This morning I got an early train out of Penn Station to visit a friend who lives in Jamestown (Rhode Island). Leonard is a friend from Bologna days – we first met in 1979 – and he lives in a truly beautiful part of the world. In a whistle-stop tour of paradise, I swam in the Ocean, ate delicious clam chowder at a Newport beach club, visited an ancient club house, the Reading Room, saw the Redwood Library where Henry James wrote some of his novels and toured a series of magnificent country houses (Marble House, The Elms and, most famous of all, The Breakers). As if that wasn’t enough, Leonard took me to a polo match. He’d have been playing himself, but for a broken rib, but I met his ponies (serious players have five or six) and learnt the basics of the game. (It must be the only sport that discriminates totally against left-handers.) As to the match itself, it was a friendly but, still, the pace and the skills of the horses and their riders were exciting. There are large and thriving expat communities there and I kept catching English and Scottish and Irish accents on the wind. Then all too soon it was back to Kingston and the train to New York. The train follows the coast line for a long time. A lot of it is unspoilt and I could imagine those first settlers building their settlements in the early 1600s and thanking their lucky stars. Not for nothing is the capital of Rhode Island called Providence.