Thursday. What a strange day. I am sequestered in a large country house on the Northumbrian moors with a group of Dark Angels. All here is peaceful. Daffodils fringe the lawn, rabbits nibble beneath the budding leaves of an old beech tree, and from beyond the drive comes the sound of lambs. The sun is shining and there’s no mobile phone signal.
Inside the house there’s a log fire going and seven people are in the middle of a short exercise, reading and writing in silence. The concentration is intense and each person is in his or her own bubble, but the connections have begun to be made, and we seem to be in a state of companionable equilibrium.
And yet … and yet … Somewhere out there, over the moors and far away, a general election is underway. Politicians are making their last stands, banners are being flown and placards waved, polling booths are manned and people are casting their votes. The nation is holding its breath. And we feel it. I don’t know how far the nearest polling place is from here, but we feel it. Faintly perhaps, just a light disturbance in the air, an occasional breath of wind.
Later tonight the breeze will pick up. After dinner some of us will retire to the comfortable room with the TV and settle in, perhaps for a couple of hours, perhaps for the whole night. Jeremy Vine will do his ridiculous dance of the constituencies. Returning officers will relish their moment in the spotlight. Successful candidates will beam, unsuccessful ones will smile the rictus of defeat.
And by the time anyone reads this it will all be over. The results will be in and the horse-trading will probably have begun in the corridors and closed rooms of Westminster. And we will still be here in this peaceful, beautiful place, sensing vaguely that the world beyond the moor has changed. But for what remains of our stay here it just won’t matter. It won’t matter at all.
For a bubble of a slightly different kind, there are still places available on our personal insight workshop, The Stories We Tell, 6/7 June. More information here.