News

News comes at us all the time, names and faces and events that pass like passengers glimpsed on a train leaving an underground station.

Sometimes you catch a single face or figure as it draws away and it lingers in your mind

Yesterday morning I heard the news of  the assassination of the Pakistani politician and businessman, Salman Taseer, who was murdered by one of his own bodyguards.

Now I am reminded of him, as I see his face in the newspaper on the hall table of Dennis and Sue’s house where I have been invited for lunchtime drinks.

A poor Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was involved in a local village dispute. Her enemies accused her of blasphemy against the Koran and she was condemned to death. Taseer defended her, and criticised the law.

I was shocked to read that, for this, many clerics publicly called for Taseer to be killed. His smirking killer was showered with rose petals by lawyers outside the court.

I continue to think about Taseer while ostensibly listening to an intense, slightly dishevelled woman at the drinks party. She is describing her work, how she is about to return to Brussels where she works for a lobby called Preheat, which seeks to influence the European Commission on issues relating to heat storage. (She speaks slightly to the side and some children are playing with a games console in the corner of the room. Those things together make her hard to hear, so my mind has wandered).

Another guest comes by and says: “I heard you mention Preheat, a company I know well.” It turns out he is talking about a heating installation company based on the South Coast.

While they disentangle this coincidence I slip away.

I don’t sleep well at the moment. I wrote this in the middle of the night. Then I stopped and went back to bed.

I dozed fleetingly, waking with a start from a dream in which I was in a dark corridor underground and could feel creatures moving on all the walls around me. Someone had been guiding me round a building, then pushed me through a door and locked it behind me.

I dozed off, but again woke up with a start, for I thought I had heard lashes, like a great stock whip, very regular. But it too was a dream.

What crazy things the mind does…