly what he said.
Fraser MacPherson and I did a session on blogging and the like. I got very brave and allowed my iPad to be passed around the assembled throng. My warnings that I would kill anyone who damaged it appeared to be well heeded as it was returned to me unblemished.
And there's always one who has to get the last laugh. On this occasion it was the person who turned up with a bottle of yellow children's paint just as Willie had been introduced to give him the same welcome as he'd had in Glasgow the other night, but with the right colour this time. They didn't take the top off, though. The audience seemed to like it - there's nothing like a bit of childish fun to round off a hard day's work.
The only thing is, I now have a yellow paint splurge on my black top because the bottle was leaking a bit - for it was I who was responsible for the tomfoolery.
The mood today was realistic, but upbeat. People are fired up and ready for the challenges of the next 8 months.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad