It took me a long time to read Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors. I picked it up, put it down; read the table of contents, put it down. Eventually I got round to reading the Introduction, and then I was pretty much committed. And when I finally devoured the treasures within, I found I enjoyed them a lot. Much of it was dark, true, but that’s always suited me; much of it was also magical.

So there was no real doubt I would acquire and read Fragile Things.

I recently reread The Kraken Wakes, always my favourite John Wyndham book. Wyndham for me is something like comfort food, or cartoons: when I need a light, refreshing, familiar interlude I can always turn to one of his novels to tide me over to the next challenge. In this case, I had left the book I intended to read at the office, leaving me stranded over a weekend with nothing to read.

Oh, the horror.

Last weekend, we went to Wales.

This is no small feat. Although Britain is not really that large and claims to have a modern road system, we have tended to ignore suggestions that people might want to go to the further-flung corners of our green isle. There is no motorway across the border into Scotland, for example. The English M6 stops just short of Carlisle, and the Scottish M74 starts once you are across the border. It’s a little like East and West Germany having different gauge rails during the Cold War, except that (nominally at least) we’re all on the same side.