The Science Museum was another matter altogether.

Sometimes I entered it from the passage that led from the Natural History Museum and on other occasions I approached from the main entrance in Exhibition Road - at the far end of the "Foot Tunnel to Museums" that led from the tube station; a tunnel so long that the end appeared to disappear with the perspective and you wondered whether it had originality been designed to carry trains.


The entrance to the Science Museum was deceptive - it was nothing like the grandiose frontage of the Natural History Museum but more like you imagined a Victorian office building or part of the Ministry of the Defence. However the interior took you by surprise - a cavernous hall filled with light and lined with machines in glass cases, brass mechanisms the purpose of which was often obscure. Off to one side a wide curved staircase surrounded a stairwell in which an enormous pendulum swung to demonstrate the rotation of the earth.

It was when you penetrated deeper into the building that you came across the real treasure though. At the far end of the bright entrance hall loomed a dark portal into a chamber as shrouded in gloom as the previous one had been in bathed in light. This chamber was all about the exploration of space - and as such right up my alley.

Pride of place in this exhibition was given to "Charlie Brown", the genuine Apollo 10 command module that had taken Cernan, Stafford and Young to the Moon and back (without actually landing) in May 1969 - a dress rehearsal for the actual landing two months later. This vehicle had taken human beings the furthest from home than any other, having carried the astronauts a quarter of a million miles from Houston. I used to stare at it and imagine the bronze coloured exterior exposed to space and how it would have looked with the moon only a hundred miles or so beneath it.

The rest of this gallery was equally as impressive - full sized replica satellites hung from the ceiling including the four pronged space age shuttlecock of Sputnik 1. The catwalk that ran around the upper level contained more wonders with exhibits dedicated to the exploration of the rest of the solar system by  automatic probes. A model of the Viking 1 Mars lander stood on a reproduction of the Martian surface whilst the Pioneer and Voyager probes' lonely flybys of Jupiter and Saturn were illustrated in colour photographs and artists impressions.

I always spent a long time in here but inevitably I'd start to tire of Telstar and Explorer 1, Ariel 1 and HEOS. I'd walk through the back into another large chamber, one that echoed the entrance hall but that unlike that hall was filled with shining vehicles.

Most of these belonged to a bygone age but shone like new, their brass and steel fittings having been thoroughly polished. Aside from the London Underground I'd never been much into trains but there was something abut seeing these metal behemoths outside their natural habitat and stranded on truncated sections of rail that made them enormously impressive. The wheels looked so heavy and solid, the drivers' compartments so high up from the ground. This was the equivalent of the dinosaur gallery in the Natural History Museum, a room full of animals whose size alone had the ability to shock.

There were other, friendlier beasts in here of course - electric teams and old fashioned tube carriages into which I was always disappointed not to be able to go - I wanted to examine the maps and advertisements adorning the carriages in detail.

Further up and further into the museum lay galleries that were less popular and it was these that I used to enjoy exploring after I'd finished with space and trains. It was like being let loose in the bowels of some abandoned research institute; glass cabinets filled with components and developments that had no doubt once been very impressive. Tucked away somewhere on the top floor of the building in the corner of a department dedicated to optics was one of the most impressive exhibits of all (to my young mind) - a real hologram.

I'd heard of holograms of course - they were three dimensional pictures - and I had often imagined watching holovision in the future - but at this point they were far from commonplace. The lighting in this section was eerie, weird green and flickering. The image of a bald man with glasses (Dennis Gabor, the inventor of holography) sitting behind a desk seemed an odd and rather dull subject for such an exciting technology but this was mitigated by how exciting the effects of the technology itself were. As I walked backwards and forwards in front of the image I could see around things - in particular I recall a pen in a pen holder on his desk displaying distinct parallax. Another hologram was concealed in a vertical tube around which you could walk - inside a woman looking over her shoulder winked at you.

Some places in the upper reaches of the museum were a showcase of exciting new technology. I remember on one occasion - and given what I remember this must have been at a time when my obsession with wandering around museums was nearing its end as it involved the subject of a new obsession - there was a display, sponsored by the BBC, of the wonderful new Laserdisc technology. These were the size of LPs but looked to be made of metal and held high definition video (in retrospect just giant DVDs). The demonstration showed how they film could be slowed without any static or loss of image quality and even paused or run backwards. The disc they were using for this demo was Toyah at the Rainbow, one of the first laserdiscs (and VHS cassettes) released by the BBC.

Elsewhere in the museum were other forerunners of things we take for granted these days. One popular exhibit which you usually had to queue to use was a computer you could play "games" on. This was simply a monitor displaying blocky orange alphanumerics behind a clunky keyboard you used to communicate with it. These were probably connected to a mainframe somewhere in the building.

The games you could play were very simple. One asked you to type in the name of a tube station and it would then give you the route there from South Kensington. Another was a version of twenty questions in which the computer tried to guess what you were thinking of. Despite the simplicity this program did allow the computer to "learn" and so was a baby step on the road to Artificial Intelligence. The ends of these games were always interesting as more often than not the computer would fail to guess and would then ask the person to give it a yes/no question to distinguish between the last guess it had made and what the person was thinking.

Most people didn't understand what it was asking them and either gave up at this point or typed a vague definition of their object in which didn't work as a question. Baby steps on the road to artificial stupidity. This was one of the most frustrating things about waiting in line - other people usually seemed to squander their go... Even back then the attraction of the computer was strong.

There were other museums in South Kensington but none of them had the lure of the Big Two and I never ventured inside the V&A until I was an adult - and even then not very often. Even the British Museum over in Bloomsbury - a place that in later years I used to spend hours - didn't have the pull that the Natural History and Science Museums did during childhood.

I wonder what they're like now?

As a teenager I used to like going to the museums at South Kensington on my own.

This might sound like an odd thing to want to do, but what with the cheap tube tickets (half-fare was for a time set at a flat rate of 10p even if you wanted to go to Ongar) and the fact that the museums had no entry fee it was a cheap way of entertaining myself.

As a younger child these visits with adults had always been a special treat but had been slightly frustrating as you were subject to the whim of your guardian (whether parent or teacher) with regard to how long you could spend staring at things. This could get annoying if you wanted to try one of the demos - more often than not there would be a scrum of five year olds around the button jabbing it pointlessly and not waiting to see whether a tinny voice would start to emerge from a speaker or the intricate brass mechanism within the display case would start to operate with slow inevitability. By the time it became free you'd have been dragged off into the next chamber. I longed to have the place to myself, like the Time Traveller in H G Wells's The Time Machine when he discovers the Palace of Green Porcelain in the year 802,701.

Once I was old enough to travel solo on the tube, going to South Kensington on my own at weekends or during the summer holidays was the nearest I could get to this ideal.

The excitement started when disembarking at South Kensington. Rather than making my way up to street level I always used the "Foot Tunnel to Museums" - a long, wide Victorian subterranean passageway lined with ceramic tiles and with shafts up to pavement level to let in light. Halfway along a set of steps emerged at the corner of the gardens in which the Natural History Museum was set.

I don't know which museum I liked the most; I think it depended what kind of mood I was in. Sometimes it was definitely the Natural History. The complex gothic exterior gave some indication of the myriad wonders concealed within, and my heart always started beating a little faster as I walked through the doors into the Central Hall.

Originally the centrepiece of the hall had been a display consisting of some replica elephants and rhinoceroses, a display my parents remembered from their own childhood visits. If you wanted to see the dinosaurs - as all right thinking children would - you had to go looking for them, eventually finding the gallery somewhere deep in the museum. Your discovery was made all the more exciting by the fact you'd had to search.

Then they changed it. They moved the diplodocus skeleton into the Central Hall. I didn't like this. Of course I liked the diplodocus itself, it was one of my favourite exhibits (even after I discovered that it was only a plaster replica of an original fossil), but moving it to the entrance like this felt like a sellout, showing people one of the most popular and exciting of the museum's inhabitants the moment they arrived. It was like revealing the climax of a story on page one.

Every time I visited I told myself I was going to look at the whole of the museum and every time I got distracted by something which would take up all my time until I had to leave.

Some of the galleries with things in glass cases were virtually empty the whole time. With a whole cavernous hall to myself, I used to walk up and down the rows staring at the ancient specimens. The fact that they had probably once been collected by long dead Victorian naturalists was almost as interesting as the exhibits themselves. Tucked away in the gloom in one corner were the remains of the last dodo. In other corners flocks of butterflies were frozen under glass, their colours muted in the half-light.

More popular was the human biology gallery, a space age interactive experience on the ground floor that was all curved white surfaces and cathode ray tubes shining in the darkness. It was completely unlike the rest of the museum, like a trans dimensional alien craft that had inexplicably materialised in the cathedral like interior of the old building.

