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  • Some people count sheep.

    I'm a bit different. When restless or irritable, lying in bed either before or after my wife has joined me, I almost invariably settle into a most detailed fantasy. One that never fails to carry me into sleep.

    It's a strange, violent and yet peaceful fantasy. Always set in 1939, and always involving the start of the Second World War in Europe. Poland is being invaded, first by Germany, later by the Soviet Union. The reality of that invasion led to the desolation of that country and wholesale slaughter of millions of its citizens, Jews and Poles.

    But my fantasy twists that fate. Instead of being hopelessly outclassed militarily, Poland is equipped with a modern army, using weapons more advanced than those of the Germans or Russians. It is led by effective generals and well-trained troops. It repels the invaders, pushes them back into their own countries. With both Germany and Russia facing defeat, Hitler and Stalin fall from power, are replaced by moderates and the Second World War begins and ends in a matter of a few months.

    The seventy million or so who died in that conflict live on.

    If only, alas.

    But I think you can see why I find my daydream more soothing than sheep.
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