OPENING my front room curtains in humdrum suburban Harnham on Tuesday morning, it seemed hard to imagine.

A spy scandal in the middle of our little city, a place nicknamed Smallsbury because nothing much ever happens. Well, when Russian assassins on our streets are being touted as a distinct possibility, maybe boring is not such a bad thing.

What a week!

First the snowstorms from Siberia, blowing in massive disruption to our daily lives. Some readers suggested I should be writing about that today, and about how ill-prepared the authorities had been.

Although the image of volunteers in 4x4s having to drag ambulances uphill to the hospital was a distinctly alarming one – it does seem rather silly in retrospect to plonk such a vital facility as A&E in a location so vulnerable to the occasional bout of challenging weather – I don’t want to disparage the community spirit that we saw in action.

Besides, the video on the Journal website of those lovely huskies pulling Shane Wilkinson through the winter wonderland of Wilton made me think: instead of moaning whilst obeying official orders to cower indoors, we could have been out there having fun.

So enough said, and I’m sure lessons have been learned, though as usual in this country, a little late in the day. Brexit, anyone?

But if you really want to know about a Beast from the East, look no further than the events in the Maltings on Sunday.

This is something on another scale altogether, and whoever turns out to be responsible, we Brits have been reminded how lucky we are not to live in Putinland, under Big Bad Vlad and his Mafia cronies.

Every nation has its spooks, and although nefarious things undoubtedly go on here all the time, our government doesn’t bother its citizens’ heads quite so publicly with its murky misdeeds. We don’t need to look over our shoulders in fear every time we fancy going out for a quick Zizzi.

Well done to our emergency services, who despite having been so stretched in the preceding few days, responded to this incident in such a reassuring way.

Whatever the truth turns out to be, and despite the limitations of our own democratic system, we should be grateful that we live in the free world.

If only Boris had meant it when he threatened to pull us out of the World Cup.

Just imagine, a whole summer without grown men screaming hysterically into microphones.

PS. Just one question. Why, if he was in mortal danger, was Mr Skripal living openly under his real name?