Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Thursday, 30 September 2010

Planetary life

The chances of alien life existing on a newly-discovered Earth-like planet are 100 per cent, scientists say. Gliese 581g is located 20 light years away from Earth in the constellation Libra.

see report at:

In a Daily Telegraph report by Heidi Blake, she says that these findings are based on 11 years of observations at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii by a team led by Prof Steven Vogt.

Although this planet may lie in the so called 'Goldilocks' zone around a sun, the fact that it harbours life should not be surprising; life is surely not rare in the Universe. What is rare and may be unique is mankind. The jump from amoeba to conscience-aware entities is truly astronomical.
Reports like this ought to say that 'primitive' life, at least might exist. 'Alien life' gives some people the wrong impression, again the consequence of watching too many films.

Secret Iraq

Having watched the programme called 'Secret Iraq' screened on BBC 2 last night, I am more convinced than ever that the US armed forces should be confined to barracks in the US. They have, since the second world war, always inflamed the battle, wherever they go, even when they go in as peacekeepers. Not only that, they never win. Afghanistan and Iraq will join the long list of US military failures, despite what their 'Veterans' say about Korea and Vietnam. Thank goodness we Brits didn't use US forces in the Falklands war. Remember, also, that in the first gulf war fought in Kuwait, UK forces lost more men due to US so called friendly fire than from the enemy.
Why is this so? Clearly lack of discipline is a factor but I believe there is an underlying 'gung-ho' attitude in the younger troops, no doubt engendered by watching the ridiculous old John Wayne films that glorified war and inculcated this myth of US invincibility. There is nothing 'glorious' about waging war; only pain and loss, usually felt most by innocent women and children. 

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Ed Miliband. New Labour Party Leader

I must agree with those that think the new Leader of the Labour Party should apologise to the Nation for the woeful state of the economy, after thirteen years of Socialist rule. It would be a sort of catharsis; wiping the slate clean and ridding his party of their flirtation with 'New' Labour an exercise in socialism that has made one of their former PMs, Blair, a very wealthy and well connected man and the other, Brown, a ghoulish failure whose long years of wait to take up the crown turned a bully into a rather pitiful figure.

The way these two men finished up encapsulates the reason why many in the Labour Party weren't quite sure of what the Party stood for. The one a close friend to world bankers and the other, the son of a Scottish cleric, trying, one feels, to make a difference but having neither the personality or the pedigree to carry it out. The one truth is that after their control at the reins of power, the nation is virtually bankrupt, reminding us of the last time the IMF had to bail the country out in 1976 after another period of Labour rule.

The problem is that almost a third of the electorate still vote for them. When will they ever learn? Lemmings voting for the Lemming Party.

Ed Miliband seems a nice man; a little better looking than his brother- less scary. I presume he's intelligent, he's an Oxford graduate with an added economics degree from the london School of economics, but it would seem his power base is in the ever diminishing unions. We should not be surprised since the brothers are sons of a Marxist 'theorist', whatever that is, born in Brussels of polish jewish descent. Apart from a brief career in television journalism, he hasn't done a stroke of proper work in his entire life. He was appointed a special adviser to Gordon Brown after being a speechwriter for Harriet Harman. Personally, once I hear that someone has been to the LSE, I somehow don't trust them and I fear that a career politician is exactly the wrong person to look after the interests of the working class. When I say working class, I mean the people who go to work on time, never take sick leave, are honest and upright people who put in a good day's graft and hope it's appreciated and get a decent day's pay. What has Ed Miliband got in common with them. NOTHING. He might say he has but he cannot hope to know the aspirations and fears of these people, the very bedrock of Englishness or Britishness. It's easy for him to start in opposition. The spotlight is on the coalition, but we will be watching to see what sort of opposition Party he will lead. Will he take the party back and be dubbed a regressive leader or will he try and continue the work of his mentor Gordon Brown. Either way, he will struggle to convince the electorate at the next election that he is the man to take the country forward in an ever increasingly hostile world.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Vince Cable

Vince cable is to make a speech at which he will say that the worst excesses of big companies ought to be reigned in. That shareholders, for instance, should be given powers to regulate executive pay.
He is not wrong. The world of big business is polarising. The world will soon be dominated by a cartel of super companies who will dominate every commercial field in the planet. This concentration of power cannot be good for the consumers. Whether we like it or not the markets will, in effect, be rigged. Look at supermarkets in the UK. Almost totally dominated by three or four companies, headed by Tesco who would stop at nothing to eliminate the opposition. That's what big business naturally is, although the Chairmen should look at my 'theory of two' (see earlier blog) which says that polarisation can never normally reach a monopoly of one. It will always stop at two if left to natural devices.

