Apple and Google are joining together to launch a massive drive in Covid-19 health tracking.  Have you heard about this ?  They are refusing to share the app with the Huawei (who they apparently hate, big time; which doesn’t really matter because we all know that China has absolutely no Covid-19 anymore).  But there’s a bit more to this humanitarian health-sharing app, than meets the eye.

It will work by our phones pinging between other phones, those of our contacts and others, via bluetooth, locating us and those around us. If someone tests positive for Covid-19, the app will send a notification to everyone they’ve been in contact with, in the past 14 days.  It will also track the amount of time spent with the infected person, in five minute increments. 

Obviously, there are tons of other advantages to this.  We won’t need to worry about getting lost, the government will always be able to find you.  It’s basically going to track everything we do, where we go and who we’re with.  Forever.

Now the other thing interesting thing about this application, is it really sounds a lot like “Blockchain”.  What is Blockchain?  A new toy; bit like Lego?  That’s pretty much spot on – if you’re a teckie anorak living in silicone valley (in a billion dollar house with a James Bond car).  For the rest of us humans, it’s another over-complicated, new thing we are supposed to try to understand.

Blockchain is a new paradigm in the way information is stored. Think of it akin to building a Lego wall; each Lego block is held in place by its proximity to its neighbouring blocks.  You can’t remove a single block, without disrupting all of the surrounding ones.  Blockchain is a record of information, held in place by the co-creators of that information – the neighbouring blocks, rather than having a single holder/owner of information.  eg, in terms of location; a huge number of phones hold information on one another. This also means any changes to information show up by disrupting a huge chain of stored information, so are visible.  This is one of the ways it disrupts fraud.  The Covid-19 health app, certainly sounds a lot like an application of blockchain to me.  We will be mapped in relation to other phones/devices constantly.  Until now, the mapping of someone’s location (other than with GPS) say of a missing person, was done by locating them between the three nearest phone masts to them.  Mapping us via the people we are sitting next to on a train, in a restaurant, or by those who are who are driving or walking nearby, is a game changer in personal privacy.

However, the biggest positive application of Blockchain for individuals, is likely to be in terms of fraud prevention and protection.  The international banking “community” have totally lost the battle against electronic fraud.  The last reliable statistic for amount of debit/credit card fraud transactions was published in 2016, which stated it was 6% of total credit/debit card transactions*.  I think we can all agree it’s been on a massive rise in the past three years.  But let’s use that 6%.

The total transactional value, for the top three card processors in 2019, Visa, Mastercard and Amex was $16.5 trillion USD.  6% of that, is a staggering $1 trillion US dollars, a year, in stolen money;  and that’s a conservative estimate.   That’s also more than the total income from tax, of the UK government.  What I wanna know is, where did it go? No one seems to know, but someone knows. It can’t just disappear, surely?

If you want to have a look at the scale of card fraud for yourselves,  and check if your own credit/debit cards are for sale; register on the website Joker’s Stash bazar; www.jstash.bazar  It’s an online database of card and owner information – for sale.  You can search by country, postcode/zip, name, “likelihood of it working” or by the “bin” number of a card. The “bin” number, is the first six numbers on any card.  One of the reasons we hear that “things are constantly changing in credit card fraud”, is because the “bin” numbers are constantly changing in terms of being temporarily “live” for fraud (I can’t tell you why).  So, if you have a good tip-off, you’ll hear a certain bin no is live, and go online and buy cards, geographically local to your, beginning with those numbers.  It’s not as simple as that to use them, they actually difficult for individuals to make transactions, without post/phone access as well.  So it’s almost like a double whammy for whoever is behind this, masssively scaled fraud transactions, and a sideline in selling the card numbers to guilable punters, trying to steal there way through the Nike store. Good luck, check your own cards, often.

Once you see the true scale of card fraud, you realise that the banking systems have given up on the status quo.  They need a completely new approach, a new way or working, which is what Blockchain will hopefully provide.   Card fraud not a small operation, it’s highly organised crime, on an epic scale.  For example, right now, Jstashbazare are advertising a “new dump of 4 million cards”, for sale. 

Get your’s now – while stocks last. xxx

A Life of Crime.

18 April, 2020

“A steep drop in reported crime!”  Just one of the of the positive knock-on effects of the Covid-19 shutdown, the Guardian shouted, the other day*.   Chief constable Andy Cooke, lead for the National Police Chiefs Council, stated that (reported) crime has fallen up to 20% during the quarantine.  Now, I don’t want to rain on his parade,  I’m all for the Police; I’ve called them out, and on occasion and they’ve called me in.  We’re like neighbours, or exes.  But it does seem to me, that if no-one is allowed out, there’s no drinking in public, no football matches, no nightclubs, no shops to shoplift, no innocents on the streets to stab or rape, our homes are too busy for burglaries, then what the hell are all the criminals doing, to stay so freakin’ busy?  How are those maleficent millennials conducting 80% of their dastardly deeds? Obviously, there’s an increase in domestic incidences, but one of their sad characteristics, is under reporting; so they are proportionately less likely to skew the numbers significantly upwards.  So what the heck is going on?

