The meeting is over and I'm coming home. Light levels are plummeting as if the earth is a lift dropping into the earth. I've decided to drop by a few chores on the way and I slip down an urban street in the twilight fringes of the retail park, large houses in various states of repair, some scattered with political slogans, others growing ripe crops of rotting vehicles. But on the whole the houses are becoming more grand; drives going down, windows gussying up, paint smartening, front gardens straightening. Two gardens this year have fallen in love with dahlias, and the remnants of their passions are still bright as jelly beans and plastic toys in their front gardens, waving improbable tentacular heads.
At the end of the street the garden shades into the park, mature plane trees rising up like a rich green curtain, scattered with gold and flecked with brown, and the fence against the park, heavy with the flower heads of ivy. October is ivy, walking through its thick vanillary cloying scent and halo of buzzing drunken insects. The original trees in the park date back to the estate; 1920s, 1930s, and if the Poplars had not been pollarded almost to half their potential height they would be dangerously vast. In the triangle described by the grandfather trees, a modern play area clusters around one of the vast felled trunks, left for games of King of the Castle. Here and there the autumn blaze of mid-sized urban trees breaks up the green, Maples and Liquidamber each with an attendant sniff of evening walking dogs.
Into the shops for the chores. Not successful. But by the time I came back out again, night was falling, and the front gardens were dim and shadowy, scattered with cats of varying friendliness, and the air smelt of wet leaves, damp soil, and the rain that would soon be falling.