Category: UK and home
Hits: 1970

This morning an era truly ended.  I walked out of my flat in Douglas Court, Quex Road, London, NW6 and I pulled the door shut.  For the last time.  It was one of the most truly fightening things I have done.  It has been our rock, our castle, our retreat - safe space and great fun.  But times change and we move on.

But out of that flat and apartment we have married, we have hosted a party or two, forged friendships, cried and laughed.  In that time I have lost elections, won elections, travelled far far abroad - often further than either of us every imagined.
The flat was festooned with visual and virtual memories - the fireplace of tiles, the doorbell that still says 'Heatherwick', the height of those ceilings, the size of the entrance hall. And there have been major events in our life that have changed us for the richer and for the better - most notable of the most seismic events were American election night parties and the twelve seater dinner parties and the tea parties of cakes stands and tea pots.  
And yes there has been the hilarious and the bizarre: hosting some peace discussions on a geographic part of Somalia, my Uncle struggling to climb up the 'dodgy step', the key breaking and getting someone to break in, the flooding of the bathroom and more.
But the memories are strong - whilst living there we lost the amazingly beautiful and social friends Neil Trafford and Andy Lindup - the two events effectively bookending our time in the flat, but we leave those friendships enriched with the friendship of others as a result: Peter Paul and Pravesh by example.
But this morning as I walked room to room, now empty and themselves naked, I reflected on the life ahead with my husband Russell.  We have so much to do and so many places to walk, drive, fly and more.  We have dreams and ambitions.  We have friends to visits and to host.  And we have things to do for and with ourselves, our family and our friends.
So yes, I was tearful, as was Russell, but we are grateful.  Times have been rough, times have been fun, and indeed ludicrous and amazing, but they will not ever be repeated again.  As the oldest surviving Students Union President of Nottingham told me back in 1993 - "everything is different and nothing has changed" (Harold Jowitt, 1935).
So thank you everyone, thank you friends, the next chapter has started for good. But most of all thank you Nick Russell who made it possible in the first place.