Probably like many, I went to sleep the other night with the radio on so that I could follow the progress of the American presidential election through the night. Only, what actually happened was what happens every time I fall asleep with the radio on: I had a restless night’s sleep.
Each time I woke I also reached for my mobile phone which was lying face down on my bedside table, I turned it over, brushed my finger across the fingerprint reader to unlock it and tapped at the BBC News app as my face lit up from its feint glow. One question: who is winning? Please let it be Biden.
Of course, two days later and we’re still waiting.
Every election night I am reminded of that general election night in 1997, the one where Labour overturned the Conservative government and put Tony Blair into Number 10.
This week I’ve started a project to restore a very precious gift, from a very precious period of my life, my Moulinex blender lamp.
In the autumn of 1996, I moved into Flat 3, Lansdowne Centre, Law Street, Bermondsey. At the time I thought this would be a sojourn before moving in with a friend but I settled in quickly and it remains today one of the best places I’ve ever lived.
Between 1995 and 1997 I lived and worked in central London in three homeless hostels run by the Shaftesbury Society. I spent the longest time at Lena Fox House (LFH) on Crimscott Street in Bermondsey and not long after we opened I worked alongside a lovely Welshman called Dave Smith.
We didn’t work long together but our friendship and trust went deep quickly and his is a friendship that I still value today. Two memories stick in my mind about Dave.
I’m back today from a whirlwind tour of three of my closest friends from National Youth Choir of Great Britain (NYCGB) days to Manchester, Wokingham and London.
On Thursday I traveled down to Manchester to see my “gr8 m8” Danny Curtis. Dan’s parents very kindly took us out for dinner in the evening: Italian. (The food, not his parents.)
On Fridaymorning Danny went off to work while I stayed in to watch some DVDs and get some writing done (I’m trying to write another book, you know). In the general absence of suitable-height tables in his house, I found a tallboy (chest of drawers) that was just right to be used as a standing desk. I got about 1,500 words written, which I was pleased about.
On Friday afternoon we drove to Wokingham in Berkshire to stay with Mike and Rachel Jeremiah. How wonderful to see Mike again twice in the same year — I used to live across the road from Mike in 1995 on Camberwell Road, London.
Saturday saw us catch a train into London, amongst some very well-dressed boys and girls heading to Ascot. There we were met by the Revd Jonathan Coore and his youngest son (my godson) who took us to see the parish he is now rector of. This was followed by a drink in a café at the Oxo building on the Thames and a walk back to Waterloo to meet up with another NYCGB contact, Julian, for lunch. Then it was back to Wokingham for an excellent home-made curry beneath an electrical storm.
We left Wokingham at 08:45 this morning and “Emma” (my CoPilot GPS) guided us back to the M4, A404 (trunk road not found!), M40 and M6 to allow me to catch my train from Manchester Piccadilly at 14:16.
At the station I met a friend, Patrick, from Join Me Edinburgh days which was wonderfully random.
As I’d managed to get a really cheap 1st class ticket I rather enjoyed sitting in relative luxury (well, a seat to myself and as much leg-room as I could eat) and get some more writing done, as well as tuck into a new book about how our minds are organised.
All in all, a pretty good few days filled with friends, a little singing and much laughter.