At the entrance stood a group of naked human effigies in white - the nudity robbed of its embarrassment value by the fact that they appeared more like statuary than flesh and blood. Nevertheless, after a few visits I noticed that their bottoms had started to get a bit grubby. I concluded that when confronted with a pair of (plastic) buttocks most tourists found themselves unable to resist having a quick feel.

There was something organic and dreamlike about this gallery. Behind the hubbub of visitors you could hear the subtle sound of a heartbeat - not actually an ambient effect designed for the whole exhibition, but unavoidably leaking put of one of the chambers - an oversize reproduction of a womb into which visitors could walk and contemplate a model of a gargantuan human foetus whist listening to the soundtrack of pre-birth.

Other exhibits in this gallery were interactive. I clearly remember one in a darkened section all about the human brain. In front of a screen was a sloped metal surface from which protruded two levers - comedy archetypes consisting of a metal stick with a plastic ball on the end. Above them was a notice that read "pull one of these levers". I did so and almost immediately a voice boomed out of the darkness.

"What have you just done?"

Despite the accusatory nature of this sudden question, the voice was  calm and reassuring. It then went on to explain the sequence of events that had just occurred - from the eye seeing the words to the brain decoding them and what happened next ("You then realised that you had a choice...").

The sound of this and other exhibits added to the phantasmagorical atmosphere of the  Human Biology gallery. One showed a short film about the fight or flight response in which a man was surprised by a cat in the middle of the night. The man's gasp of fear, his elevated heartbeat and breathing plus the cat's miaow all added to the bizarre ambience as I walked beneath giant red blood cells and examined displays demonstrating the wiring of the human brain and how perception worked. Skeletons stood like sentinels in the corner, adding vestiges of my childhood fear of them to the mix. Strange questions ("duck or rabbit?") decorated the walls and further white mannequins with perspex chests revealing their internal organs stood on pedestals. Models of the cortical homunculus stood in glass cases, their giant hands on pencil thin wrists somehow reminding me of the nightmares I had when delirious.

After this psychedelic experience the calm of the rest of the museum was required simply to ground me. The stuffed animals in painted dioramas were reassuring in their blandness. I mounted the stairs in the Central Hall and made my way to the upper levels, back to the glass cases, seeking out rooms I'd never visited before. On these upper levels I discovered the whale gallery, a full size model of a Blue Whale hanging from the ceiling like the hull of a gigantic airship. Up here in the rafters large skylights let in the sunlight and I felt a long way from ground level. There was so much to see and I could spend all day in here. Nevertheless after a while I would start to feel the compulsion and made my way back to the ground floor and headed towards the rear of the museum.

Natural History was all very well but there was something else I found just as fascinating. Science and technology. My visits to South Kensington were never complete without a visit to the Science Museum. And I knew a secret.

It wasn't that much of a secret really, but in the ground floor tucked away behind a room containing stuffed crocodiles and ostriches was a long, low gallery, the walls of which were lined with glass cases. This passageway led from the Natural History Museum to the Science Museum, and passing under the open shutters at one end you would step out of the world of the organic and were now surrounded by machines, from steam engines to space capsules.

This was another world altogether.

One of the most enjoyable extra-curricular activities I took part in as a child was called the Children's Theatre Workshop. Nothing to do with the Children's Television Workshop who produced Sesame Street (although at the time in my head they were somehow linked), this was a group that met every Saturday morning at an office space in the West End of London, tucked away in a side street somewhere behind Bond Street tube. I must have only taken part between the ages of seven and ten but in retrospect it seemed like a long and happy time.

We would meet up and devise short plays, scenarios and sketches as well as taking part in more drama workshop type activities of the standing up, shaking your arms and legs and pretending to be a tree type. The workshop was supervised by a handful of adults and consisted of twenty to thirty children of between eight and thirteen. There were only a handful of the older children there and they all loomed large in the scenarios. They felt like the leaders. Even now I remember the names of a few of them.

As well as the Saturday morning activities (to which a lot of the time I travelled to by myself on the tube - another adventure) there were some day long workshops as well as a couple of productions put on at the Curtain Theatre in Whitechapel, a workshop that lasted several days at the ILEA TV studio in Highbury and Islington during which we recorded a TV sketch show "Us by Us" (which I have never seen - I wonder if it's languishing on a VHS in someone's house somewhere?) and a week in Mortehoe in Devon. The latter I can pin down to an exact date as it was during this week that episode 6 of the Doctor Who story "Genesis of the Daleks" was shown, the hotel TV affording me the first opportunity to watch Doctor Who in colour.

