I left with Kate's words ringing in my ears - "don't be late back for your birthday surprise". I was to make the journey to Chelmsford to pick up a car load of toys to give to disadvantaged families in the run up to Christmas.
I drive listening to the radio and thanking God for the new leader of the opposition. Nothing to do with the fact that the Conservatives have gone with a Tony Blair clone just as Labour have done with that image. Nothing to do with the fact that the impending news of "which David?" which has been frankly a little tedious is now ended. No! it had everything to do with the fact that everyone interviewed made mention of the freshness of youth that he will inject into British politics; his youthful outlook; his boyish charm - David Cameron is 39! Yes I remember being 39 as if it were yesterday. Suddenly turning 40 today is less of an issue!!
Driving back to Poplar with the company of a disorientated yet chirpy Furby - I wonder about the big surprise that I am going to have to be surprised about. Half an hour later I am back in the office. "Gordon... there is someone to see you!".... "oh really" I think as I walk through to the community lounge and into a 'tuneless' rendition of 'Happy Birthday'.
You know what? There was a surprise - I am not sure I could have ever imagined the group who 'surprised' me on my 40th birthday, but I wouldn't have swapped that group for the world. There was something profoundly significant for me sharing my cake with Patrick, Victor, Marcus and others that I have journeyed with over the years while at Poplar.
The surprise was a real gift to me.