The words weren’t coming. I’d also run out of biscuits.

It was a rare confluence of events that led me at three o’clock in the afternoon to walk “up” town (as we say in these parts). I very rarely walk up town and especially not at three o’clock when it is busy because the schools are coming out. Yet I did just that on Tuesday, through the bawling kids and bawling mothers. And that’s how I came to spot the Conservative candidate for St Helens North. I was surprised he wasn’t bawling too.

He’d just emerged from the railway ticket office and he looked so lonely. That’s all I can really say about a young man, a hundred and sixty miles from home, trying to smile as a scruffy northerner with a Movember beard trudged towards him. I must have stared at him for too long. I tried to smile back. It’s not something we do much around here. The perpetual scowl like the new beard and customary scruffiness is defensive.