If you want examples of of the power of industry look at Pharmaceutical industry. Powerful enough to take on President Obama's health policies, they exercise control to determine who is cured and who isn't. Want proof? Of course, the big Companies go to great lengths to cover up their tracks, using ranks of highly paid corporate lawyers to make sure there never is any evidence, but the signs can be seen.

Recently someone very close to me has been diagnosed with Diabetes. I have discovered that this debilitating condition could be reversed and cured, but the industry doesn't want that. Research into the cure of diabetes is starved of funds because to find a cure would take away the huge income the big companies regularly receive from sufferers for the duration of their lives. These huge corporations reach right into the very heart of every government on earth; they dictate policy. So when a politician, like Cable, gets up and says that something has to change, we know he's near the mark when the CBI immediately say that he's speaking 'oddly' and 'emotionally'. They are correct. It is odd for a politician to speak the truth and oppose the big boys and for this reason we ought to sit up and take notice. It is not anti Capitalist speak but pro-market; pro consumers; pro people.

Monday, 20 September 2010


I only saw the last few minutes of BBC's Panorama programme. Just enough time to catch the breathtaking arrogance of a BBC spokesperson, Lucy Adams, defending her own salary.  She was said to earn more than the Chief of the Defence Staffs. Did she think her job was more worthwhile than the defence of the realm, she was asked. Neatly sidestepping the issue, she merely said that she couldn't comment on the Chief's pay.
Perhaps she couldn't, but I can comment on hers. It's a disgrace that the BBC pays her and others like her so much from the license fee payers money. There simply has to be someone in the UK who can do as good a job for a quarter of what she earns or less. There are 131 people working for the BBC who earn more than £100000 per annum. One or more of them is responsible for hiring the likes of that, in my opinion, talentless person Chris Evans at a huge cost and that even more highly rewarded waste of time, Jonathon Ross. For foisting these oafs on the general public, hirers at the Beeb get their own huge rewards; far in excess of what normal people can expect to earn and way above what they deserve.
The BBC needs to be better regulated. Can I have the job? It won't cost an arm and a leg.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Nuclear 'key' to Britain's energy future, says Centrica's Roger Carr

Roger Carr, chairman of Centrica, has warned that Britain has to wake up to its future reliance on nuclear energy if it wants "to keep the lights on".
Report in the Telegraph.

Common sense at last. The trouble is he's talking about bringing in Uranium fuelled, French designed reactors at the end of the decade. Wrong technology and far too slow. We need to be building British Thorium fuelled reactors now. If the previous Socialist Government, ex members of CND, the lot of them,  had stopped licking Greenpeace's a*** they might have seen how stupid it was to run down our nuclear research establishment at Harwell in favour of building windmills.

For a rationale on why we must invest in Thorium now, click on the link below. I couldn't put it better.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Church and State

The visit to Great Britain by his Holiness, the Pope, has prompted the question of how much religion should interfere with the running of the State.

Forgetting for a moment that religious belief is primarily about the recognition and worship of a supreme creator, it is also one of the gateways to mankind's spiritual, emotional side. Although there are other ways to engage with man's spiritual side, for instance yoga and meditation, the Church has from earliest times, laid claim to the province of souls and set out a code of conduct for the way humans behave. It was the cornerstone of man's early attempts at moving away from the law of the jungle behaviour and towards becoming 'civilized'.

Nowadays we see that punishments handed down by the Church for non-compliance with its dicta is nothing more than blackmail. Behave or go to eternal hell and damnation, is the message. Besides, although much of the world lives its life under the auspices of Sharia Law, we, in the so called Christian countries, have introduced a secular legal system to regulate our behaviour, thereby eroding some of the power of the Church.
More and more people are questioning whether or not there is a supreme creator but very few are advocating anarchy. If there is no religion, human beings will still need answers to the age old questions of where do we come from and is there eternal life after death. What is love and why do we appreciate works of art?  Who is going to take responsibilty for these metaphysical questions?

