Sid has been on his own since Sylvia left. He’s always talking about going places when he’s fixed his motorbike. He has plotted his route on a map in red marker. First, the Portsmouth to Cherbourg ferry, then south through France, across the Pyrenees, down through eastern Spain and into Morocco. Then he would go along the East coast of Africa. He tugs on a spliff. Summer is nearly over. I ask him what happened to his plans to join friends at an ashram in India. He says there are too many war zones in the way. He would have to leave the bike and take a train to Moscow . . . or take a plane . . . but he really wants to go by motorcycle. But the bike has been in pieces for weeks—the chain in a plastic bowl soaking in something to get the gunk out; tyreless wheels in the hallway; black oil everywhere. He rubs a ginger-stubbled chin with oil-stained fingers and mutters about camshafts, cables and constant depression carburettor needles.