No one would have believed in the last years of the twentieth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than humanity's and yet as mortal as its own; that as we busied ourselves about our various concerns we were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a scientist with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.
So when Charlii played "Forever Autumn" across the Community yesterday, no one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable.
And so, when we awoke this drizzly morn to find four tripods and a capsule on the Dancing Lawn - and the Moot House reduced to dust and ashes by a death ray - we knew we were in trouble.
Naturally we scrambled for the sub-ether radio to find out their demands. They responded that they had come in response to the sound of Justin Hayward - that age-old voice that Jeff Wayne had promised would be the call when the time was right. This time, they had all had their flu jabs. And they were going to take over the world, starting once again with Surrey.
Surrey? We asked, confused. For Husborne Crawley is in Bedfordshire. At this, there was an embarrassed alien silence. And the the following conversation.
"We're in Husborne Crawley! Not Horsell Common!"
"Well, I was confused. They start with the same letters don't they?"
I told you. I should never have let you map-read."
" Listen, when it comes to driving home I know who will be drunk with human blood. It's gonna be me driving home. And I'm not doing 200 million miles in both directions "
"It's only that far because you sent me via the asteroid belt. Terrible traffic "
"Yes, but it was you who thought you'd invade Earth in the rush hour."
This altercation gave Young Keith the time to take action. A terrible noise split the air, seeming to tear apart our bodies from our minds. Something awful was being used - something the mere threat of which, it is said, prevented World War Three.
Caught in the blast, one tripod was vaporised. The others fled. The last we heard on the sub-ether was "you and your schemes. Let's invade Earth - it'll be fun, you said."
Dear Readers, the Earth is saved! However Young Keith's love-life is in a much shakier state. Charlii says she bought him James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" as a Valentines present. He's not supposed to be using it as a weapon in inter-planetary warfare.