Sunday with Tom Watson: ‘Since I left politics, I’ve been given Sundays back’

Are you an early riser? I wake up between 5.30am 6.30am. I can never lie in – politics gave me that. I start the day with a stylised coffee-making ritual that involves grinding coffee beans. But coffee isn’t breakfast. That comes mid-morning after a fasted run – if I’m feeling virtuous! I’ll cook bacon, lean sausages, mushrooms and eggs, or a cheesy omelette, so whoever’s in the house gets a really good breakfast.

Sunday soundtrack? I’ll listen to jazz or the John Wilson Orchestra – they do big numbers from Hollywood films like Oklahoma. I read voraciously and I’ve run out of room for books, so I’ll often listen to crime novels on Audible. During lockdown I spent Sunday mornings pottering round the kitchen listening to everything ever written by Arthur Conan Doyle, and I’ve just finished the latest Robert Galbraith.

Sundays growing up… My dad would take us to what was known in the 70s as a working men’s club. He’d drink beer with his mates and we’d have two bottles of Coke and a packet of crisps, then we’d go back and Mum would have a roast beef joint for lunch. Our Sunday treat was pop. Me and my brother and sister loved it, and whoever poured it had the last glass, so it was poured fairly between the glasses.

A special Sunday? When I was at the height of my powers, I’d get a table booked at the Groucho Club. I loved sitting there with the kids, reading the Sunday papers. I’d put on my airs and graces, drinking white wine with the starter and red with the main course.

What makes a Sunday special? When I was a politician, I’d work every Sunday and I’d often do Sunday-morning media. Since I left politics, I feel like I’ve been given Sundays back, and it’s made me more aware of the seasons. In spring and summer I’ll tend my vegetable patch, and in winter I’ll wrap up for a walk in the Wyre Forest.

Downsizing by Tom Watson is published by Kyle Books. Paperback out now (£8.99)

The Guardian

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