Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A man is lying on his side on his asphalt driveway...


A man is lying on his side on his asphalt driveway manicuring the edge of his lawn with a pair of shears — half his backside is showing. He rolls over onto his back to say hello.

Leylandii, berberis, box hedge and open-plan lawns. Stone built bungalows with feature arches and patio-doors, swirly carpets and telephone tables. Staffordshire ladies on the window sills.

"Did you hear about the burglary two doors down? They're on holiday. They didn't draw their curtains, didn't set their alarm; what did they expect?".

Rockery islands and miniature conifers. Limestone and alpines.

Locks on doors, locks on windows, locks on cars, locks on bikes, locks on sheds, locks on greenhouses, locks on gates...

Two cars on the drive and nobody home.

Women walk the streets in fleeces and overactive reactolites. Pulling on North Faces as it starts to drizzle. Swinging little bags of dog shit as they stride on towards Strawberry Drive in spotty Barbour Wellingtons. Dragging a growling, clipped schnauzer as it tries to hold its ground.
"Why are you like this with the postman? He's usually so placid and lovely. Aren't you?" she says, without looking up.

In the week, it's old retired men with tucked-in shirts and side partings. They lie down underneath Range Rovers or fine tune their lawns. They say "What's she been ordering now?" about "the missus" who sometimes comes outside in her specs and unusually coloured hair. "Have you seen the postman?" she says as she sets down a tall glass and a hobnob.

At the weekends it's younger men who stand on their lawns in casual sportswear holding power tools. They say "All right mate?" while the missus, in her navy-blue polo shirt with the buttons undone, holds a spaniel by the collar.

There are one or two children but they are at nursery except on Saturday when one of them gets strapped into the seat of his grandad's Ford Focus and taken to the United game. His grandma waves him off; she already has her pinny on.