In Italo Calvino's novel If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, there is a scene in a station cafe. All the trains have gone. And so have other travellers. The protagonist finds himself alone. As I read, I remember many years ago, how I found myself in a similar position in Marco polo Airport in Venice. I had flown there with a ticket provided by the organisers of an engineering exhibition in Padua (Marco Polo is the nearest airport). I was supposed to speak at a conference on storage equipment. A car was to meet me and take me to Padua. When the car was long overdue, and the airport deserted except for an old man sweeping up fag ends, I looked in my file to check that I had my flight details right. I hadn't. I had travelled a day late. Today, someone might have noticed that my ticket was out of date, but not Alitalia on that occasion. When I arrived at Padua by taxi, I bumped into Professor Russo Fratasi, the chairman of the conference, in the hotel lobby. I stammered my apologies, for I should have addressed the conference that afternoon. But this was Italy. "What happened?" said the professor, slapping me on the shoulder, "did you get lost?" In the circumstances I gratefully concurred. It would would not have crossed my mind, if he had not suggested it. "Don't worry," he said, " we can fit you in tomorrow. Have you had something to eat?"
In The Grove, I watch a crow flap up to a TV aerial and settle down. Just behind it, pale in the afternoon sky, is a gibbous moon. The crow sits, waiting for me to photograph it and the moon, but I have no camera. In my mind, the crow and the moon are still waiting .