I went in for a chicken and avocado toasted sandwich and a coffee at a little cafe opposite the station. As soon as I sat down Talk Radio was turned off and what sounded like Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers came blaring out of the speakers. A middle aged man comes in and tries to get pally with the bloke behind the counter.

– So, you Italian?
– No.
– Maltese?
– No.
– Iranian?
– No.
There's a brief silence. The older man looks around.
– So you do food?
His new mate looks around him at the sandwiches and salads on display and arches an eyebrow.
My toasted sandwich is still very hot. In a pedestrian island in the middle of the road I can see a 
statue of the anti-Corn Law campaigner Richard Cobden. The Corn Laws were a vital part of my 19th Century British history module at A Level, but I failed to concentrate in lessons due to the presence of a very pretty and very young substitute teacher who had just arrived from teacher training college. When it came to the exam a few months later and the relevant question, all I could thinkHistoryteachersm
 of was her face, smiling and blinking in slow motion, as she says something about Peel and free trade.

There wasn't much avocado in it.