I found the actual figures in crime rises and drops for 2019, from the Office for National Statistics, (I’ve helpfully added my predictions in the next column for the shutdown).

CrimeActual ONS figuresMy Quarantine Almanac 2020
Computer misuse-17%90%
Criminal damage and arson17%-85%
Domestic violence0 +/-99%
Public order offences16%-90%
Sexual Offences0 +/--30%
Vehicle theft-2%-99%
Knife crime8%-80%
Fraud17%+20000% (5G installing, paedophile, new world order, big Pharma madatory vaccinations/human micro-chip)

So how is crime affected by the shutdown?  Back to friendly, neighbourhood copper, Chief Constable Andy Cooke; who says that the shutdown has made it harder for drug addicts to shoplift, (shame) which is how they have traditionally funded their habits.  I bet they’re ruing the day the ole VCR/DVDs went out of fashion.  International conglomerates, like Bezos and Gates, keeping us safe, once again; this time it’s “thank-you Netflix”.  No longer an easy trip through a living room window and down to Cash Converters for a quick £20, for your bag-o-brown.  What are the drug addled to do?  Is there going to be a glut in the supply chain?  Will the country reopen to find a new ski-slope attraction in the West End, made entirely from cocaine stockpiles?  Will heroin addicts be forced to detox, cold turkey style at home, through lack of supply?  Changing their life of grime, to a life spent appeasing their guilty consciences, performing “uplifting” plays for children, about how drugs are bad.  Just say “no” – no more moralising theatre, or worse still; mime classes for kids.  Spewing a generation of irritating freaks, pretending to peek around invisible walls?

Which brings us to my no 1 fav criminal of the moment; Ruja Ignatova, born in Bulgaria in 1980, (grew up in Germany), married to a lawyer and had one daughter.  Ever heard of her?  There’s a pic, below.  So tell me, what do you think she did?  Trafficked illegal, low paid workers from Bulgaria?  Killed her lover, so her husband wouln’t find out? Bribed her kid’s way into the best preschool? Keep guesssing…..

Ruja Ignatova

Ruja, the clever-little-thing, has a PhD in law; she created and owned the block chain currency, “One Coin”.  A few years ago, it was a strong contender alongside Bitcoin, in the ole emerging crypto-currency markets.  One Coin was global, and it was very popular, sycophantic articles about her brilliance, were published in all the big finance magazines.  Her company operated a marketing model where investors were paid commission, to bring in more investors.  Ruja, despite her heady education, completely forgot to set up one important element of her currency; it’s blockchain.  (Oops).  Which unfortunately, meant that it wasn’t a crypto-currency after all. (Oops).  Instead, its was just a plain, ole pyramid selling scam. (Oh no!)

When her brother was arrested by the FBI, for his part in it all, he said that she’d only intended to get a few million, then quit; but organised crime networks found out about it and took over.  Blowing it up to epic proportions, she remained the front man, way more terrified of them than the Feds, and the whole thing snowballed out of control.  Eventually, with the Feds, luke warm on her trail, wanted in every country in the world; she stepped off a plane in Bulgaria and vanished – with a fortune estimated at USD $4 billion and that’s not even counting the USD $267m, the Chinese got back from her (1.7m Yen).  Yep, she’s even got the balls to rip-off the Chinese government.  She’s on the “most wanted” list, from Norway to Samoa.  Unconfirmed sources suggest, she’s living in disguise in Frankfurt (shhh, don’t tell anyone).  And with a bit of surgery, she’ll probably remain in hiding until blockchain security in the future, forces forged IDs into daylight.  Right now, she’s probably disguised as a Bulgarian cleaner, invisibly wandering the Interpol offices, with a vacuum cleaner and duster, wiping away her files.**

Ruthless; masked criminals during the quarantine

The End of The World

16 April, 2020

You think Corono shut-down is bad? I just found out the world ends in April 2029.

I happened be rambling across t’internet, when I discovered, Tom Horn, on Youtube.  Unfortunately, Tom died, he floated down the tunnel toward the light (yay), when he reached the light Jesus said “No amigo”, and baseball-batted his tiny ball of soul-light right out of the Heaven, straight back down to earth.  Heart-breaking but true.  Unbeknown to Tom, he returned with the power to see into the future.  He only gets to see horrible things, nothing cool he can bet on and win big bucks.  And he has seen, amongst other things, the end of the world – da. da. daaa!

Tom sat bolt upright in the mortuary, two weeks after he died and scared the Pathologist, (Quincy MD), so badly he dropped dead, right there, in his own mortuary.  Tom quickly swapped clothes with him and drove home.   (I might have embellished this a bit….) 

