Friday, 30 September 2011

The Most Difficult Thing Ever (The Movie)

One year abridged into half an hour. Reading from The Most Difficult Thing Ever: Recorded on location in Huddersfield, UK, between August 2010 and August 2011 by Kevin Boniface.
Website: ​

Sunday, 24 July 2011

6.00am: As I walked down Fitzwilliam street a gust of wind blew...

6.00am: As I walked down Fitzwilliam Street, a gust of wind blew an empty can of Tennents Super from the gutter and it began rolling noisily across the street. When It reached the middle of the road, it changed course and began a descent down the hill at quite a speed; I watched as it overtook me. About twenty yards further down, a rat appeared from the opposite pavement and began to scuttle across the road on a collision course with the can at the intersection of their paths. I waited for the crash, which had seemed inevitable, but the rat put on an impressive turn of speed at the last second and disappeared into Marco's Hand Car Wash unimpeded.

I apologised to the man at the County Court for the temperamental nature of my PDA when it shut down as he was about to sign for the mail. "It reminds me of a woman" he said. Outside, in the car park I passed two women smoking their cigarettes in tears.

The university was busy with graduates in mortar boards and gowns. I queued to get into the car park behind a red Ferrari with the number plate G1RLS.

There were two identical settee cushions – brown with a bit of white stuffing poking out – in the road at either end of Newthorpe Avenue.

In St Peter's Street someone had stuck a penny to the side of a bin with a blob of gob and a bit further down there were three short blue pencils stuck to the back of the pay and display machine with masking tape.

A woman in a maxi dress was painting a shed whilst listening to Take That in the gardens next to the art gallery.

At Born Boutique – "Born to be different", the mannequins in the window displayed short, swathed dresses in Campbells mushroom taup and Germoline pink, deluged in stiff taffeta bows and swags, paste stones, pearls, purse chains and goatskin clutch bags – with gold feature clasps and fringed trim. Inside the shop, a woman in a dental assistant's outfit was browsing the rails while Jay-Z was piped from the PA.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

5.30am: A man who couldn't walk straight passed me in the street

5.30am: A man who couldn't walk straight passed me in the street. He was wearing plastic rimmed glasses and carrying a copy of The Guardian under his arm. He staggered slightly, bounced off the wall with his shoulder and spilled Pepsi Max down his top.

In the park, a dozen or so people were playing loud music in the bandstand. They waved and shouted “Morning mate!” as I walked past. When I replied they all collapsed in fits of laughter.

I was emptying a post box when the man in the garden behind it threw a large snail over his shoulder without looking; it bounced off the side of my head and set off across the road with half its shell missing.

On Hayfield Road, a woman opened the window of her front room and asked whether I’d help her and her husband to climb out. She said they'd locked themselves in.

Out of the five people Inside the motorcycle showroom, I was the only one without grey hair, a moustache and no beard. I went over to the counter where a grey haired man with a moustache and no beard broke off briefly from his conversation ("...she makes a lovely sound, especially when you open her up a bit...") to tell me that I was "looking for parts" (which I wasn't) He pointed to an adjoining door and said "through there mate, they'll look after you".

The signs to the car-park at the enormous new church say "Customer Parking".

Saturday, 9 July 2011

On my way into work at 5.30am, I passed a house from which the theme tune from the TV show Countdown...

On my way into work at 5.30am, I passed a house from which the theme tune from the TV show Countdown was blaring out into the street. A police helicopter was hovering directly overhead.

A colleague told me he'd been embarrassed the other day while delivering a package to a sex shop on his round; he'd tripped up a step and knocked over a stand of dildos.

At the house with the decorative Father Christmas and snowman figurine in the window, I handed the owner, an elderly man dressed almost entirely in a single hue of beige (he would possibly have looked naked from a distance ) a parcel. He shouted to me above the noise of his dog barking from behind the gate, "Don't worry," he said, "she's all this..." and he made a C-shaped gesture with his right hand, opening and closing his thumb and fingers to signify talking. "Just like all women" he added with a wink.

I knocked at the door of the house in Mill Street where the owner always jokes that his parcels are consignments of heroin. Littering the short garden path, I counted twenty-nine cigarette butts, fifty-seven KFC salt sachets (some opened and some unopened), a KFC vinegar sachet (unopened), a drinking straw and an empty litre and a half bottle of Fanta. There was also a large quantity of white feathers – far too many to count.

While using the urinal in the toilets on the first floor of the post office, I glanced out of the open window and noticed a man's shoe on top of the security hut at the main entrance. It's one of those chisel-toe slip-ons with a three-quarter inch heel that the eastern European men down at the Grove often couple with a bootleg jean.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

A woman answered the door in Heights Road...

