California redwood, sequoia, wellingtonia call it what you like it is tree to make your heart beat faster. There are four in front of Groombridge Place. I seldom fail to stand beneath them and look up and up.
Framed by the first floor window of the Pilates Gyrotonic Centre above the car show room in the London Road, the upright torso of a track suited woman rises and falls and her arms moves backward and forward, as though she is marching. It has the hypnotic effect of watching an automaton.
In Victor Hugo I come across the Latin proverb, Si vis pacem para bellum. If you wish for peace prepare for war. It is easier to call yourself a pacifist as I do now, than when I was younger and less accustomed to injustice. But the idea that peace can only be achieved when supported by force, though horrible, retains a vestige of truth which it is hard to erase from the mind.