The embassy’s door was of bulletproof steel lined with a veneer of English oak. You attained it by touching a button in a silent lift. The royal crest, in this air-conditioned stillness, suggested silicone and funeral parlours. The windows, like the doors, had been toughened to frustrate the Irish and tinted to frustrate the sun. Not a whisper of the real world penetrated. The silent traffic, cranes, shipping, old town and new town, the brigade of women in orange tunics gathering leaves along the central reservation of the Avenida Balboa, were mere specimens in Her Majesty’s inspection chamber. From the moment you set foot in British extraterritorial airspace, you were looking in, not out.