Lunch at The Houses of Parlaiment
Noon. The Journalist and I pass the statue of Oliver Cromwell on the gangway into The Houses of Parlaiment. I am reading at a lunch here in aid of NORCAP but first there’s a drinks reception on the terrace. At arms length the Thames rolls by. The lunch is hosted by Kate Adie who gives an enlightening talk on the history of adoption and then introduces me. I end my reading thus
“if you are an adopted child and you search for your birth parents it is a reflection of the quality and care from your adoptive parents but if you choose not to search then...” I paused for a millisecond. The audience is filled with adoptive parents “then it is a reflection of the quality and care from your adoptive parents.”
I spoke to Kate Adie about her speech. “When I give talks” she said “I learned a long time ago to only speak at events I know about or believe in”. As I am notreading poetry on stage until October 2010 her words were a comfort. The warm presence of Claire Short made my day. And that she enjoyed my readingmade it moreso . She resigned from The Cabinet over the Iraq war. Star.
Afterwards we all eat lunch. The Journalist and I sit with Ruth Fainlight and her husband Allan Sillitoe who wrote The Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner. I must buy Ruth’s book Burning Wire. We spoke throughout dinner about Ethiopia and Eritrea. Fainlight is fun and the conversation was like the water, clear and sparkling. But when Mrs Fainlight spoke of her brother Harry Fainlight there was a flicker across the screen of her spirit. I shall seek out his poems.
Chris waterman, who made this event happen, stood and tapped his wine glass then held auction of art pieces donated to raise money for NORCAP. A piece given by Tracey Emin” was won by Kate Adie. A strange tinkling bell rang throughout the commons. “It’s a call to prayer for the MP’s” said Waterman “bit like a mosque” whispered the journalist. “...as salamu alaykum” I whispered.