Vincent, my neighbour, catches me as I leave for work, “Er, Kevin, I’ve got something to show you”. He dashes inside, wiping his hands on his pinny as he goes. When he returns he stands on his step, hiding something behind his back. “Do you cook a lot of chicken?” he asks. “Not really, occasionally”, I say. “Well, I’ve got just the thing”, he says and, with a slight flourish, he produces one of those shallow tin trays that chickens come in when you buy them from a supermarket. “Marks and Spencer”, he says, “It came free with the chicken”. “Thanks”, I say.
The pillar box outside the post office is jammed full of junk mail and takeaway flyers with obscenities scrawled all over them in blue biro. Someone has also tried to set fire to them by feeding matches through the slot. I mention it to the woman who works behind the counter, “I know! I caught her doing it”, she says, “it was Mrs Armitage from Whiteley Street”.
A young man in a tracksuit is cutting his own hair with a pair of blue plastic handled scissors as he walks down Cross Lane. He has no mirror and is feeling the hair at his temples with his left hand as he snips with his right.
On the landing, Irfan says the yardies had been threatening him again so during
a quiet spell he nips over the road to the gun shop to buy a bulletproof vest. He returns without one, “They’re four hundred quid so I didn’t bother”.