December glares beyond the shade our house affords. Trees reduce the intensity. Down here, under poles stripped of gooseberry glory, where garden meets backdoor, we take tea. It’s the hottest day in living memory. The cats don’t like it. It’s said it’s the hottest year, it’s the hottest decade. No one quite knows what to quote in response to this information, as we try more hot water infused with ancient Chinese tealeaves, so old we taste its woodiness, who are older still, making old bones in arbour shades. We talk about friends, books, music and all that kind of stuff.