It's been a strange week. Half of my thoughts and attention on trying to finish, revise and edit a short story; the other half caught up in the most intriguing election I've ever experienced.
There hasn't been much time for blogging, but I've had so many conversations in the last few days. People have become eager to share their thoughts and convictions - whatever the colour of their politics - there is a willingness to consider and debate the options and the possible outcomes. That leaves me with a good deal of hope that something good will emerge from all this confusion.
I'm also left with a quite a lump of sadness.
My Dad was a politician, not at Westminster, although that was his, sadly unfulfilled, ultimate ambition. He was, instead a dedicated member then Leader of our local Council, an Alderman of the Greater London Council and a much respected member of his party. I have so many memories associated with previous elections. Barely seeing him for weeks on end, but then very proudly accompanying him to visit the local party offices, where groups of women were sitting stuffing envelopes; admiring his campaign portrait - head on one side, slight smile, posing with a pen and a pile of papers to sign, as an indication of his importance and value. I have vague images of my mum, worrying about her hair and her clothes for various functions. I can remember waking up in the early hours, hearing my parents return from a late-night count, knowing from the tone of their voices whether it had gone the right way.
Dad died a long time ago now, but election days still bring him very much into my thoughts. I've never quite got over my feelings of guilt that, no matter how strong and clearly reasoned my decision process, I don't and never have voted for the party he belonged to. Nevertheless, I can't help but wish that I had a chance to talk to him this week, to know his reaction to the way the campaign has gone - what he thought of the TV debates, the newspaper editorials, even the twitter streams and facebook groups that were never even imagined in his days. I would dearly love to know what he thought of the prospect of a hung parliament, a minority government or a coalition, and perhaps even changes to the electoral system.
When I was a kid he was the cleverest man in the world. He always knew the answer, and he could always explain things to me. Following the events of Thursday, and the continuing maelstrom of political conjecture and hyperbole, I'm sorry that I can't hear his voice putting it all into context for me.
So today, I shall pause for a while and raise a toast to Bernard Perkins, the best Prime Minister Britain never had.