Tuesday 23 November 2010

Someone has stolen the roof from Bradley Farm...

Someone has stolen the roof from Bradley Farm.

The sign above the door at MPC North Ltd says ‘mpc north: managing people’s choices’. The reception area is staffed by people in military fatigues with laptops on their knees.

At the park homes on the moor, a woman in an old fleece jacket with a picture of a wolf on it tells me I’m a good postman because she’s seen me pick up an elastic band I dropped. She tells me that my colleagues just leave them on her path. The wolf woman’s friend—salmon pink anorak, big set platinum hair and a plastic rain hood—says “Ignore her love, she’s like this,” and the wolf woman says, “No I’m not”.

At Mr Haigh’s, I have to step over a dead calf to get to his front door today.

An old Ford Ka pulls up next to me. In the front is a smartly dressed couple, he in a camel hair coat with suede collars and her with a tidy perm and a large beaded necklace. In the back is another man in a beige anorak. They are all in their seventies, maybe eighties. The driver winds down his window and shouts over in a southern accent, “It’s good to see a good healthy postman!” I kind of nod. The man goes on “I’ve got a man here...” He gestures over his shoulder at the man in the anorak. “... and I’m bringing him to see his childhood, er, all the good people!” I look at the anorak man in the back, he’s pulling faces at the driver like a petulant teenager and mock punching the back of his seat. “Bye bye!” says the driver, and he waves and drives away.

“A load of poofs live there”, the driver of the bin wagon says to me, pointing to number 20. All the bin men laugh and say “See you, mate” as they drive off.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

The man in front of me with the shaved head, the tracksuit bottoms and the shiny blouson jacket...

The man walking in front of me with the shaved head, tracksuit pants and the shiny blouson jacket stops to pick up a packet of sodden cigarettes from the gutter. He opens it but he can’t get at the contents because they’re all stuck together. He tears at the packet, peels away a wet cigarette from the cluster, puts it in his mouth and makes repeated attempts to light it.

A man with a splint on his wrist, wearing glasses and smoking a pipe says “It’s a nice spot round here”. Just around the corner, I see a massive red toadstool and I run over a squirrel. Ten minutes later another man who is wearing glasses and smoking a pipe (but without a splint on his wrist) says “How do?” and asks me for directions to Bradley Farm. A bit later I trip over the wellington boot belonging to the man who is practising the drums with the window open and Mrs Sykes says she’s glad it’s a nice day and that junk mail is a bit of a pain but she supposes it keeps me in work.

I see my first domestic Christmas tree of the year. It has plain white lights.

Friday 12 November 2010

On my way into work at 5.15am I saw two skinny men rolling a lorry wheel up Church Street...

On my way into work at 5.15am I see two skinny men rolling a lorry wheel up Church Street. They are soaking wet and panting loudly.

At the Toby Grill, a man in a blue fleece jacket and jeans rummages through the box of Remembrance Day poppies on the bar while the barmaid pulls him a pint of bitter. “Where are the pins? You need a pin in it”, he says. “They never came with any. I’m surprised we’ve got rid of so many” says the barmaid.

At the Grange, I lift the flap of the letterbox and half a dozen large black flies drop out into a stream of run-off that carries them struggling away down the driveway.

The man fitting metal window screens to a vacant house on Elmfield Avenue asks me whether I’d like to buy some trainers. I say no. 

I pass a large pair of Eurimco pumps discarded on a country lane.

The woman at number 36 tells me about her wealthy neighbour’s recent home improvements: “It’s unbelievable! He got an interearier [sic] designer in who is a gay from Leeds so it looks amazing!”

Two young men in their twenties talk on the bus: “Were you on Black Ops last night?” “No, I was going to but I had to go up to the shop to get a tin opener.”

Saturday 6 November 2010

"Have you got owt for me?" said the bald man with the the big jeans...

“Have you got owt for me?” says the bald man with the big jeans and the paintbrush in his hand. I hand him an envelope from the DVLA. “Car tax”, says the man. “Have a guess how much? Go on. I bet it’ll be £225.” “What kind of car have you got?” I ask. “A V70. I can’t be doing with small cars. What have you got?” “A little Skoda. It’s old” I say. “Crappy little things. No disrespect to you, I just can’t be doing with them.” “I’ve never bought a new car”, I say. “I’ve bought twenty-four. I’ve got two at the moment. The Volvo and a BMW. I need two because I’m going up to Scotland for a few days.” The man tears open the envelope and unfolds the letter. “£205. Not as bad as I thought! It’s a lot though, isn’t it? It adds up, it’s four quid a week that." He folds the letter back into the envelope and goes on, "I was self-employed for twenty-five year but I’ve passed all the work on to someone else, just walked away from it. Still got my name running around on fifteen vans mind.” He waves his paintbrush at his driveway, “just got a quote to get that re-surfaced: five and a half grand. Would you pay that?” “No”, I say. “No, but even if you had the money, would you?” “I suppose I might. I don’t know.” “I’m seventy year old. What’s the point? I’d only be doing it for someone else, wouldn’t I?” The man looks up at the window frame he’s painting and says “Anyway, you’d better let me get on. See you lad”.

The young couple with the tattoos and the toddler at number 201 have fastened a VW badge to their front door.

A skinhead in combat fatigues who is smoking weed asks me for directions to his own house.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

An old man was cleaning egg from his front door...

An old man is cleaning egg from his front door. He tells me that some vandals threw it at the house on Halloween. He says he’d like to pin them down by the throat with the handle of his broom and stamp on it.

At a house on Sycamore Close, the bald man wearing motorcycle leathers and a Bluetooth earpiece says “Hold on John”, and makes a “Do I need to sign for it?” sign by pretending to write in the air in front of his face with an imaginary pen. I make a sign for “No” by shaking my head and I hand over his package. The man gives me an emphatic thumbs up and continues with his Bluetooth conversation with John, “...the thing is mate...”

The old lady whose light blue fine knit cardigan exactly matches the colour of both her garage door and her meter housing box is very pleased with her parcel of garden bulbs, she says it’s “just the right size”.

Twice in succession during my parcel delivery, the door is answered by a middle-aged woman with a broken arm.

The German shepherd at the bottom of the street seems particularly keen to get at me today. It’s on its hind legs at the gate barking and snarling. The fur on its back is on end and it doesn’t take its eyes off me as I deliver the mail to the neighbouring houses. As I approach, it becomes apoplectic, barking furiously. A thin woman with a blonde perm and skinny jeans opens the door of the house, runs up to the dog and grabs it by the collar. She pulls it down from the gate but it struggles loose and leaps back up to continue its frenzied display. The woman makes a second attempt to 
grab the dog and this time she manages to keep ahold long enough for me to pass over her mail. “Thank you!” she shouts in a strong eastern European accent, “She is very friendly dog!”

As I queue in the Co-op to buy a new jar of peanut butter and some Mini Cheddars, the woman on the till shouts to a colleague, “Lisa, would you class this as quiet?” Lisa breaks off from her customer and briefly glances around the shop, “Umm, yeah, I reckon”. My till woman shouts back to Lisa, “Good, I need a wee”.

I see another headless pigeon. This one is on Yew Tree Road near the junction with Weatherill Road.