The Portobello area of West London has a rich personality - vibrant, brilliant in colour, noisy, with graffiti that approach art, bizarre and splendid.
An indefinable edge to it adds a spice of danger. There is nothing safe about Portobello... Eugene Wren inherited an art gallery from his father near an arcade that now sells cashmere, handmade soaps and children's clothes.
But he decided to move to a more upmarket site in Kensington Church Street.
Eugene is fifty, with prematurely white hair. He is, perhaps, too secretive for his own good. He also has an addictive personality. But he has cut back radically on his alcohol consumption and has given up cigarettes.
Which is just as well, considering he is going out with a doctor.
For all his good intentions, though, there is something he doesn't want her to know about... Eugene's secret links the lives of a number of very different people - each with their own obsessions, problems, dreams and despairs. And through it all the hectic life of Portobello bustles on...