He came to sit in the park at exactly four o' clock. From the bench he chose, between young oak saplings, he could watch the pétanque players finish up their game. There was a last roar from the railway not even 200 metres north. Though there were old factories still standing between the park and the tracks, on quiet evenings you could still hear the freight trains going east. After that deafening whistle, silence took the park. Even the three crows arguing in the old Dutch Elms quietened. The pétanque players were gone, the rings and weighted balls stowed away neatly. No sounds of children, no passerby, no baby carriages, no dog walkers. His hand patted his chest, where from a vest pocket he fished out an old watch — the bracelet had broken years ago but he refused to part with his only favourite timepiece — had he forgotten to rewind it last night?