In the Pantiles, this grey afternoon, are too groups of French school children, one at either end. Their teachers explain the origin of the paved walk with its spa, still in operation, at one end. The children, without exception have an agonised look of boredom, approaching despair. When will it ever ever end? The only sense of relief comes when one teacher announces: "After this we will return to London."
A woman holding a bunch of horse chestnut leaves walks down the High Street.
The Turkey oak remains the only tree in the Grove which has properly shed its leaves. The leaves beneath it are dry and crunchy and a number of children are piling them up, making leaf mountains. One particularly engergetic child runs with armfuls of leaves. " We need to make a world record," he says, to his companion " so that in 2008 we'll be in the world record book."