The raggle-taggle retriever bounds beside number 4a, then clatters down the adjacent lane, trailing lickings of affection, the disembodied voice of his handler echoing more distant still as she continues her late afternoon jog unperturbed. Presenting a firm, no nonsense face to the world, the door and wall together brook no intruders, their manicured appearance announcing that these premises are occupied. Not a brick is disjoint, not a hinge dare squeak.
The lime philodendron, made translucent by the angled rays of the sun, suckles over the adjacent trellis, tentatively reaching out in its endeavour to suckle onto the mortar between the runs, to drain the clay of any residual moisture after its century or more of sentry duty. Discarded leaves, aged and dry, flutter down onto the cobbles, mingling with the bottle tops and cigarette butts, and empty packets of Smith’s crisps.
The evening air quietly draws down the moisture.