Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 28/04/2003A message from the future..."Captain's log, star date 2804 point three.

Monday 28/04/2003

A message from the future...

"Captain's log, star date 2804 point three. Due to a chance encounter with a Rigolian wormhole and an estate agent I have been thrown back three hundred years, to the dawn of the 21st century, in order to look for a flat. Using the crude technology of the time I interface with eBay, whose scanners throw up artefacts far more interesting than anything that ever appeared on our scanner screens. Curious.

And I'm in luck. For a mere two million of your Earth dollars, I can buy a flat done up as a replica of the inside of the Star Ship Enterprise -- and not the tatty old one that Kirk tooled around in, neither..."

But what the slaphead captain would have found if he'd checked further is that this flat is situated in a quadrant that strikes fear into even the staunchest starship trooper -- Hinckley, conveniently situated halfway between Birmingham and Leicester. It's not a place normally associated with two million dollar flats, even ones as mildly famous as this one. It was entirely remodelled by owner Tony Alleyne: he split up with his wife and he sought solace in the stars. Now, zealous overwork prompted by grief can certainly get you a long way -- but even the most ardent Trekkie (*) must some day come back from those dark shores and realise that moving on is an option.

But what do you do when you've turned your flat into a film set, undoubtedly at great expense? What happens when you hook up with a nice woman who finds it a little... well, unconducive? And what happens when you realise that you're not in Los Angeles, where you might be able to shift such a property, but just up the road from Nuneaton?

It doesn't help that Alleyne's removed the cooker and washing machine -- well, when was the last time you saw a spin cycle at warp nine? And try as I might, I can't imagine what it would be like to buy such a place. That magical moment when you first open the front door with your own key -- you walk in, press a few of the fake buttons making bleep-bleep noises, mutter Make It So... and you're still in Hinckley, only much, much poorer.

EBay may be a wonder of the age, but you can cover me in fur and call me a Tribble (**) if it works here.

(*) Yes, I know the term is Trekker really, but it winds them up something wonderful. (**) And yes, I know about furries. Don't even think it.