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council business and cello-ing in Clerkenwell

A busy day yesterday.

It started at the Suffolk council cabinet meeting. J and I went along to add to the numbers. The council is planning a huge development of 2,000 houses next to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, seemingly disregarding smaller, more appropriate alternatives spaced less detrimentally around the area.

As one speaker dismissed fears of harm to the countryside, there was a groundswell of murmurs of protest and disbelief. Mistakenly, the chairman instantly called for silence, saying the council had important matters to talk over and the public were welcome to watch, but not comment.

Or presumably worry our pretty little heads about grown-up matters.

I wonder how he’d have reacted to rioting students or civil unrest, like in Egypt, if he felt threatened by a few middle class, middle-aged people quietly mumbling into their coffees.

This is such a beautiful part of the country. Once the area’s concreted over, it can’t be done.
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After that meeting, I went to visit a friend in Clerkenwell for lunch, wine and cello. We’ve been working on a piece called Silent Worship, and at points it flowed and both parts matched perfectly. I doubt the neighbours agreed, but it really lifted my spirits. Mike, my cello buddy, has one of the best views of London from his 12th floor tower block and is a warm and funny host (not just because he used to be a chef).
Since we moved last September, I haven’t missed London. It’s striking how quickly it spits you out. Going back in and glimpsing our old road, I didn’t feel any longing to be back there. And I never quite slotted back into the pace and bustle. It offers so much – you absorb so many lives by osmosis and can see and learn anything. But – thankfully – I don’t regret moving.

In the evening I had a call from my brother, P. He works as an HIV care coordinator in Cambridgeshire and has a sometimes harrowing job. He had regularly been visiting a client who had contracted the virus from his parents, who were drug addicts. He was very poorly and my brother was helping him eat, something he couldn’t manage by himself, when he passed away.
My brother is brilliant at his job. He’s compassionate but also gets angry when HIV is misrepresented or his clients are brushed aside.  I’m sorry and glad he was there. I hope you’ll send him good thoughts, too.


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