I remember getting very wrapped up in the acting so it almost became real. One time - I seem to remember this being one of the day long sessions - we were producing a whole series of short scenes based around The Queen of Hearts having her tarts stolen. I ended up being the Knave of Hearts which made me kind of uncomfortable as I was the villain but on another level I enjoyed this as it allowed me to act in ways I wasn't accustomed to. We did some workshopping of the characters which didn't end up in the final scenes and in one of them an adult played a judge cross questioning me.

She didn't hold back. "Why did you take them?" she boomed, face like thunder. I muttered something about having been hungry, but inside I'd started getting scared and upset. As she continued hectoring me I felt as if I was about to cry.

The strange thing was I knew full well that this wasn't real and furthermore really liked the woman. And yet I got so into the fiction that I started experiencing the emotions my fictional character would have. I don't know if this means if I'd have stuck at it I would have made a good actor or a terrible one, but on some level it was a relief that this scene didn't make it into the final production.

I enjoyed the acting though, it was fun being someone else and a shame that, aside from a brief stint in a drama workshop as an adult, I didn't take it any further.

I still feel echoes of the irrational upset I experienced during the knave's interrogation to this day whenever I'm in the presence of someone who is expressing their anger at a situation. Even though it's not personal, I can't help feeling that they're shouting at me. I am, after all, the only person there and in my head there's no point in shouting at nothing. An erroneous interpretation of course and it's probably healthy for the person involved to let off steam in this way. Whilst I do what I can to help and comfort them I can't ignore the fact that same phrase goes round and round in my head every time.

"I didn't do it."

I recently wrote a blog entry which described the effect fantasy novels - and I used the term very loosely, intentionally including SF - had on me. In particular I talked about the way I considered it essential that the Other World visited in the story was real and that, even if the protagonists returned to their own world at the end, the Other World still existed and was emphatically not Just A Dream.

Revisiting some stories and thinking about others I've also come to recognise another equally powerful ingredient contained in fantasies I enjoy. These tales of other worlds are far more powerful if they also contain scenes set in this one.

Fantasies set in the real world have an extra frisson of excitement about them. If set in a real location then it is always possible for you to go and visit the location after reading, a fantastic experience which makes the book almost real.

I have yet to visit Watership Down (and if I ever found myself in the vicinity I think I have to revisit the novel in preparation) but a few years after reading Richard Adams's second animal fantasy The Plague Dogs I found myself visiting the Lake District for the first time. Whilst the background of the novel is firmly grounded in a rather bleak reality there was an otherworldly aura about looking at the hills around me and imagining Snitter and Rowf on the run somewhere out there.

There is something exciting about seeking out these places, especially when they are so well described. Reality becomes thinner. If these streets, that town, those hills are just like they were in the story then who is to say that some of the other more outlandish parts of the narrative might also be true? Well, one's rational self of course, but nevertheless the part of us that enjoys stories is well practised in suspending disbelief.

In my teenage years I enjoyed Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius novels and had even visited Ladbroke Grove in pilgrimage where I was disappointed to discover that the Convent of the Poor Clares had been demolished. More recently I devoured his masterworks Mother London and King of the City and in particular was seized by a desire to visit Sporting Club Square W6. It was a big disappointment to discover that it didn't actually exist. Whilst on the one hand creating imaginary places and slipping them imperceptibly in between real ones takes real skill - and sometimes is required for narrative or even legal reasons - there's often something that doesn't ring true about them. In this instance Michael Moorcock had described Sporting Club Square so well that I had been completely taken in.

On general though I prefer the slices of the real world that appear in fantasy to be places I could actually visit.

There is another side of this coin and one which can take you more by surprise. That is when you're reading a book and slowly but surely come to realise that it is taking place somewhere you know. The first time this happened to me was when I was a child, reading Jennie by Paul Gallico (a book also referred to in the previous blog entry mentioned at the beginning of this one). When protagonist boy-turned-cat Peter is tempted away from central London by the crazy siamese cat poet Lulu ("Thimble, Thimble, Thimble, Thimble, THIMBLE!") they end up travelling "steadily north through Highgate to Queen’s Wood". I couldn't quite believe that I was reading the names of places I knew well. This was the reverse of the previous experience - I wasn't travelling somewhere part fictional, this was the story itself waltzing into my life and reminding me that even the most ordinary of places could have some magic in them just around the corner.

