June 2

Man On Ledge was saddened by the news today about Charles Kennedy. He always seemed like a clever and decent man, possessed of sharp wit and a proper sense of humour, something so often discouraged in our politicians and indeed in public life. For the former Liberal Democrat leader to have died at only 55 is shocking, and a sad conclusion to a once high-flying life. He was only 23 when he was elected as MP for Ross, Cromarty and Skye in 1983 for the SDP/Lib-Dem Alliance (what an age ago that arrangement seems). His easy TV manner earned him the nick-name of Chat Show Charlie, yet he was a serious man beneath that, as shown by his principled opposition to the war in Iraq. He was a man with the common touch, and a man with acknowledged drink problems. A proper, complex human being, in other words, high-flying then brought low. A full life emptied far too soon.

If I my bottom was still parked in the office, this is the sort of topic we would probably be chatting about over the computer screen. The lack of company is one of the challenges of working from home. My time doing this is too short to draw conclusions, yet the company will certainly be missed. There is a lot of incidental companionship in an office, people to chat to, people to say hello to. At home today there is only the cat and me, and the cat is asleep, curled up in a feline self-embrace of fur and warmth (unlike the writer, who is a bit of an insomniac, prone to yawning away the day).

At work there was the tea room/kitchen or whatever, a mini hub of conversation, a place for gossipy communion, somewhere to catch up. I don’t expect to find anyone in our kitchen when I go down to switch on the kettle. No one will wander in while the kettle boils. At least I hope not, as it would be a shock rather a comfort.

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