Then he started having “visions” of the bad shit in the future and some of his predictions have come true, he realised he’d been blessed by the Holy Spirit.  I say it’s one of three things;  1.  Hypoxic brain injury (oxygen starvation).  2.  Alien abduction, or, 3. Just plain ole, being “possessed”.   I can’t tell you a lot about his predictions, because I have the attention span of a gnat, so I watched his prophesies on Youtube, constantly clicking through on the fast forward bar.  But he did talk about seeing the end of the world.  (It’s on April 13th, 2029, if you want to put it in your diary).  A giant asteroid hits us, it’s called the “Apophis Asteroid” and it’s very well known. 

The thing is about end of the world prophesies, is they’re a bit old skool.  I knew an end of the world predictor once, we worked near each other in Circular Quay, Sydney.  Glamorous eh?  Yep, I was a charity worker collecting for a food kitchen “Excuse me, it’s not a survey!” And he was a madman – so obviously, I befriended him and spent many a lunch hour allowing him to terrify my naive younger self.  His dreaded dooms-day came and went, as did he.  Then, months later, like a Jesus/Phoenix rising, he reappeared.  He had amended the sandwich board he wore, with a new date and used adhesive stickers to update his leaflets.  

Back to Tom.  He says the world will end being hit by asteroid “Apophis” (which is eerily similar to the prediction of Nostradamus); Apophis will have the equivalence of 65,000 Hiroshima bombs and create a bit of an impact (gettit?).  And he is not alone, some major scientist agree and one of them, Nathan Myhrvold has even accused Nasa of a cover-up!  Da-da-daaaa!  Ever heard of Nate?  No? Me either.  He has an award winning cook book called “Modernist Cuisine”.  Cool eh?  He started college at 14, was also the chief technology officer at Microsoft, has 917 patents, is currently building a new type of clean, safe nuclear reactor in China, he’s a prize winning wildlife photographer, goes on paleontological research trips, is also building the world’s most powerful telescope (he is highly critical of the way Nasa measures asteroid dimensions – hey, join the queue buddy), his company owns over 700,000 patents, he later studied under Stephen Hawkins at Cambridge and to top it all, he was in the team who won the World BBQ championship.  Has a second home in Area 51, a small place that used to belong to his parents.  He rents it out on Air B&B, for 35 Vulcan dollars a night.  

Coincidentally, when researching this article, I googled, “over-achievers”.  According to the highly authoratitive “Psychologies Today” magazine, over-achievers commonly “don’t think reasonably, sensibly or rationally.”  I stopped, stunned; do they mean, like me?  Could I too be an over-achiever, like Nate?  I look at my life and decide I’m probably more like Tom – enjoying my own strange version of life where things that happen prove I’m important.  Not, I decide, like the man-on-the-quay; spending my days waiting for it all to end badly.  

If you’re waiting for some insightful end to this piece, it’s not coming – unlike asteroid Apohphis. Da.da.daaa.

I was recently asked about online dating. To protect the identity of the person, I’ll paraphrase it.

“Dear Agony Aunt,  I’ve been single for at least 5 minutes and I’m desperate to find somebody, somebody, somebody, somebody; can anybody find me, somebody to love?  Please can you share some top tips?  

Unlovable, Hull.

Dear Unlovable Hull,

Have you tried the Queen fansite?  I expect they must have a dating page, because no-one, except other Freddie fans, are going to date you.  Sorry if it sounds racist, it’s not, it’s music-ist and maybe the truth hurts. No die-hard Queen fan is going to get any action, unless it’s with one of “their own Think of it as a unlikely as Freddie Mercury being straight, or Elton John getting married, Tom Cruise having kids, Madonna having friends, or William Shatner shagging some sexy cat aliens*.

*William Shatner did actually shag a couple of alien cat-women sisters in the film “Star Trek; Into Darkness”.  This immorality got the Starship filmed banned by a Pastor Swanson, who clearly didn’t appreciate Shatner setting his phaser to stun.  Pastor Swanson (for he was sired of man, but born of a swan), was so outrage by this storyline that he banned himself and his children from seeing it, on the grounds of, wait-for-it, bestiality and inter-species sex.  Interestingly, in Pastor Swanson’s bible, Jesus has no problem with threesomes and/or sister-on-sister incest, before or after marriage.  Well, I think we can all guess who’s behind that bit of sexual liberation, wink, wink. Ole Mary Magdalen, obviously teaching Jesus a trick or two, (but even she said no to cats). Pastor Swanson, the scion of Man-on-Swan loving, knew from the pain of personal experience that mixed marriages don’t work.  Perhaps when young, he struggled to adjust to alternate weekends; having the freedom of the river one week and then, the confines of a 1-bed apartment in Detroit the next?  Perhaps, he was the proverbial “ugly duckling”, swimming in armbands behind Mummy, (or “Hiss” as he called her)?   Whatever happened back then, we’ll never know, but it all came flooding back to haunt Pastor Swanson when he heard about Sexy Cat Aliens. He took a stand, like a middle-aged man Greta Thunberg, and he said, “Stop”. I wonder what the sexy-cat-aliens said.

