Did you come here from Google trying to find out which bit of the Houses of Parliament you need for Black Rod’s Garden Gate? It’s the opposite end of the building to St Stephen’s Tower, where Big Ben is. Ask any police officer and they’ll be happy to point you in the right direction
One of the disadvantages of blogging is that sometimes when interesting things happen to you, you’re concentrating less on the moment, and more on how you’re going to write it up later on. So today as I was walking from St Pancras to the House of Lords, my mind was partly taken up with an inner narrative describing what what I was doing.
It’s been a lovely day, and really I was too hot in a suit and woolen overcoat, and I should have left the laptop and books at home since I didn’t actually need them apart from keeping myself busy on the train, when a newspaper would have done just as well.
I took a slightly different route from last time I walked from the railway station to the Palace of Westminster, avoiding the Tottenham Court Road and Whitehall to walk through Bloomsbury (how different Russell Square looks in the daylight) and St James Park. As always, I arrived in London with plenty of time to spare so spent a few minutes hanging around under St Stephen’s Tower, and got nobbled by a market researcher who wanted to ask me what I’d seen of the Metropolitan Police’s advertising campaign about terrorism and the Crimestoppers service. Practically nothing, it would seem. In the brief time I’d been in London I hadn’t noticed any of their ads; I don’t listen to commercial radio or watch much TV that isn’t taped American serials, so all their ad-buy telling Londoners that terrorists are everywhere had completely passed me by.
Eventually time came round to presenting my invite to a reception from that nice Lord Rennard at Black Rod’s Garden Entrance, and I was ushered into the House of Lords. Or at least a very small part of it called the Atlee Room. The event was there to promote top level Lib Dem PPCs (the ones the electorate will probably be sending to Westminster in a few weeks’ time) to lobby journalists on regional newspapers and regional TV channels. My job was basically to support a talented candidate from Leicestershire, but fundamentally, she’s such a good candidate (sorry, I mean ‘local campaigner’) that she really doesn’t need much support from the likes of me.
I felt a bit of a spare wheel in the first few minutes of the reception, drinking rather nice apple juice and helping myself to canapes as they passed, not really talking to anyone. Then I got a chance to check in with my candidate and see how she felt she’d done with a TV interview earlier in the day, and admire the TV makeup she was still wearing, and whilst I was engaged in that, a London colleague brought over two dishy young men representing newspapers and TV stations in the East Midlands. After that, I started drinking the wine instead of the juice, and the conversation flowed a little more freely. Lord Rennard intervened eventually for a brief speech, I got gently handed around the room to speak to some more PPCs and journos as stewards brought round more canapes and wine. One of the older staff told me he liked my hair. Which was nice.