Imagine the scene at the Cenotaph if there was no Church involvement. Notwithstanding the presence of her Majesty the Queen, there would be no one to lead the tributes to the fallen. Would it be the same if the Nation's respects were paid by a high ranking official from the Ministry of Morality.
What about the Coronation? The Queen is crowned sovereign in the eyes of God. How would this work if there was no pomp and ceremony and some jobsworth from the Ministry simply handed over the crown, saying that: 'I now pronounce you Queen. You may kiss the consort.'

Can you imagine how state occasions such as the funeral of Winston Churchill would be if there was no National tribute in the St. Paul's. The whole event could be hollow, devoid of any emotional gravitas or real ceremony. We don't want mystery but the Church's involvement ought to give the occasion a richness, an approbation that we have done the right thing by a much loved leader.

What can we do? I say, don't do away with the Church altogether; just do away with all this God business. By all means tell the stories of Jesus and Mohamed as examples of 'good' people, but take away all references to superhuman creators with the ability to make the heavens and earth but unable to stop the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents in a tsunami or Pakistan floodwaters. A God, so powerful he cannot stop priests buggering little choirboys under his roof and ruining their lives. A God so powerful, he relies on self appointed Imams and Ayotullahs to mete out barbaric punishments on his behalf.

In what name should the Church hold its mandate. Why, in the name of Mankind, of course. To the Glory of Man, because all that we have introduced to the earth, all that is due to the creativity and design of man- from the building of magnificent edifices and the development of microscopic nanotechnology, to the conception of a God and the panoply of mythological beings- is testimony to the enterprise and ingenuity of us that make up our special species.
We (well almost all of us) are magnificent. We humans are the real story. Life is the miracle and we must take our opportunity to live it to the full and allow others to do the same.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

New force hits space probe?

The Daily Telegraph reports that a space probe launched 30 years ago, Pioneer 10, has come under the influence of a force that has baffled scientists and could rewrite the laws of physics.

Much weaker than gravity, the force seems to be pulling the probe back towards the sun although it left, what scientists thought to be the outer limit of the Solar System, years ago.
Unknown forces? space? Could the spacecraft still be under the influence of gravity or is it another force. Readers of my blogs will know that we exist in a two-part universe. The 'perceived' universe has an all pervasive but invisible and unknowable counterpart that makes a zero energy whole. This imperceivable universe is characterised by matter with negative dimensions including some described by the sqare root of minus one. Gravity however, probably and uniquely, extends throughout both parts of the universe. Could the latest observations give scientists a measure of the strength of gravity that hitherto hasn't been observed or could it be a force exerted by clouds of dark matter or energy that although imperceptible to humans can have a 'real' effect on our part of the cosmological duality.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Dr. Kelly Inquest- Don't hold your breath

The Attorney General has still to say whether or not he will order an inquest into the death of weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly. Despite a furore of dissatisfaction aimed at the Hutton enquiry and subsequent disquiet from distinguished physicians that the original finding of suicide was not credible, I believe that the  delay is because of his fears that such an inquest, with witnesses testifying under oath, would uncover widespread wrongdoing by people now in high positions. The subjugation of his natural inclination to proceed with the inquest; to uncover the truth, by the primal need to preserve the integrity of his own party as well as Parliament, will, I fear, probably win the day.

What did David Kelly know that so many people wanted hushed up? Why was he a threat to them?

For some further clues, click on the link below. I don't know how true it is, but it makes you think.

Women Priests?

There was an interesting statement made on the Sunday morning BBC Religion and morality show, hosted by Susanna Read. The programme was debating aspects of the Roman Catholic Church ahead of this week's visit to the UK by His Holiness, the Pope.
The question is why are there no female priests and Bishops?
The reply from the Church spokesman was that Jesus only selected men to be his disciples, thereby setting an example.
However, another participant argued that he'd also only selected Jews but that doesn't stop the Church appointing men from other backgrounds into the priesthood. In other words, the Church is selective in its interpretation of the sacred texts.
I believe this is a good point that demonstrates that the Bible cannot be the Word of God. Surely if it was, all questions would be answered. It would be a text for ALL people at ALL times. The same can be said for the Qu'ran where Muslims still don't know whether it is more correct to be Sunni or Shia; where the treatment of women and the issue of slavery are out of touch with modern reality; an anachronism.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Whose to blame?

