One of the entrances to the Grove is a short brick path fronted by five houses on either side. As you go through it, at this time of year, you are struck by an astonishing perfume. It reaches you long before you identify its source, an evergreen shrub with small white flowers and dark blue or black berries. The Botanical Garden by Roger Phillips and Martin Rix, tells me that it is found in woods and forests in the Himalayas from Afganistan to Central China. It is called Sarcoccoa and belongs to the same family as the English box, but as the scent proclaims it is by origin a truly exotic plant.
Clare Grant, whose Three Beautiful Things blog, prompted numerous immitators (this site is but one of them) has had another good idea. She has launched a new blog http://www.oncearoundthepark.blogspot.com/ in which she describes, in 30 words, an aspect of a daily walk. As it happens, the walk is in the vicinity of the Grove, the little park which I refer to quite often here. As we are neighbours, our walks cross each other like routes on a chart. It has a special appeal to me: in particular I like the discipline of limiting descriptions to just 30 words. Caption writers often have a similar requirement, and it is not too far removed from the restriction in which, people who write 17-syllable haiku, find a special kind of inspiration. Congratulations Clare. The necessary tightness of your descriptions creates a poetry of its own. "To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower."
Small landmarks and simple games play a big part in the life of children. One little girl in the Grove says to another as they push their scooters down the main drag: "Shall we go to that tree because the boy isn't there any more". Off the they go. The tree is one that grows at an acute angle, so that its trunk is almost parallel with the ground. The next time I look, the boy seems to have returned, but to hell with it they are there first this time.