16 construction 25399“Remember when this was fields?”

“I do. Not all that long ago.”

“Ten years, just over. A month or two after Sally and Ben got engaged. They were one of the first to buy here.”

“Oh, yes. Paid a fortune too, if I remember.”

“A small fortunate, yes, but they wanted eco-friendly and the King was pushing for that so of course everything cost more.”

“King Charles? Was he on the throne already by then?”

“Not long before. 12th June 2014. Ben’s 30th birthday. The Queen abdicated on Sally’s; 15th May. Guess it came as a bit of a shock so it took them a while to sort out the paperwork.”

“Sally and Ben?”

“No. The coronation. The government.”

“Oh, yes. Nice party. This drinks party, I mean, not the government…”

“Isn’t it? Not many faces I recognise though.”

“Me neither. Bit of a relief to see you, if I’m honest.”

“Likewise. They’ve started digging up old Jack Tyler’s land.”

“Have they? For houses?”



“Yeah. Can you imagine?”

“Not really. 1,000 on the bit of land behind the farm?”

“Oh no, the whole thing.”

“What? What’s going to happen to the house?”

“Flatten. I think they’ve done it already.”

“That lovely old-”


“So where’s Jack gone?”

“You haven’t heard?”

“Heard what?”

“Heart attack.”

“No! When?”

“When he got the letter offering seventy million.”

“Seventy million? What happened to that?”

“The son got it.”

“Jack had a son?”

“Lives in the States. Married a girl over there and stayed. Didn’t want the farm, of course.”

“Who would when offered that much.”

“The son.”

“Never saw him visit.”

“Think they fell out.”

“Reconciled after this death, though, didn’t they. 1,000 homes. Wow. The council will grant anything these days.”

“It’s the government push… since the shuttles started bringing the… you know, the legal aliens.”

“Of course, but people are leaving too, though, aren’t they?”

“Not as many. We have more resources here.”

“True, but Mars is young and you’d think exciting.”

“Fine for single people, but most have families these days, especially given the couple’s bonuses shooting up since the housing crisis came to the fore, and most wives would be more traditional, you know, happier to stay put. They’ll wait for Mars to be established then they’ll go. If they go. Most can’t afford it.”

“Can if they have farms to sell.”

“Yeah. If only…”

“Well, better mingle.”

“Me too. Nice to see you again.”

“You too.”


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