One more thing about my new environment. Near the entrance to the development, there's a communal area, with a lake, a small playground, even a gravel strip for pétanque. And there's also a tall column, topped by a three-faced clock. It's the sort of thing you might expect to see overlooking a factory in a 1960s kitchen-sink drama, and when it shows five o'clock, a whistle blows, and the workers (played by Norman Rossington, Bryan Pringle and maybe a young James Bolam) come streaming out on their bicycles. Except that this clock has no hands. Which, for some reason, reinforces my hunch that I'm living in The Village.
Unrelated, except that it also happened in Bangkok, an exchange overheard today in the Bamboo Bar at the Oriental Hotel (they do excellent mojitos, and a former resident pianist was on the FBI's Most Wanted List): an American couple come in, visibly suffering from the heat and humidity.
She (to the barman): Where's the coolest place we can sit?
He (before the barman can reply, and for the benefit of the whole bar): Wherever I am!
I think it's a tribute the the exquisite manners of the staff that they didn't throw the pair of them back outside.
And, if anyone other than Valerie cares, Chasms of the Earth has reached Chapter 33.