In my aloneness, I looked about me. Six English children were huddled over a book smiling and communing excitedly over pictures of some sort. It was hard to see the book from my spot, but I enjoyed the chirpy POLITE TONES to their voices.
A little later, I went over to their table and asked, “What do you like about this book? What’s it called? They chimed in, “Top Gear, Where’s Stig?” Then one girl immediately took up the leadership. “It’s all about finding Stig. See here,” she said pointing to a cartoon page of funny looking robot-like people, thousands all busy doing something relating to current events. She looked very hard at all the faces and figures, but couldn’t find him. “One of the other children said, “He’s the one who’s different.” So we all looked like mad with no luck. So another kid said, “Turn to page 28. We know how to find him in that one!” So we all looked again. And there he was hiding behind other robots on a balcony…the little bugger!
I returned to my table. I suddenly or maybe not so suddenly felt quite old…more of an observer than a doer. But, I remember when we gadded about all day on our bicycles to Major Bug’s stables, to the village green, down to the ferry, across the marsh to Southwold and back to the beach where we jumped cement blocks, out to the old windmill. It was our village back then. Now it was everybody’s village. I sighed. The kids had put away Stig. Five of them were now eating sausages, but one was eating fish. They all had chips.