Yesterday, on the way to pick up Spanish Iain, a pigeon suddenly slammed into the windscreen with a dull, solid and terminal thud. The bird came out of nowhere and was gone, over the roof, before either of us fully realised what had happened. Of course, there was nothing to be done and Malcolm only flinchingly lifted his foot from the accelerator. “Shit,” he said of the collision, and I concurred. There really was nothing else to add and the rest of the journey was soundtracked only by the thrum of the engine. In Jesmond, Spanish Iain was waiting outside his flat but, before he could climb into the back seat, we jumped out and joined him on the pavement. We stood around, smoking and chatting about the weather. The pigeon slaughter was not mentioned and I couldn’t help but feel that there was something funereal in our mood.