Always there was something to take pleasure in seeing, always the ongoing news of fires, along with smoke haze and smells of distant burning, gave a constant reminder that nothing could be taken for granted. I’d notice something and point it out to the children, then privately wonder whether that species of bird, or fish, or plant would still be here if, one day in the future, the boys ever came back. Every sighting might be a farewell.
You can tell a lot about a place from the local shops.
Especially on Norwood Road.
As a reader some books are inevitable. Recently I finally got around to reading one that had nagged at me for years. As I plunged in it felt like meeting an old friend.
The pervading spirit of some places hangs quite obviously in the air. Even if you’re only passing through and not looking very hard, the distinctive atmosphere will soon make itself apparent.
West Norwood isn’t one of those places.