Do you ever have the feeling that someone, or something, is urging you to take risks which, left to your own devices, you would never contemplate?  I first became aware of my alter ego during my teens and, for reasons which will become obvious, I call her (yes, her) Miss Hap.

I have lived a charmed life (I suppose I should qualify that by saying ‘thus far’, but even if I get my comeuppance now, it won’t alter this interim verdict). My childhood was happy in the days of marbles, conkers, meccano and dinkey toys.  I even enjoyed my schooldays despite (or perhaps because of) learning very little. My marriage has been very happy. My work has been thoroughly enjoyable. My health has been good. All major wars have avoided me. I have never been mugged, stabbed or a victim of road rage.

But from time to time, Miss Hap appears and whispers a suggestion in my ear. This, it has slowly dawned on me, is the precursor to a mishap or an embarrassing incident.  I know it sounds like a feeble excuse but over the years I have come to realise that these happenings are not my fault.  Miss Hap is entirely to blame.

I first became aware of Miss Hap during my schooldays when, for example, smoking cigarettes behind the cricket pavilion, or daring to go into the local town without wearing my school cap. After school, during National Service and university, her appearances became more frequent – always daring me to do something reckless or silly.

Most, if not all, of my mishaps are attributable to Miss Hap (well, that’s my excuse!).  It follows, therefore, that Miss Hap appears in most of my anecdotes.  Without her unannounced intervention, there would be no anecdotes.

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