Then puddles. There was glory in them. Hopscotch manoeuvres met the moment, but cramp brought gyp, and they sank to their knees on the kerb. Dot wanted a choc-ice, but the kiosk was boarded-up. Whatever had become of Mister Mufty? Radbod scented a detective escapade. Dot’s doll fell into one of the puddles. She was inconsolable. Radbod pretended to shoot at sparrows with a stick. The sodden doll reproached the pair of them. Then they heard the tinkle of an ice cream van. Dot’s heart thumped so hard she thought she might die. But Radbod was the first to die, bitten by a gnat, like Rupert Brooke. Dot lived on into her nineties, blitz-brained and toothless, still cradling the long dry doll in her lap, remembering, as she remembered nothing else, the glory in the puddles.

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