A roll of paper tape for printing tickets or receipts unravels amid the traffic in Mount Pleasant. It flows and ripples in the wind on the tarmac like a long white tail; and the tyres of cars and buses cannot tame it.
Because of the cold, wet wind, there are no children in the railed-off playground in the Grove. Mr and Mrs Crow have taken it over. Mr Crow sits on the railing and caws. Mrs Crow pecks at the grass and looks for sweeties that the children may have dropped. She makes a strangled clucking noise, a dutiful acknowledgement of her husband's sovereignty.
Whether it is because of the printing ink or the glossy paper on which it is printed, the National Geographic magazine smells wonderful when you first open the new issue. It smells almost as good as some of the photographs look.