What is it that Robert needs? He’s a single Scotsman aged 30 working in London in 2010. What is it that his parents Athol and Julie need, before and after they met each other in 1975? What does everybody need? Obviously, love – a special partner, a feeling of community, of belonging in the world, a sense of purpose, a ‘good life’ – we want all these, but what do we need? To be convinced that we are living our best possible lives, fulfilling the deepest, truest principles of the essence of each of us as individuals. With many competing identities available, it’s easy to be lost, confused, refugees in your homeland. We may have to fight for the right to be our best selves. Individuals change nations in order to become better individuals. Think global, act local. The extract is from the beginning of a 200,000 word novel-in-progress about diversity and tradition, political and cultural struggle and the impact on families and communities in Scotland from the 1970s to the present. The opening scenes introduce Robert, Athol and Julie and we learn a little of the predicament of each.