The window I had sketched was triangular. When I looked at it again I saw the poppies once more. But something was wrong. The windows in the great hall where we had met the master had been tall and oblong. So why had I drawn a triangular window? The noise of water boiling in a silver saucepan bubbled into my thoughts. I turned down the gas and picked up my notebook. I wrote There are always these spaces – charged, I think, with a sort of responsibility. I put the pen down. This was not like being in the sacred, protective circle. I felt self-conscious. Feeling this way was absurd considering that it was just me, alone in the house. I went through to the front room and sat in the old armchair with its floral patterned cover, holes worn through from years of hands resting on the arms replicating the tears in the knees of my jeans. The pan was still bubbling but I couldn't hear the water any more. I realised why I had drawn a triangular window. It came from a delicious April morning when I had taken the first steps along the linear road towards building my empire. I should have known that it would end in failure. Empires, as the history books show us, have a habit of collapsing.