It was sitting there on the front door mat among the sundry junk mail and one or two items of "real" post and stood out like a sore thumb, the official-looking - even officious-looking - brown envelope.
'Oh no!' I groaned. 'Not another letter from the Inland Revenue!' (Sorry - that should be Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which is what the Inland Revenue has become.) The Old Bat and I seem to have received two or three letters a week from them for the last couple of months, reminding us that we need to file a tax return for 2009/10 by the end of October or January depending on whether we send a paper return or do it online.
But this letter wasn't from them. The return address on the back read "HM Courts Service". I held the envelope in my hand, wondering what I could have done wrong and why I was being taken to court. As far as I was aware my life had been pretty well sinless - at least for the previous few weeks. I might have exceeded the speed limit slightly on the odd occasion, but that wouldn't result in a court summons even if I had been caught. No, I couldn't think what might have led to this letter being sent. I decided I had better open it.
After all these years, with just another two to go before I would be too old for it, I have been called for jury service. Now, I happen to think that we in this country have one of the world's best and fairest systems of justice and that this relies heavily on the jury system of 12 good men and true, but I would really prefer not to have been called up to serve.