|Sir Maximus Mouse, the Cheese Tycoon - "His whiskers twitch at the hint of a boom // His whiskers droop at the hint of a slump"|
To sit in a fusty, panelled office in EC4 with a view of St Paul's, dressed in a waistcoat and pince-nez, running my beady eyes up and down the columns of stocks and shares in the pages of the FT with only a ticker tape machine for company... Very heaven!
So what happened?!
I find myself an under-employed, penurious freelance journalist (of sorts) - that's my day job. The rest of the time I am an over-worked, penurious socialist agitator. Sometimes I find time to tap out a blogpost.
I am doing a stint at a trade magazine at the moment. I have worked on this publication for years, yet I am still very much the temp.
Something wonderful has happened now, however. They have moved offices from the rather boring top end of Shaftesbury Avenue to Bankside - that's the trendy new name for the area around Southwark Street where the Tate Modern is.
I used to work down here at St Christopher's House, now demolished, for the Department of the Environment. I worked in a section called Royal Parks and Palaces, I kid you not. Bankside power station was a semi-derelict building out the back of our offices. Tate Modern was probably still a gleam in a developer's eye.
Though the area now is half building site, the views are wonderful. I ate my lunch yesterday in front of Tate Modern, with a view of St Paul's.
Something even more wonderful happened the other day. I crossed London Bridge into the City. I thought I knew the City but I'd only skirted around the edges. I now discover I had never been there. I have now and now that I have found it I intend to explore every inch.
What a wonderful place, full of historic churches and alleys to explore, with semi- but not entirely familiar names such as St Mary Woolnoth and Walbrook. On Friday I poked my head in the door of St Margaret Pattens church. It is one of the 12 guild churches, and is associated with the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers and the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers. You can find out more about such gems on the website of Friends of the City Churches.
I am in heaven. Am I a hypocrite? No, this is the history of all of us. The guilds evolved, eventually, into trade unions - although the origins of the big general unions are somewhat different. (I'm sure I'll get around to musing on that next year, which is the 125th anniversary of the Match Women's Strike... Anyway, back to the present.)
I love the City, I love economy, I just think it's badly organised at present.
Behind the walls people are making money, not always honestly, as we can see from the latest banking scandal, which has only come to the eyes and ears of the common people this evening.
What does any of this have to do with Barnet?
The fact that we have had to bail out the banks, the fact that they have been so poorly regulated, is one of the main reasons that we are having our services cut. It is the ostensible reason for the austerity measures of the government, and it is the ostensible reason for the ruling Conservative group in Barnet forging ahead with their ludicrous "One Barnet" privatisation plan.
I'll be back in the thick of campaigning in Barnet soon. In the meantime I am working to replenish my depleted personal coffers, and storing up treasures of history and culture in my mind and heart.