Beachcomber: 101 years old and still in a universe of his own...

Beachcomber: 101 years old and still in a universe of his own...

In 2015, in a talk about black holes, he discussed the possibility of escaping from one: “The hole,” he said, “would need to be large and if it was rotating it might have a passage to another universe.”

In other words, being sucked into a black hole may not be as inescapable as has often been assumed, but if anything did escape, it might emerge in a parallel universe.

This exactly confirmed a theory of mine which began many years ago with a green pullover at breakfast time.

I was staying in a hotel at the time and woke up just in time to rush down to breakfast before the kitchen closed.

I dressed hastily, not even bothering to put on my chunky green pullover, and hurried to the restaurant.

Three cups of tea, two slices of toast and a plate of kippers later, I returned to my room, completed my morning ablutions and proceeded to dress properly.

But where was my green pullover which I had left undonned in the rush to breakfast?

I was sure I had left it on the bed but it was nowhere to be seen.

I suspected that my pullover had been purloined by a member of the cleaning staff and proceeded to interrogate them but none broke down and confessed under questioning so it remained a mystery.

The following day I returned home and found the pullover on a chair in my bedroom.

The only explanation, as far as I could see, was that I had slipped from one universe into a parallel one.

In the first universe, I had taken my pullover with me when I left home, in the second, I had left it behind.

If Hawking was right, I had probably slipped inadvertently into a large black hole which had spun around and spat me out into a nearby universe.

On many subsequent occasions I have validated the theory through personal experience.

Whether I have had to search several times through all my pockets to find my door keys, only for them to turn up in a pocket I had already scoured several times, or I find a railway ticket in a pocket into which I am certain I never put it, the parallel universe theory explains everything.

Even as large an object as a kettle for which I have been searching in frustration for some minutes, may suddenly reappear in full view right in front of me.

Last week, I lost a one-kilo bag of flour for three days until it turned up in my crockery cupboard.

I need hardly tell you that I never put flour in the crockery cupboard. Not in this universe anyway.

Until now, I have had an easy remedy for all this: I simply note in my diary the location of my green pullover.

Then, when I lose anything, I can see where the pullover ought to be and if it isn’t there, I know I have shifted universes.

This morning however I discovered to my dismay that I have lost my diary. Can someone please direct me to the nearest black hole?

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