When I got up at 5am on the 10th of October did I know what was going to happen that day? Heck no! If I did I would have made sure I would have gotten more sleep. Going to conference on 4 hours sleep is not a good idea! It didn’t help when my alarm clock failed to go off and I got up 10 minutes late. Still I met Joan in Newton Stewart in time and 3 or 4 hours later we were at the conference venue (after about ten minutes searching for it).
Joan and I parted as I had the first timer’s induction session. They gave us these yellow bags (which for the rest of the day marked us out as newbies). Soon it was the opening session and I remember being overwhelmed at the amount of people Joan knew and the amount of people I didn’t. Still that feeling of being apart from everyone else didn’t last long.
What possessed me to fill out that speaker card I don’t know to this day, all I know is that I had to borrow Joan’s pen because I forgot mine which was ever so slightly embarrassing. I quickly handed it back to her and handed my speakers card to the steward. I watched with a mix of anticipation and dread as my card got passed up. Half of my brain was crossing its fingers that I would get called and the other half was screaming what did you do that for?! Then I was told to stand by. I think that was one of the scariest moments of my life. I didn’t have a clue what I was going to say, I hadn’t even read the pre-manifesto and to top it off Danny Alexander entered the room. So no pressure then.
I thought my pulse could be seen in my neck from a mile away. The blood was thundering up and down my blood vessels as I got called up to speak. My head was so frenzied that I didn’t see the steps leading up to the stage, so I just stepped up on to the stage in my high heels. I was petrified of falling. When I got to the lectern I began to talk.
What I said I really don’t know. I know people laughed at a joke and at the end there was brilliant applause. I stepped carefully down from the podium still not quite aware that I had spoken in front of Tavish Scott, Michael Moore and Danny Alexander. When I sat down Joan enthusiastically congratulated me and the rest of the day felt like a really brilliant dream.