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– and it’s not a bad place to be today! The Spring weather’s taken a turn for the worse up in’t Pennines. There’s a chill wind, rain and threats of snow (in fact, as I typed this, it started hailing), so I’m happy to be catching up on paperwork, picture-editing and listening to the news – most of which is depressing.

The death of former IRA leader Martin McGuinness features in many reports. Understandably, his memory generates strong feelings from some, but there’s no doubt that , without the willingness of him and others to reject the bullet for the ballot box, ‘the troubles’ would still be with us. I lived in London for nearly 25 years and experienced first-hand the devastation that the IRA wrought. In 1996 I was still living in the East End. I was at home the night the massive South Quay bomb detonated. We lived over a mile North of the explosion in Bromley by Bow, but we though our windows were going to blow in. The blast rattled the hell out of them – and us. I’m glad to see the back of those times which were far more dangerous than today’s hysteria around Islamic extremism. The IRA killed for more UK citizens than Islamists ever have. So, I’m grateful to McGuinness for being part of bringing those days to an end. There’s a lesson in what he did for anyone who wishes to learn it. Who would have thought that two implacable enemies, McGuinness and the Unionist firebrand the Rev Ian Paisley  would form such a rapport that they would earn the sobriquet ‘the chuckle brothers’?

Right, enough of philosophising, I’ve work to do…

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