We were collecting my father from Kennington tube late one evening in my mother’s brown mini. Standing at the domed entrance with my father was another man, a stranger. My father came over to the car apologetically. “Can we give him a lift to West Norwood. He’s just landed at Heathrow and there are no buses.” My mother agreed and both men got into the car. The traveller was carrying a huge cloth sack and I wondered what was in it but didn’t like to ask. He had flown from somewhere in Africa and was here to see his family. The journey was curiously punctuated by a pattering sound. It was ignored, we dropped our new acquaintance, thanking us energetically, at a house in West Norwood, and headed home. In the morning, my mother realised the source of the pattering sound. The floor of the car was strewn with dried white beans.