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Lady in red

9 March 2010

I am sitting in Northampton Square, Islington at lunch time eating a sandwich of cotton wool bread and stale chicken. It is a quiet area of grass dotted with a few flowerbeds and surrounded by wrought iron railings. In the middle is something like a bandstand and next to it a woman in a red hooded coat with a patchwork bag is talking to a blonde woman in a grey coat. The woman in red is smoking a cigarette on which she draws occasionally. The scene has the hall marks of a John Le Carré novel. Any moment I expect the woman in red to sit down beside me and give me a coded message: “The daffodils are blooming in St Petersburg.” But she did not – she just stubbed out her cigarette and moved off.

So, where is Northampton Square? Why am I interrupting your time recorded day to write about it?

A few months ago I wrote enthusiastically about a book called Flat Earth News by Nick Davies (see ‘Driven to distraction’, Solicitors Journal 153/33, 8 September 2009...

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