Pastor Swanson with his Mother, Hiss. She says she is “So proud of him, now.”

Sexy Cat Alien: “Purrrr, you were inter-galactic last night baby”

Swan: “No, I was drunk, god, I regret that. I wish I couldn’t remember it. Is that what you people call normal? Because that sure aint “normal” on my riverbank. I’ve a good mind to tell the Queen on you, she’ll chop off yer head, what to speak of yer bollocks. Prince Philip, now there’s a man who know how to woo a swan; he’s so charming and funny and so, giving. The breadcrumbs he brings, all Duchy Organic, nothing finer, what a gent? Oh, I’m like putty in his hands.  So, back to you, then Galaxy-boy?  How ‘bout you just feck off into a black hole somewhere, you Space Pervert?  I’m off to sit in the weir and wash those memories away.”

So, back to online dating. I’ve compiled a 10 point check list, to help women become more successful, at online dating. (I may write one for the chaps, later, if I’m asked);

1.  Put on your profile, you are looking for “Mr Right”, to have sex with.

2.  Lower your personal standards; then lower them some more.

10.  Er, that’s it.

If you need help with a problem that you, (or a “friend” of yours), are facing,  get “them” to write in the comments box below.


I was recently asked to write about “Loneliness”, by my friend Rich BJ., (that’s actually his real name; sucks doesn’t it?).  According to BJ, loneliness is a cutting-edge issue of our time and one, I have to say, I often help clients resolve.  So, I’ve written a few pointers on the dos and don’ts of loneliness.  But before we jump-in with a shit-storm of bad solutions, like a Trump supporter in a gay orgy; let’s first try to clarify what we mean by “loneliness”.  I’m sure that the patronising tone of this article, will probably lead you to consider that I also may have suffered the isolation of the human condition, and remarkably, come out the other side with a wisdom borne of experience.  Well, not true!  I’ve always been incredibly popular and had loads of friends.  Now, back to you.

Often, clients say to me;  “I’m just not like other people” and this may be true.  Perhaps, you’ve been shut out of spaceship and your “people” legged-it at warp-speed to another Galaxy, leaving you behind in the woods.  Many of us have been subjected to similar types of social exclusion, often verging on bullying.  But worry not, you’re amongst friends here, and help is at hand.  There are some popular misconceptions on this topic I think we need to clear up first.  No matter how “alien” you feel, do not hide in a dark garden shed or entice a ten year old boy into that shed, by playing “catch my balls” with him, at night.  Do not move into his bedroom, with or without, asking his parents’; nor hide there as a “special secret” between you two.  Neither, contrary to popular belief, can I recommend you engage in cosplay, or cross-dressing with his pre-schooler sister.  If the police are chasing you, do not go on-the-run with a group of ten year old boys, strangely dedicated to you.  Trust me on this, you can save everyone a lot of hassle by just handing yourself in for medical research.  The probes they’ll stick in you are a kindness, compared to the probing on a sex offenders wing, in a high security prison.

Aliens who hid in children’s bedrooms

Perhaps you just feel inherently “different”, to other people.  Maybe you’re a bit of an “outsider” at home, or you just don’t want to play-by-the-rules of conventional society? For those of you who really can’t fit-in, my suggestion is to turn to the healing power of music.  Try dressing from head-to-toe in black, perhaps don some daytime make-up which makes you look slightly vampirescque and look for musicians wearing the same clothes.  Buy their music, whatever it is, then buy all their merchandise, (even wear the t-shirt) and travel as often and as far, as you can, spending all of your money on their concerts.  For a mere $100, you can find yourself surrounded by tens of thousands of other outcasts; all wearing the exact same black clothes and all gathered together (on a weekend night), voicing their refusal to partake in a system they neither understand, nor agree with.  You’ll find things in common, as you stand patiently in line, waiting to show your ticket, or try to locate your numbered seat, amongst the thousand of identical rows.  Trust me, the unique feelings of isolation and disaffection, will be amplified as you all rhythmically raise a fist in time to the music and join in the mass sing-along.  You may have just found your tribe.   Who knew there were so many people, like you, who work in admin during the week.

Screenshot 2019-09-14 at 17.27.03
Individualism can be an isolating and lonely experience.

