Gronmere emerges from the relative dark of her writing room. Chapter Ten is done. She knows the missing element for Chapter One. Little Granddaughter lies on the sun blanket.
'Gronmere,' she says, 'I'm sooo hot. I need to make some soup to calm down.'
Gronmere understands. She fetches the bowls and the ladles. Into multiple pools of finest hosepipe water are dropped exquisite ingredients such as daisies, buttercup, grass heads and fleabane; in stirs one beaming octopus, some seashells, magical flavourings of coloured chalk.
Behind this activity Blackbird hop-hops. He has more cheek than even a magpie, making him a main suspect in the Great Cherry Heist. But since he also, without even needing to be asked, has taken up the job of diligent slug patrol, he is forgivable.
Gronmere smiles, surveys her empire. After a stern word, the butternut has begun to swell its fruit. Courgettes grow podgy like cherub legs. Rocket is running to seed. Basil fills its pots. She can't stop munching lovage or mange tout nor keep from breathing in lime blossom.
Little Granddaughter grinds up purple in a scallop mortar. Her thumb is the pestle.
Gronmere stirs her octopus, thinking of words and nature.