Pat and I went to Scarborough for the weekend, not for the sands and sea air but for the breezes blowing in from the annual conference of the United Kingdom Independence Party.
We were almost the only two journalists there, which is why you won't read about it anywhere else. So it was just the place for lateral thinkers to be.
I have never supported or joined any political party, having seen enough of them at close hand to be mighty suspicious of their intent. But the UKIP is different - it is a most un-political party, in the nicest way. The I.Q. of the members we met was higher than you expect of the usual politicos - these were free thinkers of "left, right and centre," to parade the usual cliched political shorthand.
They also have a cause, which you would have guessed from the Union flags, pound signs and pennants on display and the passion of the speeches from people like Neil Herron, whose letters you have read in the Star and who is campaign director for the Metric Martyrs, the small shopkeepers prosecuted after Brussels insisted the British could not buy bananas or fish advertised by the pound.
As for fish, only 12 per cent by value of fish from UK waters is now landed by "British" boats said fisherman Mick Mahon. Strip out the flag of convenience trawlers and this comes down to eight per cent.
He also revealed that thanks to the EU Common Fisheries Policy he sometimes has to dump - dead - all the cod he catches, back into the sea. The devastation of Britain's fisheries, once the world's richest, has been an ecological disaster and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, he said. It also means your fish and chips costs a lot more than it should or would.
There was a lot more along these lines - good, practical politics, issues which ordinary people could relate to and respond to, with none of the superficial flash of Blackpool or the dreary ineptitude boring us from Bournemouth. Most of the media hopes the UKIP will fade away, as they nearly all support the main parties. Yet these ranks of ordinary folk were in vigorous form in Scarborough, with about 600 delegates raring for the next Euro elections in 80 weeks' time. I also liked the fact that the party leaders were not too grand to spend ages chatting to ordinary people. I hope they stay that way. Check their website at www.ukip.org
Want to make a fortune? It's easy. All you have to do is go into roadside catering where there is little to beat.
Travelling up and down the country you naturally need to eat from time to time. Preferably quickly and cheaply.
Providing such facilities is something this country has never mastered, which is thrown into greater relief by the fact that overseas it seems to come naturally. Hunger drove us into a Little Chef on Sunday night, at 5.30.
Bad mistake. Half an hour later we were still awaiting the "all day breakfast," although the toast had long arrived and gone stone cold.
Customers kept pouring in, mainly due to the fact that there was nowhere else along the road to eat for many miles. Two basic meals and drinks - just one course - cost over £18, which was a lot for this standard of food and service. I didn't blame the harassed young employees - our son has been in that position and once had to lock the doors to keep out customers! The truth is they just didn't have enough staff.
I have again been invited to speak in America and in a few weeks Pat and I will be touring for hundreds of miles through New England and New York.
From the smallest hamlets to the biggest conurbations, wherever we go I know we will get exemplary service, terrific food and prices under half of those here. Perhaps a few diner proprietors would like to come to Britain and set up along the roads. They would be amazed at the lack of competition.
I did an interview for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation the other day, on the "Liberation Children," the war babies left behind when Canadian soldiers sailed back home after the war. My interest in the subject, as many readers know, is that my father was one of them. Since I wrote this I get letters, from Britain and Holland, from people trying to trace their fathers - many of whom do not want to know for, of course, they were often married when they arrived here. There is a couple doing wonderful work in reuniting the war children with their relatives - Lloyd and Olga Rains.Visit their website at www.project-roots.com