For some of you, it’s an insatiable craving for friendship and connection which creates feelings of desperate loneliness.  Even though you could be (unhappily) married, or have children (who secretly dislike you), for some of you, that’s just not enough.  Perhaps you feel like your life is stuck in second-gear, and it hasn’t been your day, your month or, even your year.  Given the opportunity, perhaps you don’t even have five good friends you could share a rundown, Manhattan penthouse with?  Don’t feel stupid or unpopular.  The trick to having friends is to systematically collect them.  Start by locating a weekly classes or activity, you can attend.  By seeing people on a regular basis, having shared interests, you build relationships.  Plan to acquire one new friend at each activity you go to.  Once you have four friends, meet each of them, once per month and continue to collect more.   The more classes you attend, the more friends you will make.  Simple.  Let’s say you attend two classes for six weeks; in just two years you could rack up 18 friends, filling both your diary and any rundown penthouses you want to live in.

Lastly, perhaps you are empathic to the isolation and social confusion of others, particularly young people and adolescents?  Maybe you want to reach out to help them, but you don’t know any?  One of the best ways you can do this is to go back to college and get a degree in English Literature.  You’ll also need to do a post-graduate year, to qualify as a teacher, then you will be able to apply for teaching jobs in wealthy,  conservative, mens colleges.  Once installed there, you will be able to play a pivotal role in broadening your student’s minds, creating a sub-community of attractive young men, all deeply connected through…poetry.  Don’t worry about getting fired for challenging the “system” through the power of verse (no limericks thank you).  Yes, you will change lives, (primarily your own), by surviving unemployment, without references or social security benefits.  Don’t worry, in twenty years time or so, you’ll be invited to their big weddings, lots of people will shake your hand and thank you for being “inspirational”; and you’ll get to eat and drink for free!

Another inspirational poetry teacher is invited to wedding.

Perhaps you are facing problems that you’d like my help with, in future articles? Write to me, confidentially, in the “comments” section below. I’ll answer every one I find interesting.


Suit of d’Amour

Chapter 2

The Dress


“Oh my gawd,” said the Duchess of Sussex in her dressing room, “I’m so flaming fat, now I’m up the duff.”  Her Ladies in Waiting, looked at one another, pausing to see who was going to reply.  They deferred, to Chief Lady in Waiting, Lady Isabella Chessington-World, who nodded sympathetically, saying, “Perhaps, you’d like to try a different dress, ma’am?”  Darker colours are obviously most flattering on us all. 


“Do you think I look like a bloomin’ iceberg?”  The Duchess  continued, pulling at the white ankle-length dress she was wearing. 

“No, ma’am,’” came the muted assurances of the Ladies. 

“But I do think Isabella has a good point,’ piped up Lady Green Von Gables, “This one is very beautiful on you and it’s Harry’s favourite colour.”  There was a understated urgency in her voice, that was barely detectable, to one outside the intimate royal circle.  The fact that it was detectable at all, meant something was severely amiss, amongst the Ladies.  Surrounding the duchess, they eyed each other uneasily.

“Oh, would you Adam and Eve it?  Not more flaming khaki?” the Duchess sighed.  This time there was a noticeably enthusiastic response from the Ladies.  Gushing words in flattery of the mud-green dress (Primani Couture) and excited requests for the Duchess to try it on.  “Nah, you’re alright,” the Duchess continue, “I’m not getting changed, I’ll just wear this.”

The ladies didn’t respond.

Lady Isabella broke the silence, “I’ll get us all some juice, it’s awfully stuffy in here.”

“Luverly.” Replied the Duchess, not noticing the ice-like undertone, in Lady Isabella’s voice.  The other ladies suddenly found things-to-do, there was an unease in the room, that only the Duchess was oblivious to.

“I was thinking of carrying a small bunch of flowers” she continued musing out loud, and maybe wearing a little thingy on my head, a little “Markle-sparkle, as they used to say.” She laughed, alone.

Lady Isabella clapped her hands and Peggy, the Duchess’ maid, appeared.  “I’ve brought the blackcurrant juice, m’Lady Isabelle”, she said nervously. 


“Put it over there.” Directed Isabella, nodding towards a side table, on the opposite side of the room.  Peggy walked over and as she passed Isabella, something caught her ankle, for the life of her she could have sworn it was as if she was tripped, although obviously, that was not the case and she, the “clumsy fool of a girl” (as Lady Isabella had rightly shouted at her, many times in the past) lurched towards Meghan, the huge jug of blackcurrant juice tipped and the glasses fell.  They were only saved from breaking by the extra deep pile of the khaki polypropylene carpet, Prince Harry had insisted on, for Meghan’s dressing room.  To Peggy’s horror, the juice splashed across the front of Her Highness’ full-length white gown.  Peggy looked up from the floor, now prostrated at Princess Meghan’s feet.  “What da fuck?” Shouted Her Highness. 


