The budget. I’ve done a few — enduring an unbroken series of budget lockdowns between 1996 and 2021 — including 1997, when a miscommunication between the Cape Times parliamentary staff and Business Report left me with a blank page to fill at the 11th hour. The thought of telling Peter Bruce, the editor, filled me with such dread that I just panicked my way through with consecutive cups of coffee.

Claustrophobic in my latter years, I no longer find the prospect of being sealed in a stuffy office in the parliamentary precinct from the crack of dawn terribly appealing. I would look down, through the narrow windows on the parliamentary stairwell, on the protesting throngs below and dream of freedom at 2pm...

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