I’m having a Ken Barlow moment. In the longest running soap opera, he has dusted down from the attic his youthful novel, compared it briefly to the writers he currently admires, and torched it.

I have nothing to torch but my memories, as Oscar almost certainly wouldn’t have said, but as I sit on the tube or the train and arrange blog paragraphs in my brain, I have only to pick up a morsel of Will Self or Julian Barnes to realise how far short my own prose falls, and have a mental conflagration of erasure. And that phrase is a perfect example of why I need the blue pencil.

Although on the train home from Glasgow this week I did read some potboiled Alexander McCall Smith and think “I could do that in my sleep”.

But it’s the Julian Barnes that’s exercising me at the moment. His latest book, Nothing to be Frightened Of is semi-autobiographical jog around the quadrangle of his mid-life crisis, touching on mortality, family, philosophy and faith – four things guaranteed to flay the nerves of an insecure middle-aged male reader.

I was lying on the sofa reading a chapter the other day and the thought struck me – I could live another thirty years.

That would be the equivalent, apart from four mis-spents in Southampton before coming to London, of my entire adult life.

All over again.

What the hell am I going to do with it?

With the conclusion of the Russian adventure, work is now all but a thing of the past – or at least I suspect it is. I joked with my bank manager recently that I wanted a “work/life balance – I’ve worked for thirty years, now can I have thirty off?” … and, providing the world doesn’t go into financial meltdown, even that’s not impossible.

The other things, health, relationship, home, seem to be more than OK so this should be a springboard, a platform to something exciting.

All I need is a sign.

Universe? Over to you …