In the bookshop while I am trying to find some Elizabeth Taylors which I have not read, an old man is hovering in my line of vision. He points to a book called The Lifeboat. It is by Charlotte Rogan. "Have you read that?" he asks me out of the blue. I say no. I know nothing about it. He says that it is gripping and enjoyable. "Unless you are on cruise," he adds. I say that I have no desire to go on a cruise. He says, "the trouble with cruises is that you never want to leave the ship," at which point he moves off, and I find two novels by Elizabeth Taylor which are new to me. While looking for something else I put down my prospective purchases for a moment . Cruising past he regards them, (is it my imagination?), with a flicker of contempt.
In Monson Road a man is sitting on the pavement playing an accordion. The music has a central European rhythm, a Slavic mixture of melancholy and high spirits. What appeals to me is that there no amplifier to torture the air waves. The sounds drifts towards you slowly. It has no hard edges; it merges with other sounds. It charms without intruding. I cross the road to give him some money and to thank him.