C went to Paris. I went to a restaurant called Bill’s.

Bill’s has a good menu, a nice patio, and is right off a cemetery with gravestones so old you can’t read most of them. It’s possible I have always been looking for this combination of things in a restaurant. I just never realized it.

Everybody I have spoken to here has given me the same advice about where to live: avoid Oxford Road. It’s funny, because in my first walk-about, I walked a little bit on Oxford Road and felt immediately the badness. Apparently, my sixth sense still works.

At Bill’s, I spoke to my server about the lack of dogs. And right then, right as I was telling him I hadn’t seen a single dog, he pointed at the path going through the cemetery beside us and there was a guy riding his bike with an unleashed dog running next to him. Just like that. And it was a big dog, too. A boxer mix.

I feel like it must have been real, this vision, because my server pointed at it.

I feel like my server was probably real.

My server told me that the English here typically work pretty hard (he sounded French, not English, and so he said this with a touch of contempt). He said I’d likely see folks walking dogs in the very early morning or the very late evening, but not much during the day. Ok, right. I suppose I get that, in an abstract sense, but here’s the thing: I do see a great number of prams all about everywhere all the time. Loads and loads of prams. So many prams I wonder if there is a pram convention. Or if Reading is a manufacturer of goddamn prams.

I see less in the way of pram near the cemetery, though. I see the pram parade less here.