What a time to have been away – especially when the mother with whom I was supposed to have been away ended up staying at home in the town in which I was born and where she still resides.
For only the second time in its history (the first concerned the now-defunct airport), Croydon led the news on pretty much every channel in the world.
What a time to not have Sky or the BBC in our hotel room and need to rely on CNN’s dire coverage of the blaze that torched the furniture store one block away from the home in which I first lived, and to see the block of shops at the other end of that same road reduced to ashes.
What a time to discover just how unreliable Twitter is and to learn it is not worth staying up all night on the iPad reading, when there’s no hope at all of establishing the veracity, or otherwise, of whether the local Lidl, or the girls’ school at the bottom of my Ma’s garden, had been “done” (they hadn’t), or if there were feral “gangs armed with Molotov cocktails and bricks marching” down her road towards the local Tesco (there weren’t) or that much of central Croydon had been trashed (it had – unbelievably, it had).
There was also a huge feeling of professional dislocation: this was the biggest story in i’s brief history. Vicky Summerley and The Independent’s night editor Christian Broughton are more than capable of editing i – as was clear everyday via the downloaded iPad app – but it felt very strange not to be in the i newsroom.
One positive came out of last week: i achieved record sales on Tuesday and Wednesday (do I admit this as I was away?). So, thank you for having such faith in us to bring you serious news and analysis in what is usually supposed to be the silly season. Italy? It was bellissima, grazie for asking, but then you don’t need me to tell you that. A domani.