Grove Avenue is one of the little roads that leads up to The Grove from the High Street. It is fairly steep, but it is not so much to regain my breath when I reach the entrance to the little park as to enjoy the familiar view: the oaks, beeches and chestnuts, the benches and old fashioned street lamps; children on bikes and dogs bounding after balls. Stopping there with my shopping is something I do almost every day, winter and summer, sunshine or rain. As I pause this morning woman with an antipodean accent greets me with the single question. "Are you lost?"
"Saved", I say as I walk away. Alas only an esprit de l'escalier.
As I put the finishing touches to trimming our newly reduced hedge this afternoon, I fall into the routine developed over the twenty five years during which the hedge and I have been together. It is a question of breaking down the job into a number of rituals and variations which limit the monotony. So I clip the top of one section of hedge, then the side. Sweeping up the clippings from that section provides a pleasant change. Back to clipping the next section, another change. Section by second the treatment continues, a litany rather than a chore, something to look back on with a measure of satisfaction.