I drove through the rain to Birmingham where I met KB. Homeless since last Christmas, he’d now managed to secure accommodation for himself and his two foster children: Catherine aged 6, and Harry aged 12. (His own daughters had both dropped out of college and left their home town to take up factory work in Greenock.)
To my great surprise JB was with KB. She was fit and healthy and apparently leading a normal life, even though she was still dead. ‘I’m a bit like an illegal immigrant’ she explained ‘Not technically here, but still around’.
In the midst of all the excitement of seeing JB again I forgot that I had a 3:30pm appointment at the Robinson Library at the Newcastle University, some 200 miles north of Birmingham. This had been made several months before, but neither party had confirmed the arrangement. I hoped that it had slipped the mind of the Newcastle librarian too. I would compose a letter of apology the following day.
My next visit was to the library at the University of Birmingham. It full of revelations.
- I met a Japanese woman who wanted to exchange five obviously forged 10p coins for a fifty pence piece.
- On the 6 1⁄4 floor of the library invalids were propped up in bed watching films of the medical procedures that they had just undergone, or that were planned for them.
- On the top floor you could buy Tiffany diamonds from an in-house jeweller.