Descartes' DISCOURSE ON METHOD was a favourite book of mine in the school library. It was a Penguin paperback that had been given the hardback treatment which libraries used to do in those days. It was green. I was the only one to have borrowed it. I read it by the river, which has no need of philosophy. Above all, I loved the smell of it and the texture of the pages. The smell and the texture were far more important and memorable to me than the philosophy, though not as important as the river. The river's name was Swale.