It was, in some ways, like a giant Mint Imperial. In particular it had the Imperial shape. However, it didn’t have the Imperial colour, being a flat, matt silver.
I didn’t check whether it had the Imperial flavour, but I suspect it would have been somewhat lacking in the mintyness department. Its size – a distinctly non-Imperial 30 feet in diameter - made up for it, I suppose. That, and the fact that it was floating through the sky in broad daylight.
The good people of Area 51 and its surroundings are probably unsurprised at weird shapes taking to the skies. Whether they’re from long-distant worlds or underground laboratories, arcane flying vehicles hardly raise a Nevadan eyebrow these days.
But this was not Area 51. It was Kings Heath. Area B14, if you like.
I was eight years old and sitting at the dinner table in the front room. That means it was a Sunday. It was my father who noticed it first.
“What on Earth’s that?” he said, staring out of the window, a forkful of roast beef mid-way on its terminal ascent from plate to mouth.
We turned to see the afore-mentioned not-very-minty-Imperial device sailing serenely through the suburban seventies sky. All of us saw it; me, my two brothers, even my mother. Brother number 1 ran out to the front step. In the manner of little brothers the world over, I followed half a pace behind.
In seconds the object had moved out of view, but we'd definitely all seen it. No mass hysteria here. Ours was not a family given to such unnecessary emotion. And then, as if to underline the point, came my mother’s voice, booming through the wall.
“Get back in here now, or else there’ll be no Queen of Puddings for you two!”
When we do eventually make first contact with higher intelligence, my mother will be easy to spot. She’ll be the one who’s brought scones.