There are nights when, crossing the dark parkland by my house, I see a man beneath a remote streetlamp. He is usually alone, and smokes as he circles the low walls of a squat little building. Most nights, after innumerable cigarettes and several laps of the place, he will slip from the light for good. Sometimes another figure will appear, warily loping in and out of the lamplight. A brief exchange follows before cigarettes are extinguished and both slink off into the building.
This, I have discovered, is cottaging — or at least the first stages of it. Those who know about cottaging might, quite understandably, have thought it a thing of the past. But as my man under the streetlight explained to me later, when we met, even in the internet era it still has appeal.