Parliament is sitting again. Politics is again in the news. Its the week of the TUC conference.

Why do we not hear more of the disastrous contribution made by the outgoing socialist government to the dire financial straits of the UK? Why is there so little mention of the crass behaviour of Mandelson in trying to bribe the electorate in marginal seats with promises of money or investments he couldn't possibly fulfill?
Why is nobody shouting daily about how the employment statistics were manipulated by expanding the public sector workforce to unsustainable proportions?
Why haven't Blair, Gordon Brown, Darling and Mandelson been arrested for gross abuse of power; for pursuing ideological programmes incompatible with the proper running of the Country?

Why isn't the treacherous behaviour of the socialists drummed into the public psyche so that the only voters they could attract would be lunatics and those whose interests including the mass failure of the Nation.

Sympathy for Bob Crow

Jon Gaunt on Sky News this morning said he had some sympathy for Bob Crow, militant boss of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union, when he says that something needs to be done to protect the lower paid, more vulnerable in society from the profligicies of those highly paid in the Banking industry.

Like Gaunt, I would normally find it hard to agree with anything Crow says but this time I must say he's right. The rate of polarisation of wealth is increasing; the gap between the haves and have nots is getting larger. The disease is endemic whichever party is in power. Never has it been more true that 'it isn't what you know but who you know'. Look at the news that officials at an anti-poverty quango are ' living it up' in luxury hotels at taxpayers' expense. Executives at the Commonwealth Development Corporation also dined in London's finest restaurants at tax payers expense.
Another report says that huge bonuses are being paid to industry's top executives, despite staff and workers being laid off. This can only be done with the collusion of the remuneration directors who are meant to be looking after share holder's interests.
I shan't say any more about Bankers here because I've blogged previously on my distaste for the way they operate.
They say that they need such high rewards to attract the best talent and I say, bollocks! There's plenty of good people out there; people who would do the work without greasing the incestuous, 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' culture to be found at the top.

I remember once, when I owned a hotel, a vicar stayed who was attending a McMillan cancer charity function being held elsewhere. He ran up quite a sizeable phone bill and insisted that he wouldn't pay for that or his morning paper and that we put it on the McMillan account. The charitable donors would pay.

If I was a conspiracy theorist, which I am, I would say that we are now entering that phase in the planet's life when the 'New World Order' becomes manifest. When those with the most money and hence power, take over. Plutocracy will be the new order with those in power regulating how the world is run, overruling even world religions.

Climate Change realism

It is reported that Caroline Spelman the Environment Minister has accepted that Climate Change is inevitible. About time too! It is also good that she has accepted that it is better to adapt to the reality rather than the stupid 'green' option of trying to fight it- surely the most ridiculous ever example of 'pissing against the wind'.

The Minister could well start a new strategy by ordering the immediate start to the next programme of nuclear power stations, especially those fuelled by Thorium, a much safer option than Uranium.

She should also tell Lord Adair Turner, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, to take his offensive and unsightly wind turbines and stuff them where the sun doesn't shine.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Hartnett of the Revenue

Mr Hartnett, the permanent secretary for tax at HM Revenue & Customs, was widely condemned over the weekend for his initial refusal to apologise for sending out demands to more than a million consumers that they need to pay extra tax.

"I'm not sure a need to apologise," he said in a Radio 4 interview on Saturday. "We didn't get it wrong."

Mr Hartnett later issued an apology for the error caused by HM Revenue and Customs.

This is another example of the arrogance of those who who are meant to serve the public but in fact think themselves to be the untouchable rulers of the country. People who treat the ordinary men and women of this country with contempt. They have to be weeded out and exposed as those who are creating the class divide and fuelling the increased tensions between the haves and have nots.
I do not consider myself a socialist but for any country or community to work requires that the governing and the governed understand that the relationship can only be maintained with mutual respect. Hartnett is a man who has clearly lost the plot and should go.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Head of Communications

I know we live in more enlightened times and man's primary work in life is not necessarily to put meat in the family pot or ensure a good and plentiful supply of potable water but what in the name of all that's good does Andy Coulson, the Head of Communications do and in what way does he qualify to earn such an enormous, almost unbelievable salary?