To Peggy’s surprise, the Ladies were incredibly nice about it.  In hindsight, the nicest they’d ever been.  They rushed forward, helping her up and asking if she was alright, ever-so-sweetly laughing it off.  They even collected the glasses and ice onto the tray, before she had a chance to, still assuring her not to worry.  Even Lady Isabella told her not to blame herself, saying “accidents happen”, with a kindness she’d never seen before.  Peggy went slowly back down to the kitchen to tell Cook, what she’d done (knowing, Cook’s tongue would be more painful than the carpet burns she was enduring).  She was feeling terribly guilty, not just about the dress, but also about all the nasty things she’d thought about Lady Isabella in the past. She stayed out of the way until the ladies swept down the grand staircase and out in the big black cars, to attend Princess Eugine’s wedding in Windsor, later that day.  HH Meghan, had changed in a loose-fitting khaki dress (Georgio D”Asda – home delivery item).  “She looks lovely in everything.” thought Peggy, as she watched them go.


Later Peggy took the white dress to the Royal Dry Cleaner and arranged for it to be made as-good-as-new.  Mr Dyson, the Royal Commissioner for Cleaning, kindly agreed that Peggy could make weekly payments, until the balance was cleared.


Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 04.52.39

Suit of d’Amour

23 May, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 20.00.35

Chapter I

HRH The Duchess of Sussex, as she was known to her close family, walked gracefully down the stairs, two small page-boys awkwardly tried to managed the long train of her dress, giggling as they tried to untangle it from the bannisters without actually falling onto her, resisting the temptation to sit on it and slide down behind her.  Harry look up from the cereal box he’d been studying and smiled as she came into the kitchen.  She’s so unique, he thought, not at all like the girls he’d dated before; he watched her serenely glide across the Amtico marble floor of Nottingham Cottage.  As a child, Meghan never imagined that all those hours practicing the moon-walk at the Widdecombe School of Dance, in Compton, would one day prove to be so valuable to her.  How wonderful it would be she thought, for portly, old Mrs Widdecombe to see her now, a Duchess.  Her mind wandered for a moment, and she daydreamed of a reunion, with her patiently waiting for old Mrs Widdecome to rise from a low curtsy and kiss her hand.   She joined Harry at the breakfast bar and perched, light as a feather, on one of the sophisticated high bar stools and leaned in next to him, almost head to head.   (The stools had been a wedding gift from the people of The Federal Republic of Germany; luxury hi-shine chrome and leather-look seats, by top German designer, Aldi von Lidl).   The page-boys arrived at the doorway, kicking the train, now a giant satiny football shaped thing, realising they had almost caught up with the Duchess, they stopped tussling, abruptly and sat down, cross legged on the floor and waited patiently; (for about three mili-seconds, then they picked pearls off the satin train and flicked them at each other).

“Hot wet?” Asked Harry.

“Harry!  Your nephews are over there.” * Whispered Meghan, blushing.

“Um, it means, do you want a cup of tea, that’s how Marines say it”, replied Harry earnestly.  “Come on Megs, I taught you all the Marines lingo on our first ever date, when we took that wonderful drive from Toronto to Ottawa to see the Canadian National War Memorial.  That particular cenotaph, “The Response” as it’s known, is one of my most favourite war memorials in the world.  It was so special for me, that we both shared a love of war memorials.  That’s when I knew, we were soulmates.

“Oh, yes, of course, I totally remember, that’s the one your Great Grandfather unveiled in 1939?”*  She blushed even redder at the thought that she had let him down, by forgetting one of his fascinating military facts.  “Yes, a cuppa hot, wet tea would be delightful.” Replied Meghan, lying.  She had learned to refuse coffee at breakfast, she was British now – another one of huge sacrifices she had made to marry into Harry’s family.  She’d sacrificed most of her own family, when she got engaged; something she was surprised to find the inner Royal family completely understood, and if anything, looked upon as a very promising quality in her.

  • The “nephews” were in fact no longer “over there”.  They’d snuck away at the first opportunity, back through the maze of corridors and courtyards to a small apartment, hidden, somewhere inconsequential, in the outermost walls of Kensington Palace.  They were, at that precise moment, tucking into a proper boys breakfast of cheap sugary cereal with (lashings of) milk.  Whilst fighting one another for the collectible toy solider in the cereal box, they also levied a joint complaint at their mother*, for making them carry long bit of girls’ dresses around for days on end. 

    * Their mother, Lady Nerissa Chelmsworthy, had at one time been a lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Cornwall.  Nerissa  sought companionship in the stables with one of the queen’s footmen, Mr Darren Graves, of Southend.  The happy marriage that ensued, had led to a downgrading of her ladyship’s title, as is the custom, dropping “Lady”, to become The Hon. Mrs Nerissa Graves;  and subsequently, a downgrading of her roles within the royal household – basically from top job, to dogsbody.  She was now called upon to help out, when there was no-one else; such as when the Duchess of Sussex required a couple of twin page-boys for her long dresses.  The Hon. Mrs Nerissa Graves, was perfectly happy with her choices in life, she and Darren lived happy simple lives, in the heart of Kensington.  Being overlooked by the Royal family brought freedoms she had never known, if she kept her head down, she kept her free home, hidden somewhere within the warren of Kensington Palace.

