Thank you for your email. I am currently working in a bunker deep underground in the heart of Brussels (near Belgium).

I would normally say ‘Please call me directly on my mobile’. However, this secure facility is so secure that no mobile communications are possible.

I would normally pledge to replying to your email on my return. However, I am not quite sure precisely when (or even indeed, if) I ever will return. While I am not literally chained to the desk, the security officer is holding my passport which fills me with a sense of unease and practically equates to the same thing.

The working environment is not ideal. Massive ceiling mounted fans in a server room make for a cool, uncomfortable and noisy environment. Still, this is my punishment for living in an ivory tower far divorced from reality, waving my arms about and drawing architecture diagrams on a whiteboard and I must accept it.

This particular customer insisted that, as a followup to a recent architecture workshop, I return in person to install, configure and test what I foolishly claimed was ‘straightforward and trivial’.