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Fond Farewell From Stephen Suri

19.08.16

There are 7 years’ bad luck for breaking a mirror. I’ve always thought this excessive. Roughly, there are 4 cat years to each human year. One can verify this, fairly easily, by consulting Riley the Cat at Jesmond Dene House. On average, in the UK, the term of a life sentence is 15 years. It is a stock joke for men who have been married a very long time to lament that they’d have served less time for murder.

Today, on my last day here, I leave having spent just shy of 9 years at Jesmond Dene House. It’d be trite to insert, here, the punchline that this term has felt like the sum of murdering someone with a broken mirror. But that’d be a lie. In truth, as I look back, I realise that I will be leaving behind not just colleagues but close, life-long friends. I doubt very much that I shall ever again work in such a majestic building nor setting nor get to meet the kinds of people I’ve been privileged enough to meet during my time at Jesmond Dene House. Professional until the last, I shan’t offer any names but stars of screen and stage (and a famous cartoonist). In short, I have grown up at Jesmond Dene House – literally and professionally – and my overarching feeling is of luckiness (to have been a part of this for so long) and fondness.

Its contagion has got me, now, and I’m forever destined to be entwined with Jesmond Dene House. I know I’ll be back, if only as a guest (amazingly, somebody has agreed to marry me next year and long-lost family members will require somewhere to stay). I feel almost envious of those just starting, or about to start, at Jesmond Dene House – a wonderful place to work.