And After began.

The dishwasher slurps. There’s a chill in our rented-but-for-free-from-a-mate newly refurbed Soho apartment. Not sure how to readjust the heating. So feet will have to stay chilled. Coffee’s on. That’ll warm me up. Trace is in bed. Dozing. Not quite ready to face the day.

London is getting up to a Monday morning again. A new build next door is having its aluminium fire-escape stairs delivered, unloaded by gloved hands from a fleet of flat-bed white vans. From the window, more white vans, more high vis vests. Deliveries for the start of another new week.

It’s snowing. In London. Carefree, drifting flakes at first, then a steady stream, as though joining the white vans and behooded walkers on their way to work.

About this time two years ago, I remember feeling normal.

I’d been to the gym, I was on my way to a kick-off meeting with a new client, I’d discovered a new album, the weather wasn’t so bad. I was driving Mario-the-Mini to collect points on the young drivers black box, for Izzy’s return. A Friday, I was thinking about what to do at the weekend. I called Trace.


Part of the day’s excursion was a boat trip.

Then, later that morning, on a Virgin train to Leeds central, around noon, my world came crashing in.

And After began.

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