Charles Dickens may as well have been talking about March 2017 when he wrote of “the best of times and the worst of times” – because that is what we had last week.

The drama started with the death of IRA “godfather” Martin McGuinness.

I really didn’t know enough about the man to comment on his life or his death but it is clear that the good he did in latter years did not heal the scars that those who lost loved ones during the murderous reign of the IRA.

And it was murderous – just like the attack in London.

By the way, before I leave Ireland, I have to say there was dreadful evil on both sides and, wherever McGuinness is now, he probably has Ian Paisley as a companion in eternity!

The dreadful, disgusting, horrific thing about terrorist attacks, whether the IRA, the Westminster killer Khalid Masood, the twin tower murderers, the shoe bomber and everyone else is that they do not aim to kill their enemy. They don’t fight face-to-face with an opposing army.

No. Their way of doing it is to murder, or attempt to murder, the innocent.

It doesn’t matter if they are men, women or children. They may be wearing a policeman’s uniform or strolling along Westminster bridge and gazing up at the Houses of Parliament as thousands of tourist do.

How long had a man from Utah and his wife been planning a trip to London to celebrate their silver wedding? How excited were they? Who saw them off at the airport back home? What celebrations were planned for their return – and who was there to collect him when he did return home in a coffin?

A young teacher on her way to collect her kids. What was she thinking about – the day she had had, what to cook for dinner, what the kids had been doing? We don’t know. But we know that this innocent woman is dead.

What about the policeman who never went home because he had given his life to protect others? What about the 75-year-old who died of his horrific injuries.

All of the above was the worst of times and how can the best of times follow? It can and it did.

Firstly, in the middle of the fear and panic of a terrorist attack people came forward to help with no thought to their own safety. Heroes were born on Tuesday, March 22.

Then, when it was all over, the people of London came together – not to blame or condemn but to stand shoulder to shoulder to unite in love and to show that terrorism does not destroy, in the end it only builds and strengthens communities.

All religions stood together, as did the non-religious and, as I heard one comedian say, “because it is London, there would have been Jedis there too”.

The wonderful notices that appeared on underground stations were inspirational. From the Blitz, through the IRA attacks of the 70s, the underground attacks in July 2005 and now this, London has showed that Noel Coward was not wrong when he sang about London Pride .

And now, for a change – as another comedian said last week – the rest of the country loves London and Londoners!

And the week ended in even more triumph. Despite everything London had gone through, despite those who remind us that charity should and must begin at home, Red Nose Day raised £71m on Friday night and that amount is expected to grow.

Think about it. Inflation is rising while wages are not. The gap between rich and poor is growing at speed.

Despite all that, people put their hands in their pockets and dug as deep as they could.

At a time when you think we would all be so busy looking inward that we would not be able to see out, still the people of Britain could not turn their backs on those in need.

When it counts we are, indeed, Great Britain.