Back after two days on the road, with posts to write, but no time until tonight -apart from this meander while I have a coffee. And its nice to be home too - to check up on the big building conversion project, to see how much damage the deer have done to the garden, and to reconnect with the blog.
Now I'm just a country boy, who over the last few years ventured forth from the farm, and learned to cope (sort of) with the initially unsettling sophistication of Cardiff. Owning a nice little flat in the Bay helped by creating the 'familiar surroundings' to which I could beat a retreat from the dangerous world of sharp suits and power heels when needed. Cardiff has been an ideal 'half way house' preparation for the awesome challenge of London. The good news today is that I've just come through what's been a testing experience. Have to admit that the 'fuel price protest' outside Parliament did make me feel quite at home. I strolled over for a photograph with them, expecting my more worldly old mate, Brynle Williams to be there with his placard.
Yesterday, it was a very nice Claire House Children's Hospice lunch in the Atlee Room in the House of Lords. The place has an almost serene, country-quiet atmosphere. I was sitting next to Baroness Golding, who severely tested my confidence with the sheer ferocity of her opinions. She's from Caerphilly. But I settled down when she told me that she was into foxhunting, horse and dog racing, fishing and boxing. She's a member of the board which regulates British boxing. After an hour I began to feel quite at home. She was so disbelieving when I told her that I thought I was in with a shout in Montgomeryshire, that I offered to buy her dinner if I were to win. She accepted the offer if she could decide where - to which I replied that it depended whether MPs were being paid at all by then. As walking out, I was almost run down by an official looking car. Sitting in the back seat, busying himself with lists and statistics was Gordon Brown himself.
Then things took another turn. I'd planned a meeting on the Terrace with another guest - but it was raining. So he suggested that we retired to a local tearoom called Claridge's. Have to admit that it seemed even more sophisticated than Cardiff. Even my ordinary cup of tea was called 'English Breakfast Tea'. But I think I fitted in rather well, mainly because I naturally 'cock my little finger' to drink tea from any dainty cup. Since I was a young lad my fingers have been so big that there's no room to hold the cup properly. It was a very nice tearoom though, even if it did seem a bit more pricey than I'm used to.
Things seemed to be going well, did take a turn for the worse later on. I'd moved on to another meeting in Chancery Lane, which seemed a most civilised place. But the underground train from there was terrifying. Just surrounded by heaving bosoms in embarrassingly close proximity. When I emerged, proudly unscathed I should say, into Paddington Station, I felt a bit as I did when I completed my first ever shopping expedition to Morrisons last year, when Mrs D was laid up acclimatising herself to a prosthetic knee.
Anyway its all over, and I've made it back to the farm. The thing about country boys is that they are surprisingly adaptable and resilient.