She removes half a dozen stalks of fennel that have toppled over because of the heat and lack of water, and rubs their ferniness between her hands.

Her fingers smell of aniseed.

Immediately Portrait Of The Artist As A Cyborg is there beside her: 'Foeniculum vulgare,' he says, 'excellent for flavouring food. Especially fish. And you can eat the roots as a vegetable.'

For some reason, that makes her laugh.