It may be all very well in Dickens, but when you read Dickens you’re reading a long ballad from a vanished world, where everything has to come together in the end like an equation, where the balance of what was once disturbed must be restored so that the gods can smile again. A consolation, maybe, or a protest against a world gone off the rails, but it is not like that any more, my world is not like that, and I have never gone along with those who believe our lives are governed by fate. They whine, they wash their hands and crave pity. I believe we shape our lives ourselves, at any rate I have shaped mine, for what it’s worth, and I take complete responsibility. But of all the places I might have moved to, I had to land up precisely here.