73. Circles

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He who knows does not speak
He who speaks does not know
And I go round in circles


'Congratulations,' I say flatly, as I try to hitch Bobbie into a more comfortable position on my hip. I've left her carrycot in the car but I'm not going back to get it.

'Oh, it was nothing,' John says, jovially. 'I've been opening doors since I was a nipper.'

He raises a hand in a wave and I glance over my shoulder at Dennis, watching us with his pudgy arms folded over his round stomach. I smile at him, but he doesn't react to either of us. It took forty minutes to drive here, a house that John has just bought not far from Ascot, but it felt a lot longer.

'He's a ray of sunshine, isn't he?' John says, as Dennis continues to stare stoney-faced at us. He leans on the side of the car at the end of the driveway where I asked him to wait for me. John steps back so I can come into the house.

'I meant congratulations on your recent nuptials,' I tell him, as he closes the door on Dennis.

John turns around and claps his hands together, ignoring the comment. 'So, what do you think of the house?' he asks, instead.

I glance around the hallway we've stepped into. This is not just a house, it's another park. It must be fashionable among these eccentric pop millionaires to buy parks to live in. The house in Tittenhurst Park is not as rundown as the one at Friar Park was when we moved in, but it could still do with some work doing on it. The hall has a ceramic tiled floor, tall, narrow windows surrounding the huge front door and a curved staircase leading upstairs.

'It's nice,' I say, politely. 'It's quite big.'

'Says the girl who lives in a gothic mansion,' John grins. 'Come on, I'll give you the tour.'

Without waiting for a reply, he steps through one of the adjoining doors, leaving it open for me. I follow him, Bobbie heavy in my arms. I shouldn't have brought her, I suppose, but I wasn't going to leave her with Emma or Mrs Roberts, the housekeeper. I don't like going out without her. I like to have her within reach so I know she's okay.

We walk into a large room in at the front of the house which is full of junk and dust. There's bits of old furniture and bric-a-brac everywhere, dead plants in pots and a pile of old pictures in frames leant against one wall.

'It'll all need doing up, of course,' John says, picking a path through the debris. 'We're planning on changing quite a lot. Y'know, paint it all, knock down a wall here and there.'

'Where's Yoko?' I ask, following him across the room, stepping gingerly, hugging Bobbie to me tightly.

'Not here. She's busy today,' he says briskly and pushes open a door through to another room.

I follow him through to a larger room, facing the back of the house. This room has been cleared. Just an old, thin carpet on the floor and dusty, heavy drapes at the floor length windows. John steps over to them and pulls a couple open, allowing the sunshine to stream in.

'How was your holiday?' I ask, watching him, as I stand in the middle of the room.

'It wasn't a holiday, Spanner.'

'How was your travels then?'

He pins a curtain back and turns around. 'Very nice, thank you.'

'Why did you go to Gibraltar?'

He shrugs. 'I don't know. Why do you go anywhere?' He beckons me over with his head and I go to stand next to him. We look out over the grounds at the back of the house. There's large expanses of grass and trees and another red stone house at the far end.

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