  • **

      She may at this time have been checking her phone for messages, or even for the weather updates for London (cloudy).  She was absolutely not, in any way, looking up facts on military memorials in Canada and relaying that information to her husband, through the guise of a casual conversation.

Right in the centre of Kensington Palace, in a sprawling apartment with huge windows, Prince William was sitting down to breakfast, with HRH Katherine-the-Great-Mother, and her Royal Children.  (William had been told the children’s names several times by Katherine – when he was pretending to listen to her.  Luckily, his super-spider-senses alerted him that he’d be in trouble, if he dared ask her again.  One time, he’d tried to catch onto what other people called them, but the courtiers had all laughed hard when he called his son, “Your Highness”.   His super-spider-senses immediately sensed something had gone wrong, and he joined in laughing with them, as if he’d deliberately made a joke, about something).

Katherine-The-Great-Mother, put the box of Duchy Organic buckwheat and rye cereal on the table; no one reached for it.  The butler, Stevens, stood beside her with an elaborate crystal punch bowl of chopped fruit.  “Wills, would you like fruit or cereal?”  Katherine asked.

“Neither.” He replied in his ‘unhappy voice’, deliberately putting on his ‘unhappy face’.

“Wills, we need to eat fruit as an example to the children and Duchy products because your Father checks.”  She reminded him with gentle firmness.

“I want the other box”, he said sulkily.  “Not this rubbish, I wouldn’t feed my worst polo pony this stuff, unless I wanted to put it down.”

“Yes, Daddy’s right, it even killed Grandpa’s fish.” Pipped up the small blond boy, sitting next to William.  (Unbeknownst to William, his name was Prince George) “Grandpa’s big golden carp hated it, we fed them some, just before they died, didn’t we Nanny?” ***

Katherine stared at innocent Prince George and then up at his nanny, Kitty Ashby-de-la-Zouch, standing behind him.  Kitty stared back, wide-eyed, wishing she’d drowned in the pool, alongside the carp.  For a fraction of a second, her hand twitched almost imperceptibly, as she mentally considered stuffing down some Duchy cereal, in place of a cyanid pill.

*** .

The four Golden Koi Carp had ranked amongst Prince Charles’ closest friends.  He confided in them on a daily basis, since they’d arrived in the palace pond in 1975.  The shock of finding them floating upside-down on a crisp January morning, still haunted him.  He missed them so much, there were so many things he’d wanted to tell them; they’d never know about Harry’s wedding, about the new eco plantation on the Duchy estate or how wonderful his 70th birthday party was.  The fish had been an honorary gift to the Queen, from her ceremonial trip to Japan in 1975.  The visit had been an attempt at thawing the icy relationship between the communist, People’s Republic of Japan, (who had relatively recently removed all of their own monarch’s powers with the Constitution for the People’s Republic.  This was actually extending the precedent set by the allies, at the end of the WWII, who required Prince Hirahito to admit on National Radio to the Japanese people that he was not ordained by god to lead them.  Obviously, every Japanese man, woman and infant could see through this piece of brilliant political manoeuvring and remained faithful to their Emporer in their hearts).

Prince Phillip had initially been banned from going on the trip to Japan, after he’d vowed to “finish that murdering bastard Prince Hirohito off with my own bare hands, so-help-me-god”, in one of the tour briefings.  The atrocities of the Japanese POW camps were still scarred into British collective memory; and the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had left a gaping hole in Japanese esteem.  Unbeknownst to the British, the treasured carp gift had been the basis of an elaborate insult.  The number four being synonymous with “suffering” in Japanese culture and never normally used in a present.  The carp themselves, most often glorified for their properties of love and beauty, were also less well known, as a symbol of fighting.  “She’s carping-on”, was how the Japanese military translators succinctly summarised every one of the Queens speeches during her visit.  Instead of verbatim translations for their dignitries, they delivered running commentaries on the rise of the young sumo prodigy, Yokozuna Mienoumi, through the various bouts he fought, eventually winning his first successful makuuchi tournament.  The smiling faces and goodwill, the Queen’s party encountered throughout the tour, were due to the large amounts of Yen being collected by Japanese dignitaries, on black market gambling and the amount of celebratory Sake they discretely consumed in tea cups.  The British considered the trip an unprecedented success.

“Hmph.”  Someone made a discrete cough next to Katherine, Stevens said, “Would you Highness prefer Krispy Sugar Flakes for breakfast this morning?”  Katherine shot him a look that could kill, but Stevens was immune to outside influences, steady as a rock, he was able to preserve with the unshakeable hand of silver service, completely unfazed by events around him.   Stevens had served the Prince since being assigned to him as a small child.  Adept at completing tricky time consuming things for him, like tying his shoe laces, unpacking his clothes and passing his helicopter pilot’s licence.

