Thursday 21 October 2010

On my way into work I saw a bat, an owl, the short woman with the sweat shirt...

On my way into work, I see a bat, an owl, the short woman with the sweat- shirt and the peroxide perm who goes through the bins in the park and, on the pavement outside the Mortgage Introducer and International Flights shop on John William Street, a women’s block heeled boot.

At the house with the broken porch, a boy of about three or four is sitting on the window sill wearing nothing but a nappy and drinking milk from a baby bottle. I knock at the door and a thin woman in her forties with braces on her teeth flings it open and shouts “Toilet!” before adding, “Oh sorry love, I thought you were someone else”.

Mr Briggs intercepts me in his Suzuki Carry. He asks whether I’ve ever toured Scotland by coach. I say I haven’t. He tells me his wife saw an advert in The Examiner: “Up one side and down the other. Five hotels in a week!” Mr Briggs goes on at some length about his reservations about coach travel. “A sore arse... compulsory seat belts... steamed-up windows that you can’t see out of... the lack of decent toilet facilities... If you get sat next to a knobhead...” and so forth. “I said all this to her”, he explains, “but she’d already gone and booked it, hadn’t she? Her and Barbara had cooked it up together, hadn’t they? So the four of us went together: me, the missus and Gary and Barbara. And do you know what?” says Mr Briggs looking up at me from over his wire rims. “What?” I say. “We had a real time! It were fantastic! We’ve been another, one, two, three, four times since!” He tells me about some of the exploits they’ve had: “They’re only allowed to drive for a couple of hours at a time these days so we always have t’chance to have a coffee or a tea”. And how he’d got around the “seat belt problem”. “If you plug the belt into the thing before you get into your seat and then just sit on it, the driver’s alarm doesn’t go off. He’d had to tell me a couple of times over the tannoy before I figured that out.” Mr Briggs chuckles and does an impression of the bus driver, “Passenger number forty-four, could you fasten your belt please!” I tell Mr Briggs that I once travelled from London to Paris by coach and I found it quite tough going. I start to elaborate with an amusing anecdote from the journey but he cuts me short saying, “Anyway, I’m off to Leeds now” and he drives away".