Recently I’ve kept a radio by my bedside tuned to the World Service all night long so drift in and out of sleep amidst news of suicide bombs, corrupt leaders clinging to power, plummeting markets and rising waters, protests by the poor who can’t afford to buy grain and bread, shells pounding Afghan deserts . I don’t know why this should help cure insomnia, but it certainly puts my sorrows in their place and I wake from dreams with sand in my hair and blood on my fingers, and half remembered fragments of bizarre conversations with world leaders and old friends.

I went with Dan and Veronica to the coast at the weekend. That beautiful cottage we all stayed in as kids is underwater now, lost to the floods. I went expecting devastation, but already the new coastline looks as peaceful and beautiful as it did before.

A heron drifts leisurely across the vast blue sky, comes to rest on a chimneypot, sits watching awhile, then launches itself towards the reed beds which seethe in the wind.

And now I’m getting down to clearing out the past, selling it off on eBay, item by item. I’ve started cataloguing everything, where I think we bought it, what it meant in my or Barry’s life. I’ve put all that on the website so I’m not just selling objects now, but emblems of our enthusiasms and pleasures. And in exchange my buyers are telling me about the objects and activities that have mattered to them. It’s rather therapeutic – and financially rewarding.

Talking of financial reward, I've made another decision: I'm going to have a stab at running Barry's business myself. Dan and V were very encouraging, said they were sure I could make a go of it. Futurism’s got to have potential as a trade in these uncertain times, at this moment in history which, unlike all other moments since the beginning of the universe,