It's not something that's happened often and in fact the next time I can recall was when I was an adult, already living in Hove. I'd just bought The Servants by Michael Marshall Smith and after only a few pages realised that it was set somewhere less than five minutes walk from where I sat reading it.  As the story progressed and events grew more mysterious I felt a resurgence of that childhood feeling that the world may yet be a stranger, more frightening and more exciting place than anyone realises.

All due to the story taking place in the real world.

The problem with fiction is that if it tries to reflect the real world too accurately you run into all sorts of logical problems.

This is particularly noticeable with long running TV series - especially soaps - as they strive to reflect the real world more and more. Take Eastenders. Its grim portrait of life in the east end of London is on several times a week at prime time with an omnibus edition on Sundays.  This raises the question - in the Eastenders universe what is on BBC1 at the times Eastenders is shown in ours? Are they watching us? The problem is of course that soaps often are a big part of the viewing public's lives and the omission of itself as fiction from the world it portrays means that a soap such as Eastenders will always have an air of unreality about it. But there's nothing really that could be done about it - the invention of another fictional soap to fill the gap would have the opposite effect and make things appear even further from reality.

Sometimes it's not the omission of itself from its fictional world that causes problems but the (perhaps necessary) omission of a whole concept. Take The Walking Dead. Set in a alternative present day/near future beset by a zombie apocalypse it is realistic and contains pop culture references to the real world. And yet… has not a single one of the survivors ever seen a zombie movie? You'd expect them to say "Hey, this is just like that movie…" or occasionally use the z-word. At least in most fiction featuring vampires people know what they are when faced with one, even if they thought they were fictional.

When a show is based on a true story things get even more potentially knotty. Long running TV series The Waltons, based on the life of writer Earl Hamner, was first broadcast in 1971 and was set in 1933.  If the series had continued to be made past the 80s with show-time keeping in step with real-time then in 2009 the show would have been set in 1971 and would have had to include the launch of a TV show based on the characters' lives as of course that is what happened in the real life upon which the show was based.

And then in 2047 they would have ended up watching an episode set in 2009 in which the double-fictional Waltons watched the triple-fictional Waltons in 1971 watch the first episode of a series featuring the quadruple-fictional Waltons in 1933.

It's just as well it was cancelled.

But it's when two shows are involved that the paradoxes really start to pile up.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Doctor Who a (non-canon) charity cross over with Eastenders was broadcast, Dimensions in Time. Whilst this is best considered a piece of fluff that didn't really happen within the continuity of either shows, the shows' relationship with each other remains a complex one.

In Eastenders, Doctor Who is a TV programme the characters refer to - there was even a short lived character Trevor who was a nerdy Doctor Who fan. All well and good, but then again in Doctor Who, Eastenders is a TV programme - in the episode Army of Ghosts the Doctor even watches a minute or so of the show…

But how can they each be fictional shows in each others worlds without the universe collapsing?  And didn't Doctor Who fans in Eastenders wonder why Torchwood boss Yvonne Hartman was a dead ringer for Den's second wife Chrissie?

The answer of course is willing suspension of disbelief. Compared to some of the things these shows would have us believe - especially Eastenders - a little bit of recursive paradox should be childsplay. It's not real.

This does raise the question about what happens when a show is deliberately linked to another, when hints are put in place that you might not spot unless you're concentrating. For instance, remarks made in a season two episode imply that Lost takes place in the same universe as The Office (UK). This means that it is entirely possible for David Brent to be killed by the smoke monster.

Which would have been a fantastic episode of either show.

A long time ago in the days before mobile phones we took appointments far more seriously than we do now. In some ways this was a good thing but in others it meant that you could end up having to wait for someone for a very long time - sometimes hours.

I had occasion to be both ends of such embarrassing situations. Both were, I guess, dates. I can't think which of the two situations - being late or being stood up - was the worst to be in.

The time that I was late came first. Admittedly I did have an excuse - I'd been at a gig in Bath the evening before and had spent most of the night hanging around the station, variously walking about and attempting to find somewhere for a quick doze. Eventually the first train of the day heading for London arrived. I can't remember what time it was but probably something like six thirty or so. You'd have thought that it would mean that I had plenty of time to get back, but the train seemed to be stopping at every single little platform between the West Country and West London with the result that I wasn't in London until mid morning. This would have been fine if it hadn't been for the fact that I had arranged to meet a new potential girlfriend at Embankment station to spend the day wandering around London.

