It’s been a twelvemonth since we heard hide or hair of Sedgeweg, the Tewkeston ringer. Much has happened. The Tuppers posted bail, and the ringer himself was seen scratching in limepits. Every so often he’d lift a find to the light and toss it to one side. He’d have to rent a cart or barrow, and that was where the Tuppers came in. They always had something with wheels to hand, they took pride in that, if in nought else. Sedgeweg had his shovel and a broom. Lord knows where he got them from, they were bent and battered, as if they’d been used to bash heads in. But Sedgeweg wasn’t a man given to lifting a finger in fury. He’d popped enough caps in his time, didn’t have to anymore, didn’t want to, couldn’t see the point. He still spent time with otters, by the riverbank, even when he was on his uppers. A collapsed lung was on the cards, the way he was going. The physio kept giving him sideways glances and making new appointments for him. It was quite a clinic he had there, white and bold and with a lawn outside with swings and a seesaw. Tupper money, some said, in whispers, on their punts. Wheels within wheels, that was another thing you heard, in those days. It was just punter babble, though. The ringer hardly heard it, he had his scratching to keep him busy. Go and see him at the limepits one day, he’d like that. He’s a generous and open-hearted man and he’ll share his flask with you likely as not. It always has something hot in it, with not much milk. Sedgeweg has a complicated theory about milk and calcium and bones, not any bones but his own bones. It doesn’t make any sense, but it becalms him at times when he might go all funny and shaky. He can’t count anymore. He has to get a Tupper to count the otters now. It’s come to that.