Stephens’ unfazability was an innate skill, very much sought after in children of the lower classes, by the inhabitants of the “Great Houses”.  The “gift”, had come down the generations, it was in his DNA.  Notably, his great, great grandfather had been butler to General, Sir George Pomeroy Colley, throughout his illustrious career.  During the Battle of Ingogo (1881, KwaZulu-Natal) in the First Boer War, he had held an umbrella over Gen. Colley during the rainstorm that change the outcome in favour of the British.  The commemorative painting “British Victory over the Afrikaners at Ingogo.  Her Majesty’s soldiers advance in a retrograde direction from Boers, under cover of a violent rainstorm sent to save them from imminent slaughter, by the direct hand of intervention, of the Lord Christ”; was only completed by the General during the battle, because of the steady hand-on-brolly of his butler, Stevens, protecting the wet canvas from the beating rain.  The original picture still hangs in the National Gallery, celebrating the only victory during the entire war, attributed to the British.  A faded print of said oil on canvas, hangs in a wonky clip-frame, in the corridors beneath stairs, of every stately home in the country.  An important reminder staff that there are no limits to selfless service (or time off, should the Masters or Mistresses, need something).

“Yes please, I love Krispy Sugary Flakes” Will looked up at Stevens with new found enthusiasm,  “How did you know, they were my favourites?” Stevens didn’t reply with words, he was already holding a silver tray with a brand new box of Krispy Sugar Flakes on it.  “Would Your Highness like to find the embedded toy solider, or should I locate it?”

“I want to find it”, exclaimed the blond boy next to William, “Can I?  Can I please?”  William immediately dropped his head and went back to his unhappy face.  Stevens popped a little green figurine in the middle of a white bowl edged with silver, he moved his silver tray forward towards the table, the little boy reach to take the bowl with his short pudgy arms.  Bypassing the child’s outstretched arms, Stevens placed the bowl silently on the crisp, white tablecloth in front of William.  The blond boy’s face crumpled, William however brightened up immediately.  Picking up the toy solider, he marched him around the breakfast table, pretending it was trying to shoot little Prince George from the top of the spoon, then from behind the milk jug etc. The boy’s bottom lip started quivering and his eyes filled with tears.  Katherine waved her arm, indicating the rest of the staff should swoop in and serve fruit and cereal to the children.  Then she retired to her private dressing room, saying she could feel “one-of-her-heads-coming-on”.  She lay on the chaise lounge and called her sister, Pippa, and sobbed heavy tears on the phone about how exhausted she was doing-it-all alone, with no help from Wills.  Two of her ladies-in-waiting removed her shoes and massaged the reflexology points for headaches.

Harry dropped a hexane fuel block into the base of the Crusader cooker on the kitchen worktop.   Using his pocket fire-steel, he deftly lit the block, then fitted the cup of water to the base.

“I could just turn on the water-boiling-kettley-thing, if it’s easier, Harry?” said Meghan.

“No way, Megs,” he replied.  “You’ll never make a hoofing cup of char, using one of those gopping kettles.”

“Yes. You’re. So. Right” Replied Meghan, convincingly.  It was a line she’d been taught to use when she had no idea what was being said.  Her coach, through the complex minefield of royal decorum, etiquette and protocols befitting a Duchess, was the highly regarded Madame Cholet; founder of the famous Swiss Finishing School For Feminists, in San Morizt.  (Formerly known as, “L’Institut Attraper Un Gars Riche”).  Harry pottered about making the tea, still wearing the army fatigues and headband he loved to sleep in, Meghan unconsciously twiddled a small green plastic figure between her fingers, dropping it onto the worktop.  He turned to her, holding a Royal Wedding souvenir mug of tea with both their smiling faces emblazened on it; (there’d been a few left over),  she smiled lovingly up at him, he wasn’t smiling any more.  There was a darkness in his expression she’d never seen before, “Harry, is everything ok?” She asked.  He made no reply, his eyes fixed on the toy solider, lying on it’s back on the counter.  “Harry?  Harry can you hear me?” She asked again, concern now rising in her voice.  But Harry couldn’t hear her, the small toy solider had transported him to another place.  Suddenly, he sprung to life, throwing the mug violently at the wall, Meghan screamed as a fountain of hot tea rose up into the air, landing predominantly over the “Tejn”, faux sheepskin rug (a wedding gift from King Carl XVI Gustaf, of Sweden, chosen by the Trade Ambassador for Ikea).  Then Harry ran, he leapt over the back of the sofa, through the hall and  disappeared out, across the courtyard.  Meghan stared through the now open, front door; which slowly began to swing back towards the house, screaming with centuries of rust.