I encountered so many interesting readers during the years in which I did the What a Life! column. One I recall was a policeman whose job was that of permanently policing the Houses of Parliament. He wrote to me in Spain to say that as an amateur he took the magazine and read the articles, and the upshot was that he invited Greeneyes and me to London to be shown over both Houses of Parliament. Son Steven accompanied us and we were allowed official parking space. The house was in recession at the time for its summer holiday, and there were a good number of maintenance workmen here and there.
Our guide was a very learned and experienced Parliamentary man, and we had him to ourselves. The first thing that surprised me was that the Houses of Lords and Commons are contained in the same vast and awe-inspiring building, and are connected through other rooms. The Commons chamber looked grand indeed with its green leather seating, but nothing like so grand as the Lords, whose leathers were of bright maroon. In the commons we stood where so many eminent prime ministers had stood over the centuries, and I felt that it might be an idea to sit in the Speaker's chair. It looked a grand and stately affair, and I noticed that the maintenance men had lifted off its padded seat, which was in fact the top of a box which was quite plain inside. I was struck by the fact that placed askew in it was a large and rather scruffy transformer in its tangle of wires. I never asked its purpose, and my mention of it in my subsequent What a Life!
article was tactfully blue-pencilled by the editor!
Our host came and found us around lunchtime to take us to one of the restaurants for a 'working-lunch' , and I was surprised to find that this was outside the building, a few yards down the busy street.
If the article surfaces here I'll be keen to see what I wrote about it at the time!

(C) October 2009 Donald Bullock