A few moments ago I received a telling-off from a former pupil via MSN Messenger: "Update your site more often, damn u." I don't know why, but I keep assuming no-one reads these scribbles. Clearly I'm wrong, so a big Sorry to everyone for making you wait so long for a new diary entry.

I've been trying to a write a short story which, at the moment, is called Searching For A Coat In Warsaw. In the name of research, last week I decided to spend a day in the sort of clothes I wouldn't often wear. So I donned a heavy, ex-French Army coat (recently acquired from eBay), brown boots and a pair of anti-paparazzi-esque sunglasses, and proceeded to walk along the streets of Cambridge, where I happened to be at the time. The idea behind this highly scientific experiment was to see if those around me would behave differently from how they normally do in reaction to my appearance. Unsurprisingly, I'm sure I detected several subtle differences; I certainly felt as though I was on the receiving of quite a few aggressive glares... not something to which I am accustomed...

All this made me remember a passage in Shirin Ebadi's excellent Iran Awakening in which she states that, in her view, people shouldn't be judged according to how they behave under torture. She writes that it is unfair to measure someone's behaviour against 'human' standards when they have been reduced to an inhuman state. Tell that to the good people of Cambridge by whom a long coat and dark shades are deemed worthy of condemnation.

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