London holds a very special place in my heart. I lived there for 7 1/2 years in the 80s and it was one of the happiest periods in my life, not without its low points, but my overwhelming memories are of friends and the time we shared together. There was a church, St Leonard's in Streatham, against which I have judged all other churches and found them wanting. And then there is the city itself, of which Boswell once wrote "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
A number of my old friends have now left London, or moved away from Streatham, and one died suddenly last year. The congregation at St Leonard's is filled with unfamiliar faces and Geoffrey has retired as rector. I have left my job in the City and sold our flat. I don't belong there any more, at least not physically. My visits are increasingly as a tourist or a protester. But as the coach sailed over the Hammersmith flyover yesterday morning there was still a tiny part of me that thrilled at the prospect of coming home.