The surgeon writes to my GP: "Your patient has done very well following surgery. He did not really need any analgesia. The wound has healed very nicely, the repair is sound. I have therefore reassured him that all is well and he does not have any restriction on his activities. He may lift!" And lift I will, for the first time in six months.
Behind me in the main walk in the Grove, I hear what sounds like a two-stroke engine behind me. It is raining hard. Sheets of water on the new, gravel tarmac reflect sepia images of trees and grey sky. It turns out that it isn't a motor. It's small boy in an anorak , hood up, on a scooter. The scooter is fitted with a device which makes it sound like a motor. He whizzes past. If I were small boy with a scooter, I would be made very happy by a device, which made my scooter sound like motor bike.
In the rain, I meet my neighbour Michael. We stop in a shop doorway. "What are you reading? " he ask. He too is reading Zola, Paris in his case; Le Ventre de Paris, in mine. We agree on Zola's technical excellence as a novelist. The rain drives down.