I eventually rolled up at least an hour late if not more and was simultaneously relieved and worried to see her still waiting there albeit with a face like thunder. Thankfully after a shaky start the date went quite well and in retrospect it was a shame that we didn't go out for longer.

Fast forward about ten years and after a night at the Slimelight I'd arranged to meet a new potential girlfriend outside Oxford Circus tube at around 2pm to go for a drink somewhere in the West End. Perhaps an over ambitious plan seeing as we'd both been up clubbing until 7.30am but back then I still had my enthusiasm and after a couple of hours with my head down I was ready to get up and go out again. Sadly, it turned out that she wasn't and I sat on a bench at the top of Argyll Street for almost two hours before she emerged from the tube station looking guilty. I forgave her instantly and the date went quite well. Once again in retrospect it's a shame that we didn't go out for longer.

Would both dates have been massively improved if mobile phones had existed in those days? I don't know. It might have diffused any subconscious tension that may have been hanging around in the air as a result of one half of the assignation being tardy. But on the other hand the existence of the mobile phone and the ease of communication it provides - especially texting - means that people no longer feel compelled to keep their appointments. Would the dates I talked about above even have happened if we'd had mobile phones? We might have cancelled and then never rescheduled.

Impossible to say.

However, I don't think the failure of these relationships can be blamed on the non-existence of mobile phones at the time. The reason these relationships didn't happen is entirely my fault. They were both intelligent and attractive women, the kind of women that I liked. But in each of the two situations I didn't show them enough interest because I had my mind on someone else at the time, someone else with whom I had become unhealthily obsessed but with whom I didn't stand a chance. And the one-track nature of my monogamous mind led me to pursue the unobtainable at the expense of what was right in front of me.

There is probably a lesson to be learned here. I wonder if I've learned it yet?

Walking down the street this afternoon I found myself in a part of town that I hadn't really visited that much of late, although it was an area I used to frequent more when I first moved down here some fifteen or so years ago.  Fifteen years!  Quite absurd of course to consider that such time had passed. It only seemed like the other day that I made my way down to the coast from London and...

Actually no. I realised that it did seem like a long time ago. The biggest difference was how I felt. Walking down that street again evoked in me a Proustian rush, I recalled just how free and excited I felt back then. I'd made a big change to my life and uprooted myself. The possibilities appeared endless, above me an infinite blue sky that reflected my state of mind.

I instantly became depressed. Things were so much more negative and gloomy now, the world a far more depressing place. What was it that had changed so much so as to skew my outlook to such a large degree?

Aside from the passage of time I could think of very little. OK, so I was now older but all that really meant was a few more pounds, a few more wrinkles and a few less hairs on my head. Surely that wasn't enough to have knocked my mood so badly off course over the period of a decade and a half? Other than that I was still in employment, single (which can be seen as both a positive and negative thing) and if anything better off and more financially stable than I had been in 1998. Furthermore in the intervening years I'd actually achieved a few things which the younger me would probably have been quite pleased with.

Why did I feel so trapped? There was no logical reason for me not to feel just as optimistic as I had back then and yet in comparison to times past I felt as if I was looking at the bright warm world through thick iron bars, locked up in a prison in my head, barely able to turn around in my cell. No hope, no future, no change in sight. The memory of how I used to feel was just another torture, taunting me with a glimpse of how I could never feel again.

It was obvious that I was my own jailer. I'd locked myself in there, the bars were of my own making. The opportunities and hope I felt all around me back in 1998 were all still there, and there was no reason I could not still grab hold of them with both hands in the way I perhaps should have back then. I just had to break out of the prison.

I am still not convinced that I have, but the sense that the bars were illusory is stronger now than it has been for a very long time. The only thing holding me back is myself which raises the question of why I have been doing it.

It could be fear of failure or fear of the unknown or perhaps a lack of imagination? Or maybe my surroundings having grown so familiar that I simply forgot how much potential lay within them.

There is nothing I cannot try. Who says I have to go home and go to bed after work every single day? There are a million things I could be doing and I have no excuse not to do as many of them as I can.

I am cutting through the bars with an oxyacetylene torch.

Once I have done so the trick will be to keep reminding myself that they don't exist.