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Already the real London he actually experienced–crowded, expensive, clear-skied and frequently sweltering–is confusing itself with the London of Conan Doyle and Gaiman: Cockneyed, fogbound, bursting with crooked alleys and metaphor. There were gnats in the park, he remembers, that crammed themselves into his mouth and eyes. Jake clings to the gnats.

Had some accident of birth allowed him more than those months as a tourist, he wonders, would he still value them as he does? Running and photography, cake and games. Jake sits in his rainy, quirky, river-hugging city and tries to be grateful for tumble dryers.