“There you are, my lovelies,” said Clifford Tompkins, scattering seeds in the trays, so his beloved pigeons could feed to their heart’s content. The birds began to coo, although two of them flapped their wings in anger

“Now, now, Bella, don’t fight with Judy, there’s plenty for everyone.” He gently parted the two birds. Tompkins kept 32 pigeons in his rooftop loft in central Mayfair. The noise from the street below was barely audible, just the occasional screech of tyres or the sound of a desperate pedestrian trying to hail a black cab on a busy London street. He looked up at the darkening sky and was thankful he’d bought a protective roof for his birds – it would start to rain before midnight. He was glad they’d had their friends round for a barbecue when they did – he could still taste the sauce on his lips.

“Hello, Clifford,” said Filly, his wife, appearing out of the doorway, “I am just off to find out what my next assignment is, though I’m not convinced it’s doing much good.” Even without make-up, Filly still looked youthful with her freckles and absence of lines on her forehead. She was wearing her ‘work’ clothes, jeans and a red jumper over a denim shirt.

“Bish and bosh, you’re doing wonderful work, but y’know I much prefer you to call me Tomcat, as you did on our first date. Remember that, punting along the Cam in our student days, without a care in the world. It doesn’t seem so long ago, but hang it all, Filly, I am still in love with you as much as I was then.”

“Is that why you let me drive?” asked Filly.

“You insisted, my love,” replied Tompkins ruffling his wife’s red hair. He stood a good 10 inches taller than her.

“Oh, I did, did I?” said Filly, laughing, “I am not sure if that’s romantic or not. Anyway, I have to go – I may or may not be here when you get back from your Archery group meeting.”

Filly reached up and kissed Tompkins on the cheek and left him missing her already.

Tompkins went back to the pigeons, who were eating the last of the seeds. Tompkins’ eyes fell on a newspaper covering the floor of the loft. The headline proclaimed the number of immigrants coming into the country. Even though he’d read them before, these words still made the steam rise.

“We have to stop them coming in to this country, we have to for the sake of us all,” he said under his breath before heading downstairs to prepare for his meeting later that evening.