As a child I had three great ambitions. The first was to go to the South Pole – I practised wandering off to die in a storm like Captain Oates whenever snow fell in the local park. Then there was my wish to roam the London sewers having had a tantalizing glimpse of them in a Doctor Who episode. Finally, I longed to see the Loch Ness Monster and to know for sure that it existed. Now somewhat older, I find the thought of sub-zero temperatures has put me off polar exploration, and my zest for sewers is lessened by the prospect of bad smells and rodents. It would, however, still be exciting to behold across the peaty waters of Loch Ness something strange and wonderful, but I rarely give the matter much thought.