In Sainsbury's a notice on a stand where there are pots of herbs, annnounces "Live basil".
At the delicatessen counter I ask for some serrano ham. The man standing next to me says: "That's too salty for me!" "Haven't we had this conversation, before?" I say. "Yes", he says. It is in fact the third time we have talked about serrano ham and his salt intolerence, and the second time I have asked: "Haven't we had this conversation before?"
Tunbridge Wells common curls round the older part of the town like a large green cat. It is a quiet place.This afternoon I pass only one young couple as I climb the path from the road. A bank of rose bay willow herb rises above the feathery panicles of meadow grass. Blackberries are in flower. Bracken grows tall with some of its fronds still on the point or unfurling. In the space of five minutes, I encounter, along the unmade paths, a rabbit, a deer, and a fox. A contrast to the London Road, a couple of hundred yards below, where there is a continuous flow of traffic, and to the Pantiles, where people saunter, peer into shops, sit outside pubs and cafes, drink wine and beer.