My friend, and friend to many, Leonard Johnson, has boarded his last flight it seems and I'm struggling to fully comprehend what that means.
Lenny (as most of us knew him) stood out from the crowd and was very much a solitary friend. His turns of phrases, his quips, his jokes, his stereotypes, his questions that he knew were troublesome, his carefree casual charm, and above all his sense of friendship.
Being back in the town in which I went to secondary school I have made contact with a few friends from back in those days. One such catch up was in a car in Spalding Town Centre. As we sat down I commented how little it has all changed. My friend looked about to disagree so I fell back in an adage I learnt at University: "Everything is different but nothing has changed". On that we were able to agree.
As I went for my morning run - it was my best distance yet. Now I'm no natural runner, until now I haven't enjoyed it, but the long quiet flat roads here makes running a fun and thoughtful activity. It clears my mind, enables me to think on things and develop new ideas or clear lists of things to action.
It's been a sharp and aching learning curve (my back and calves bear testament to that), but it's fun and real and fruitful! The pile of herbs, chutney and sauces and the bottles of fruit juice pay testament and will be enjoyed for some weeks to come.
So in the course of just over a week I feel like I have worked in most parts of my parents fairly large and quite complex garden.
So I'm interested in history: Roman Britain and the Empire at large, Saxon England fascinates me, the English Civil War is a particular passion and I am motivated by local history.
I'm beginning to get life into a bit of semblance, order, almost a personal ritual. First up is collecting the fallen apples and pears - today 6 apples, 4 pears - then the morning photographs. Today is misty, very misty, a deep grey white cloak absorbing all with a light drip-rain drizzle. And as I collect and wander round the garden to explore the weather change, I take care to dance and skip and tread round the slugs and snails who have not yet slumbered home after the evening feast of herbs, apples and shrubs.
Just sitting in the open space that is the actual garden of my parents here in Pode Hole it's amazing just how quickly you make friends. Not with people, you understand (though my parents are very grateful for the effort I'm putting in) but with the insects, birds and assorted other visitors.
So I'm at my parents house here in South Lincolnshire. I joke about it and laugh to my friends but sitting here as the evening drops I am reflecting on where I actually am.
Their house is a bungalow - it's not unusual - space for building property around here is not really a problem. The house is set back from the road and you drive off the road and you have a sense of levels. For south Lincolnshire is floodland - the full range of The Wash where the ocean of the Atlantic comb round East Anglia and supple up into the Rivers Witham and Welland amongst others.
The light of the dark
If falls and rises blanketing me
But the thing I notice the most
And only ever truly remember
Is the extremes of the light and dark
When it's night I look for the colour
When light I explore the dark
And so I'm not scared of one
Not over fascinated by the other
I can enjoy both to the full
And I save excess for laughter
To share with my friends and soul
In the darkness and in the light
The oldest road in Britain - crammed with 2,000 years of history - a feast of famous people born and lived here and yet the story of Kilburn and critically the Kilburn High Road is one of the least known stories.
(This article was first published on Liberal Democrat Voice www.libdemvoice.org)
If it didn’t exist would you create it? Well based on tonight, the answer for the London Gay Men’s Chorus was a resounding Yes.
As thousands of members of the LGBT community poured into Soho, supported by friends, family and a host of straight allies - everyone was very uncertain. The nervousness was palpable with no-one clear about what was going to happen next. There were a few attempts to get a political chant going, but the crowd was more contemplative. As the hour of 7pm approached there was a hanging sense of expectation in the air.
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