A week or so ago Bob Piper tagged me with the meme asking what were you doing when Princess Diana died, Thatcher resigned, the planes flew into the twin towers, Lineker scored, and Kennedy was assassinated.
Long-standing readers of this blog will know where to find at least three of the answers, but here for the record are my responses, although I'm not going to tag anyone else as this one has been round the block a bit already.
1. Diana's death.
Visiting my mum's. "I'd gone there for the weekend to help her with the garden, but the news from Paris put paid to that. By 11am the following morning I was at my desk in the Commons helping my paper, the Newcastle Journal, put together its Diana coverage. I ended up writing a piece about how the marriage turned sour, though I'm not sure what qualified me, as political editor, to do that one."
In my old room in the Press Gallery (now the property of the Daily Mirror, I gather.) "We switched over to Sky News and watched as the plumes of smoke rose from the first tower, convinced we were watching the aftermath of a terrible accident. Then the second plane appeared. "Look, there's another one!" exclaimed a regional newspaper colleague. Almost as he said it, the other plane smashed into the second tower. For a moment, there was silence in the room, then someone said slowly "That was deliberate," and we all hit the phones to our head offices."
3. When Lineker Scored
The Rifleman's Arms, Bridge Street, Belper. "Germany scored a freak goal, an Andy Brehme free-kick that struck Paul Parker and looped over Peter Shilton's head, and we began to resign ourselves to the loss of our improbable World Cup dream. And then...and then...in the 81st minute, Gary Lineker got hold of a long through-ball, held-off the German defence and squeezed the ball into the far corner. The pub went wild. More wild than any place I have ever been in my life."
4. Thatcher's resignation
I was surprised to find I have never blogged on this, but the bizarre truth is that I was stuck on a train on my way to a job interview, so although I was the political reporter of the Derby Evening Telegraph at the time, I never actually covered the story for them! I remember two people getting on the train - possibly at Leicester - and saying that she had resigned. Unlike many lefties I felt no elation at her departure - I had wanted to see Michael Heseltine win as I thought it would mean much more enlightened government, but his chances disappeared the moment she quit.
5. Kennedy's Assassination
I was just over a year old, and don't remember it. I guess I must have been at our old house in Kenton, North London, where I spent the first eight years of my life.