I'm pretty sure that David Cameron wouldn't pay this sort of money-rumoured to be on a par with what the PM earns-out of his own pocket so I'm tempted to deduce that's it's only because it comes from the seemingly bottomless pit of the Public purse that it is paid. How can that salary be justified. What is he doing that a full time Civil Servant can't do, or even Cameron, himself? Does he put 'spin' on Governmental announcements, such as Campbell did for the last socialist administration. How can 'spin' ever be in the public interest?

These days there seems to be a lot of people doing what I think of as unnecessary jobs, earning huge six figure salaries and very few of them, apart from doctors and surgeons, are doing what I'd call front line work. The media is an obvious place to look for these jobs, the cost of news readers being a case in point. The government is finally tackling the over abundance of unnecessary Quangos, all of which come with high value price tags. Lobbyists are another group of people who I have difficulty fitting anywhere into the food chain.

It's time to reward the manufacturers, the farmers and others that contribute to the real world and sideline those that don't create real wealth. The Government should ask: Is this job really necessary in the public interest? If the answer is 'no', bin it! For the rest there should be a ceiling to the remuneration of those paid from the public purse. Arguing that this will result in a shortage of top quality applicants for jobs is plain eyewash. The country is full of competent and highly qualified people, reachable if jobs are advertised in newspapers other than the Guardian.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Shop closures

Reports indicate that between one in five and one in seven shops in the UK are boarded up. The problem is worse in the north of the country.

The recession has, of course, played a part but I believe there is an underlying, more fundamental reason why this should be so. Landlords are charging too much rent and the reason for this is what lies at the very heart of what is wrong with the politico/economic system we live in. Simply put, accountants tell the landlords that they need to make a certain return on their capital outlay, in this case the cost of the land and the property, regardless of what is a realistic value. Sadly, in this materialistic world of accountancy and greedy bankers, realism is subservient to the grab and grab philosophy more suited to the survival of the fittest scenario to be found in the jungle. Landlords are reluctant to drop rents because that reduces the book value of their property and hence, the value and credibility of their businesses.

One industry that has suffered particularly is the tenanted public house trade. Breweries, increasingly managed by accountants rather than brewers, saw their pubs dramatically rise in value since the seventies and put up their rents accordingly. In a trade reeling from the drink driving legislation ( correct, but harmful to the business) and the rise in cheap out-of-town supermarket booze, unrealistic rent increases were another nail in the coffin.

Would it not be better if the landlords and their tenants formed a sort of partnership, where the former take a proportion of the profits only? I would also include mortgage lenders in this scheme as well.(Possibly there could be a industry standard lower level to avoid problems due to lazy or imcompetent traders.) This would give all parties the incentive to make the business prosper and grow.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Barclays Bank

I know I keep going on about banking but the recent announcement that an investment banker called Bob Diamond is to take over Barclays Bank motivates me to revisit the issue.

Barclays did not need to seek help from the British taxpayers in the recent crisis. They do, however, benefit from the the guarantee given to all high street banks that they will not be allowed to fail. This applies to so called 'universal' banks that trade their retail sections and investment arms under the one Company.
In other words, they can speculate all they like in the knowledge that no matter how badly they do, ultimately the British taxpayer will pick up the tab.
It's not good enough. The Government doesn't need to hold an enquiry to know that this is unacceptable. Diamond knows that the retail part of the business is hard work, employing large numbers of people and having to engage with the general public. How different for the investment bankers in their sanitized working environment, remote from the public and not having to dirty their hands or risk a broken finger nail doing proper work such as manufacturing something, growing or retailing food or extracting useful minerals.I mean, just how does this man justify his earnings compared with a man who puts his life into manufacturing automobiles, on the line, say. He will never earn a million in his entire life of endeavour, whilst Diamond pockets it in under a year.

With Diamond at their head, you can probably guess which way he's going to go with this and people with Bank accounts of less than £100,000 ought to be looking elsewhere.

One more thing. I think it should be made unlawful for banks and funds to trade in commodities, paper etc that they or their agents do not physically possess. That ought to do it.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Stephen Hawking and God

Stephen Hawking's at it again; infuriating the religious classes with his pronouncement that God was not needed at the creation of the universe.

If it was his intention to draw a line under the debate between science and the religons he is wrong because there never can be a definitive answer to who or what is 'God'.
Scientists seek answers to problems that are verifiable, whilst the religious talk in ineffable terms that can never be proved. The one deals with facts in the realm of physics whilst the other talks of metaphysics in the realm of souls.

