It is traditional that, if I am involved in a European Parliamentary candidate selection, that there will be a complication. Most of the time, it has involved being somewhere a long way away when a key part of the process was scheduled.
In 1997, I missed all of the hustings, as I had booked a holiday before even being appointed as Returning Officer. In 2002, I had to approve the manifestos via a somewhat unreliable internet connection from a hotel in Buenos Aires.
In 2007, I did something different. I met Ros, and by the time we reached the shortlisting phase, we were engaged. It would be fair to say that I was a mite distracted throughout.
And so, on the day that applications for the selection closed, where was the Chair of the Shortlisting Committee? In the departure lounge at Vancouver Airport, heading for Portland, Oregon. After all, we're not scheduled to carry out shortlisting interviews until September, and everything else is the responsibility of the Returning Officer. Besides, Ros and I needed a holiday.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, the sun is shining, it's pleasantly warm and, after a pleasant enough flight yesterday, we are jetlagged out of our minds - we are now eight time zones away. To come, sea otters and Alaskan ferries, a Lords reunion and a gold rush to the Yukon, some of the best craft-brewed beers and more seafood than you can shake a crab stick at. There will be politics, as we're in the US as the Presidential campaign heats up and turns nasty.
So, enjoy the Olympics, we'll be back soon...