Though I haven't read it, I have always liked the title of the book, which a friend of mine is reading. The book is Le scaphandre et le papillon, in English The diving bell and the butterfly. The author, Jean-Dominique Bauby, was almost completely paralysed when he wrote it, and managed to signal every letter by the movement of an eyelid.
There were goings-on in the Grove last night. Big spotlights, cables, vans galore and bags of artificial snow, labelled with the name of its provider, a company called Snow Business betokened some sort of film. They were in fact going to shoot a Christmas commercial for the supermarket chain, Morrison's. Ironic. Morrison's is not a popular name round here. It acquired the shop with the Safeway chain, which it bought in its entirety a couple of years ago. Because they were building a new store in a neighbouring town, they decided to close this branch down. Everyone in the area of the Grove had used it, as it was in comfortable walking distance, and came to regard it, much as villagers do their village store, as their own. The big building is now vacant and boarded up, and residents have to walk twice as far or use their cars to do their shopping.
Walking down a hill in Sevenoaks, I pass a mother and her two children coming up it. They are eating on the hoof, picking at trays of chips with little wooden forks. The very English smell of fried potatoes and vinegar hangs in the air behind them.