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Our countryside building renovation project was in full swing. I had taken the biggest gamble of my life. I had given up on my big-money job in London, uprooted my family and moved them (all six of us) to the quiet, idyllic county of Herefordshire (one of only three areas in the whole of the British Isles to be officially classified as 'An Area of Peace and Tranquillity'). And boy did our little David affect our peace and tranquillity on one (un)fateful day.

We had the builders in. The old building was surrounded by scaffolding (it needed renovating, literally, 'from the roof down'). This 'grand old building' dated back to the 1600s, and comprised a four-storey, leading up to a three-storey and, eventually, a two storey (of Elizabethan 'Spanish Armada' timbers and original English Brick panelled) building that had been neglected for goodness how many years: hence the scaffolding. In retrospect, perhaps it was my fault, but, needs must. Before the renovation was complete, as soon as the beautiful old place was habitable, I quickly sold our 'old' place and moved us all over from Buckinghamshire (goodbye London Commuter life) into our beautiful new/old Herefordshire county residence.

The place was still covered in scaffolding (interlinked metal poles that cover the entire building). The highest point of the (very high) building was, of course, the very highest, very tallest chimney pot. Do you know how high a chimney pot, on top of a roof, on top of a very high four-storey building is? I certainly don't (and I shudder when I even think about it). But there he was: sitting in all of his seven year old glory. Sitting right on top of the tallest chimney pot: 40, 50, 60? feet in the air? My heart sank but, at least, my brain got into gear. "David", I loudly whispered – for fear of shocking him into falling off, "David, please come down". "OK Dad."

'Peace and Tranquility?'

Meet The Author...
Jimmy Bates
Who Am I?

A grammar school boy from a working class family, Jimmy Bates has had a chequered career. Before becoming a writer he worked in a variety of jobs, then graduated with an honours degree in electronics, emigrated and became a scientist in Canada and then a director of the same hi-tech company in the U.S.A. He returned to England in 1980 and spent 25 years as a management consultant and held directorships of several high-technology companies before retiring and taking up writing full-time. His interests are history, sociology, science & technology and music. He was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, spent all of his school years in Stoke-on-Trent, is married has six children (all grown up now), four grandchildren and has lived in Herefordshire for the past 25 years. His books ( include:

My Blog...

ONE WRONG TURN: The amazing story of how one single bullet started The First World War

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SatNav Rules, OK?: A humorous novel of how modern technology can affect modern society

Fancy a Game of Darts Our Youth? A step-by-step guide on how to play (including humorous personal anecdotes)

Kick out the Brits!: A real-life family ‘US road trip of-a-lifetime’

To Death and Beyond: Short stories of real near-death experiences


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A 3-book fictional story of a serial killer

The Last Scrap: Factual account from turbulent teenage years to a caring father-figure to the next generation.

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