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.

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