Out towards the mouth of the estuary a new estate has been built – it has something of constructivist air (in the sense of being made out of a child’s construction toy), that you associate with such developments in the Low Countries. And anyway, this is a low setting: thick reed beds and oily tidal flats fringe the buildings, which are raised on columnar piles in bright pastel colours. The development is huge, its rectilinear pattern of glass windows and brightly coloured panels snaking along the peninsulas, surging into the inlets – it’s big enough to house all the people I’ve ever known, and some come and go by helicopter.
M is there, his goatee as ever artfully sculpted, although he looks harried. He has taken up with a young girl of 16 who he’s installed in his new apartment – and this despite the fact he’s in his mid-sixties: I envy his energy. I visit them there and she seems not at all lost – unlike M, who is agitated and asks if I will give him a lift back into town when my helicopter comes. We look out the back windows of the flat and see that the reef of housing is rived by a gurgling creek; none of us are too bothered – we sense that the development has a cellular, bacteriological capability, and that it will continue to grow on this hospitable and muddy substrate.