When Chernobyl went up in April 1986, The Monks were horrified, but did not feel threatened by the event, and indeed they planned a holiday weekend in Anglesey, North Wales. They heard that a radioactive cloud had been set free by the Chernobyl Disaster; and that a journey to Anglesey would put another 100 miles between the Monks and the poisonous vapour.
It was an enjoyable trip and the Monks went rambling on the Anglesey peninsular, and even a downpour of rain, did not dampen the spirit.
The Monks dried off at their hotel, and watched a News update on the Chernobyl disaster. They learnt that an atypical west bound weather system had driven the radioactive cloud in the direction of the United Kingdom. The British public were reassured by the news reader who explained that the poison would only be a problem if driven down to earth by a rain storm.
The news reader had the attention of the Monks
A map of the United Kingdom was displayed on the TV, and two orange dots indicated the two places in the United Kingdom that had experienced rain that day. An orange dot the size of Anglesey, confirmed what the Monks already knew.
Eventually, the Monks gave up worrying about the orange dot.
20 years later this week more orange dots appeared on a UK map. And one such dot marked the spot where the former spy, Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned, a sushi bar in Piccadilly.
Last weekend the Monks almost visited the very same sushi bar at the time the news broke. The Monks had been there before, some weeks earlier, and I had argued against returning, since I was after meat and potatoes at the Royal Academy, just across the road.
The Monks were relieved by avoiding the unfortunate fate of Mr Litvinenko, and I had a tale to tell our friends and neighbours...... but then we learnt that he was actually poisoned some three weeks earlier, and about the time that the Monks visited the Sushi Bar.
This story has been headline news all week, and throughout the world, Hospital officials were at first bewildered, but eventually confirmed that Mr Litvinenko was in fact poisoned by a radioactive poison, Polonium, a by-product of Nuclear waste, much of it available on the black market, and most of that, Russian in origin.
The Monks are still alive and kicking, and showing no symptoms, but Mrs Monk read our Sunday Observer newspaper today on our way to London, and learnt that anyone that dined at the restaurant would need to be tested for radioactive poisoning. We spent the rest of the day trying to work out exactly when it was that we visited the restaurant.
More Russian nuclear waste had placed a cloud over the Monks.
In the new Russian democracy, Mr Putinís critics are being murdered, one by one.
As soon as we got home, I checked our bank statement, and read the transactions confirming that we visited the Sushi Bar, a week before Alexander Litvinenko.
. Shoestring Chronicle