Ginesta or broom. The scent hangs ahead of you and greets you as you walk past the shrubbery in Berkeley Road.
The builders talk on the scaffolding of the new house which is taking the place of the old one next door to the vegetable garden. They discuss the things they are afraid of. Echoes of Winston Smith and Room 101. Hush, Big Brother could well be taking notes. "Frogs," says one. "Spiders," says another. "Dogs," says a third. "Especially when they jump up on you. "Dogs don't like me," he adds. "They know I'm coming a hundred yards down the road. And I know when one is there."
"Faced with the choice of reading a run-of-the-mill novel and raking leaves in the garden, I would go for raking leaves," writes J M Coetzee in a letter to Paul Auster in their recently published correspondence. A bit toffee-nosed, you might say, but perhaps forgivable when later he admits (according to the reviewer) to spending hours polishing pieces of prose. "Few readers," he says, "are going to appreciate what goes into getting a paragraph right." This one does. And I know another one who probably appreciates it even more than I do.