Quite early this morning a trailer arrives in front of our neighbour's house. It carries freight container which has brought their furniture from Australia. Four removal men start to unload it. They pause for tea, standing in the road behind the trailer in a semi-circle. Bubble wrapped shapes surround them. Each has a mug of tea in his hand and enjoys the convivial moment.
From a path on the Common, I look down the steep slope towards the London Road. Profiled against the passing a traffic are five young people sitting in a row on a fallen tree. Their backs are to me. They wear hoods and rucksacks. Lower down the slope than I, they watch the cars pass in a continuous stream. From up here, the sound is translated from a "whoosh, whoosh", to a gentle but unrelenting throb.
Everybody is asking the same question: "Are you going to watch the match?" I have come to prefer rugby to what I used to think of as soccer, and is now generally called football. In fact I am looking forward to the game. I shall not, like one of my neighbours, record it, and watch it afterwards only if England wins. I shall, while the game is on, be thinking of my friend Dave, who bet on Egland to win from the start of the tournement at odds of 36 to 1.