The 4th of July may be celebrated by Americans as the anniversary of their independence from England. But it holds another significance for me.
On the morning of the 4th of July 1978, Heather and I flew from a blue skied Fiumicino on a non-IATA approved Air Zambia flight and arrived at a grayer Gatwick. There’d been four of us waiting for the flight in Rome. We watched the plane fly in, the bare metal from the worn off paint glinting in the 6am Mediterranean sun. Upon touch down the captain came out and announced there was room for just two. The priest lifted his skirts and was up the steps before you could say “Holy Exorcism”. A child then sat on a lap. Another passenger sat in a steward’s jump seat. Heather and I then boarded and we were off.
As with so many things in my life, I had no real idea what the plan was. I did have a job waiting in Soho, but Heather would search for months after our arrival. We did have temporary accommodation in Stoke Newington. I think I thought my arrival in the UK was for a few years. Little did I know – and even less did I think about it. Looking at our children and how strategic they are with their careers and moves I feel I was slapdashedly cavalier back then.
So today is the anniversary of my arrival to the UK – and Heather’s return – 35 years ago. Our children were born and live here. I guess it’s home.
As for American independence, I have two words. Piers Morgan. Vengeance is ours.