I believe, however, that in one way Hawking is right. There is no 'Creator' and the universe came about as a result of a quantum fluctuation.That I believe that our physical universe was formed from nothing is documented on this blog site and my web site. It is balanced by a twin 'negative' universe that pervades our part of the universe in the way that the religions portray a God pervades all human life. This negative side to the universe gives rise to mankind's 'spiritual' side, a world of the mysteries that have been used since the birth of mankind by the shamans and priests to promote their ideology. Consciousness, death, the after-life are some of the mysteries that have fuelled man's need for other types of answers; answers that the scientists cannot provide. And here lies the crux of the problem. Scientists and Priests are talking of two different things when they talk of 'God'.
Scientists talk in terms of verifiable proof of a fact. Priests, notwithstanding the portrayals in scripture, have a more nebulous concept of the Creator, some saying that 'God' could in fact be the 'Laws of Nature'.

The point is, mankind needs both approaches. As the universe we inhabit is two-part, so too do we need the dual approach, because man needs to satisfy both his spirtual curiosity and the need to know from whence we came.

I think we can discount the probability that a theistic or interactive God exists. If He did, then there is some validity in the argument that He would be more hands on in the development of the human race. Muslims would know for sure whether to be Shia or Sunni. Anglicans, for instance, would know whether the ordination of women was respectful or not.
If there is no such God, then there would be no need for devotion. All the hours wasted in venerating something that is simply not there. With no public worship necessary, no different liturgy, there is a good chance that animosity between the religious groups could be brought to an end.
If, however, there is no need for devotion to a God, I believe mankind does have a need to positively address their spiritual side. Our brain has the capacity to understand this other part of our universe, what some might call our sixth sense; only it hasn't yet been awakened. Meanwhile, we are aware that it exists and at times we should be able to draw upon it, such as national disasters or National ceremony such as Coronations. We should be able to draw comfort from a lay liturgy that brings all men closer together, giving individuals and communities alike what they most need; peace and hope.

Men sharing a room

What a shame! William Hague was a sort of hero of mine. I thought he had all the attributes to have made a fine Prime Minister, but  in the light of his sharing a hotel room with a much younger male aid one must now question his judgement. Not only that, but his later making a statement that dragged his poor wife, Ffion, into the affair.

Despite his denials of an intimate relationship, the whispers and rumours will not go away. Ever. If he is not gay then why did he do it? Why share a room, and apparently it was on several occasions, when he can clearly afford seperate rooms - he's a multi millionaire for heaven's sake.

Now, I accept that there are occasions when men share a hotel room. On golf or other sport club trips, it is fairly common to keep costs down, but as a general rule it is not done.

I can remember sharing a room with another man as an adult on two occasions. Once voluntary and the other not so. The second occasion was when a farmer friend of mine and I set off to Paris on the newly opened Eurostar. It was a lad's night out that lasted two nights and we shared a twin bedded room in Paris. I suppose we were awkward but the hotel staff, bless them, never gave any intimation that it was in any way improper. Presumably they saw it everyday. From my perspective it was fine once I'd become familiar with my friend's smelly socks.

The first occasion, however, was different. I'd only just left home to start my apprenticeship in Cheshire. I was eighteen and lodging with an elderly landlady. My first digs were a disaster. Having got off the train in Crewe, I found that my first lodgings were grieving because the owner had died that day and his wife was less than happy to see me. I was put into temporary digs where I was given the sofa bed in the lounge to slep on. Each evening I had to wait until the others had finished watching the television before I could make the bed in a smoke filled room. They found me another lodging with an old railwayman and his wife but again that didn't last.
Soon after starting with the elderly widow, I went to bed early as usual- there was no television. However, around eleven o'clock I heard someone in my darkened bedroom. I could smell tobacco smoke and a strong whiff of whiskey. I froze before realising that the intruder was not, in fact, a threat, but was getting undressed, gently cursing under his breath as he fought to get out of his recalcitrant trousers. Needless to say, I never slept a wink, fearing some impropriety from the newcomer and fizzing with rage that my room, my refuge should be violated in this way.
Next morning, my landlady told me that she offered the second bed in my room to an old friend who needed a room at short notice. I'm delighted to say that it never happened again.