THE DIARIES OF PAUL K LYONS - 1988
On returning to London in 1987, I had resettled into my Kilburn house, a four-bedroom terrace in Aldershot Road. Barbara and Adam were less than a mile away in West Hampstead, but were to be found often enough in Aldershot Road. New lodgers came to live with me, my cousin Martin from Bulgaria, and Caroline, a dancer, both of whom helped create a warm and lively atmosphere.
Every second weekend, Barbara, Adam and I tried to get to our cottage in Aldeburgh; but, 1988 was to prove the most difficult year for Barbara and I (though I’ve edited out from my diary much about the tensions between us). Becoming parents puts astonishing pressures on people, for all kinds of different reasons, and in our case uncovered cracks in our relationship and personalities, the same ones perhaps that had always led me to believe it would be too difficult for B and I actually to live together as a couple. Indeed, I guess it was living apart that - in the long run - allowed our small unconventional family to survive - no, more than that, to thrive, for a decade or so. But, as I say, 1988 was probably the hardest year in our long and otherwise very loving friendship; and this perhaps led to me spending longer periods of time with Adam alone - always a joy - than I might have done otherwise.
I had landed on my feet with the job at FT Newsletters, and I profited from the company having such a hands-off management style - allowing its editors much independence. I re-launched a defunct supplement providing subscribers with energy profiles of European countries - which gave me a pretext to visit places like Finland, Iceland, Ireland. And, I launched a new title on European Community energy issues - a subject that in time would become the main focus of my work. In 1988, I also travelled to Belgium and New York on business, and went twice to my step-father’s flat in Antibes for holidays.
In October, I started a two year part-time MSc in biological anthropology at University College - for no other reason than having had, for a long time, an intense interest in evolution issues. The course involved me in attending lectures and tutorials several times a week during office hours - a feat I managed thanks to three factors: by cycling I could nip back and forth across central London quickly; by working early and late I could appear industrious; by having an assistant editor I could cover my back! I dithered over signing up to the course until I learned that University College ran an excellent creche for staff and students. Thus, aged 15 months Adam began nursery life; and, taking him in and/or collecting him from the nursery became part of my rather hectic daily routines.
Paul K Lyons (April 2015)