Getting into parliament by the peers’ entrance is so much more civilised than St Stephen’s, the main public-entrance to both houses of parliament.
Whereas at St Stephen’s you may have to queue for ages on a long ramp, outside in the rain, followed by the kerfuffle of security, at the peers’ entrance you walk straight in. You still have to have your photo taken and hung round your neck and to shove your bag and coat through the security, but it all happens in no time. Today it was so quick that my photochromic lenses were still dark from the sunlight and my photo made me look distinctly shady.
You have to have an appointment with a peer to go in that way. Waiting for my host, I sat comfortably beside rows of coathooks, each labelled with a peer’s name. Some had shoebags dangling from them, just like school (all that was missing was the smell of lax boots and oil), some had wooden or plastic coat-hangers, carefully named lest they get pinched. There was a pleasant informality about it all.