Category Archives: Weird phenomena

The Truth Is Out There

In which The Author is abducted by extraterrestrials

I can’t remember how long ago this happened. I’d bought my house, so I must have been in my early thirties. It was early summer, I know that much. Anyway, it’s not really important. What was important was that I was wearing a particular collar, which I always seem to be wearing when silly things happen. It’s a sort of unlucky talisman, I think.
I went into Cardiff on my Saturday off, to have a look around and a couple of beers. I travelled down on the train and got off at Cathays. I thought it would be an idea to check out some of the student pubs around that area. It was a bad idea. I had a pint in the Woodville (when it was first painted yellow and full of local idiots) and then headed into town. I had one in the Park Vaults, another in the Rummer, one in the Horse and Groom, and finished in the Model Inn.
Sarah, the cute Goth barmaid, wasn’t working that evening, but I got chatting to a couple of guys by the bar. It turned out that they knew my mate Alun the tattooist, so we chatted for a while about music and long-lost pubs. My mates’ band were playing a gig in Aberdare that night, so I intended to get the last train home. At the time, it left at about 8.20 (pathetic, I know, but that was the best we could hope for in those days). At about 8.00 I finished my beer and left to head for the station.
At which point the UFO abducted me.
The next thing I can remember, I was walking along a wide road with big houses on either side. It was raining heavily, and dark. Figuring that I was in Llwydcoed, I decided I could always crash out in Dad’s flat for the night.
But the rain got heavier and the road didn’t seem to be leading anywhere. I decided to sit in the first bus shelter I came to and wait for the rain to stop before I went any further. At some point, I presume I fell asleep. I don’t wear a watch, and this was in the days before I owned a mobile phone, so I had no idea of the time.
I woke and it was light. The rain was now a light drizzle, and the sun was trying to break through the early morning mist. I looked around at the bus shelter, and immediately realised that something was wrong. In the valleys, they’re either made of concrete or reinforced plastic, to prevent the local kids from smashing them up. This one was made from wooden panels.
The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more!’
Outside the bus shelter was a post which should have housed a timetable, but for some reason it was missing. There was another shelter opposite, so I crossed the road and had a look at the signpost:
Cosmeston Lakes
I’d only ever heard of this place at second hand, and seen it on maps. It’s a country park situated between Barry and Penarth, some way to the south-west of Cardiff. It would have been impossible to get there by any means other than the bus, or on foot from a couple of miles away. There’s a reconstructed medieval village there, apparently, but the main feature is a couple of big lakes. That’s when it hit me.
When the extraterrestrials had scoured my memory, they’d obviously found out that I lived near a country park with some big lakes. They’d scanned the area close to the site of my abduction, found Cosmeston Lakes, and put me back down there.
I sat in the bus shelter for probably a couple of hours until the bus came along. It was going to Cardiff. I was lucky that I was that close to the city. If I’d been right out in the sticks, there wouldn’t have been buses on a Sunday morning – maybe not even on a Sunday at all!
I had a couple of quid in my pocket, just enough to get me into Cardiff. (Luckily I still had my wallet, so I would be able to take some money out once I arrived in town.) I got onto the bus, which was nearly empty, and tried to look inconspicuous as it made its long roundabout way through Barry into Cardiff, picking up passengers all the way.
The only place open to get something to eat was Marks & Spencer by the station. I bought some sandwiches and wandered around Cardiff until the trains started running, about lunchtime. When I finally arrived back in Aberdare, I headed for the pub for a well-deserved pint. Naturally, I didn’t tell anyone about my adventures. It was too embarrassing.
A couple of days later, I mentioned it to Trish in work. She’s from Wenvoe, and reasonably familiar with that area. At first she didn’t believe me, but then I mentioned the route number of the bus I’d caught, and that proved that I wasn’t making it up. The word quickly went round work, and my alien abduction is still a legend amongst my colleagues and friends who know about it.

A Mysterious Book

In which The Author receives an unexpected delivery

(First posted on MySpace, 13 June 2007)

I got home from work tonight and there was a packet lying on the doormat. It was addressed to me and had a partial return address on the back. At first glance I thought it was a bundle of newsletters from the South Wales Anarchist Group. Then I realised that the return postmark wasn’t NP (Newport) but NG (Nottingham), so I opened it up.
Inside was a copy of The Embedding by Ian Watson, a book I first read a quarter of a century ago. I lent my copy to a friend some years ago, and haven’t seen it since. I’ve mentioned it to a few people since (including the person who borrowed it) but, like many of my books, it’s drifted out of sight. It was back in print briefly a few years ago, but I put off buying it because I thought I might get my own copy back.
Now, mysteriously, I have another copy. It’s not the same edition – mine was a Granada paperback edition from about 1981; this is a Quartet paperback edition from 1975. I’ve even done a reverse postcode search on the Royal Mail website, to no avail. I found the street and the house, but that’s where the trail ends. My brother’s ex-girlfriend is from Nottingham originally, but we don’t know where she currently lives, and as far as I know she doesn’t have my address anyway.
I have absolutely no idea who sent this to me. It arrived with no advance warning or word of explanation. If anyone has any idea, please let me know. Thanks anyway to the kind person who’s plugged a gap in my collection. I’ll buy you a drink when I find out who the fuck you are!