A woman answered the door in Heights Road. "44 today!" she exclaimed as I handed over her parcel. "I'm behaving very irresponsibly for a Grandma! Well, I will be later, I'm gonna get hammered!" She glanced up at my hat and her eyes widened in surprise as she took in a sharp breath; "Oh my God!" she said, "I don't believe it! Cool hat!" and she dropped the parcel and ran back inside the house. "Wait there!" She shouted, "This is such an amazing coincidence, I've got one exactly like it!" I could hear her rummaging around in the front room, "It's here somewhere! Wait there!" I waited on the step for a few seconds until the woman shouted again "Here it is! Here it is!" and came running back to the door. "Tada!" She exclaimed, jazz hands either side of her face. On her head was a hat that resembled mine in so much as it was a hat but apart from that it couldn't have been more different. Mine is a structured cap in light blue/green check with a rigid peak and an adjustable band and hers was a floppy, plain brown beret type with a row of five metal studs around the front of the small, soft peak. I feigned amazement, wished her a happy birthday and went back to my van. On the other side of the road, a hefty teen girl with dyed red hair, black satin tracksuit top, black tights, black jersey skirt that didn't entirely cover her backside, and a pair of disintegrating grey Ugg boots was violently shoving a spotty teen boy outside the newsagents shop, "You gave me one-pound-fucking-twenty. Fuck off!" she yelled.

Mr Barton has fixed a hook adjacent to his back door on which he hangs the fully loaded super-soaker he uses to dissuade cats from fouling his borders. He has also been shooting squirrels with an air rifle. I've counted seven dead in his back garden in the last few days. When I asked him about it earlier in the week he claimed they'd all "died of old age" but yesterday he admitted to having shot them. He said, "they don't understand death like we do" and he made a fist with his right hand and beat his chest above his heart; "We are the only ones who know we're going to die".

Sunday, 19 June 2011

I walked into work in the slipstream of a man who...

I walked into work in the slipstream of a man who was smoking strong weed and listening to Chaka Demus and Pliers without headphones. As we walked through the Market Place, a splay footed drunkard wearing the remains of a tuxedo shouted "HELLO!" to us both from the steps of Headrow Furnishers.

Two women in their seventies were discussing custard tart:
"It was lovely; I had the custard tart", said the tallish one with the mid-calf length floral-print pleated skirt and the 'summer wine' perm.
"Ooh, I do love custard", said the shortish one with the mid-calf length floral-print pleated skirt and the 'summer wine' perm.
"My mother used to make the best custard tart – lovely thin pastry." Said the tallish one.
"Lovely. My husband says he doesn't care how thick the pastry is!" Said the shortish one, eyebrows outraged.
"Well, that's it you see; men don't mind so much about the pastry. All they're interested in is the custard. All men love custard."
"That's true. Whenever we go anywhere the men always go for the custard option. It's a school boy thing I think."
"You're right."

At the house with the balloons tied to the gate posts, the builders were swearing on the roof. I counted seven "fuckings" and a "bastard" in the time it took for the young mum to walk her two toddlers up the driveway to the front door for the birthday party.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

A crow was pecking at the basketball sized piece of scrunched up fish and chip paper in the road

A crow was pecking at the basketball sized piece of scrunched up fish and chip paper in the road. A car approached and the crow picked up the paper in its beak and flew off over the houses with it. Later, on the same street, I saw a woman in a spangley lilac sari and headscarf ensemble hoovering the pavement outside her house with big upright Dyson.

I was sat smoking on the steps at the entrance to the park opposite the post office with Michael. I told him about the woman I'd seen hoovering the pavement and he said he'd once seen a man watering his garden despite the fact he'd paved over it several years earlier. I suggested the man might simply have been cleaning the paving, but Michael said that when he'd asked him what he was doing, the man had said "watering the flowers". At this point in the conversation, a sparrow flew down and landed in the gap between us on the step – about a foot away from each of us. Michael hadn't noticed it so I caught his eye, said "Aye-up, who's this?" and glanced down at the bird. Michael caught site of the sparrow and started with a small yelp of surprise. The sparrow flew off and Michael said "I fucking hate birds".

A group of school children passed me in the street. They all had their coats over their heads to block the glare of the sun on their phone screens.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Three men were playing on the roundabout in the children's playground at 6am...

Three men were playing on the roundabout in the children's playground at 6am. The one with the black bandana tied around his head was pushing it round as fast as he could and repeatedly shouting "Oh baby! You're gonna die!"

A man in military uniform was carrying a carriage clock across Church Street.

At the newsagent, Christine was on the till. She told me the new owner is applying for an off-license. "I don't want to be in here on my own at 10 o' clock at night with all the skanks coming in. It's a local newsagent for goodness sake; he thinks he's bloody Tescos"

A man in sportswear was watching me deliver a parcel. He was leaning on a broken fence with a bottle of Ribena in one hand and his bollocks in the other.

A woman was walking past the pink teddy bear in the road on her way up to Dead Man's Hole. She was wearing a pale grey fleece jacket, black ski-pants and was carrying a shopping bag that was so big she had to hold it with her arm bent at he elbow so it didn't drag along the floor. She was talking on a phone: "Joan has been up with some boxes and one looked like it might have been a cat basket."

I found a four leaf clover in Dead Man's Hole.

Adam Ant's tour bus was parked outside Holmfirth Post Office.

Things people said to me today when I handed them their post (not including 'thankyou' or variations thereof – which is what nearly everyone says):
"Is that it? That's a poor do."
"Ooh lots!"
"That's not too bad."
"That's great."
"Parcel? Oh yes, that's David's tea actually – birdseed."
"You haven't been knocking long have you? I was asleep."
"Oh my God!"

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Up the driveway of replica stone setts...

Up the driveway of replica stone setts, past the box trees, the cobbles, the blue slate chippings and the saplings with their nursery tags flapping in the breeze to the faux timber door. A large cockchafer has turned turtle on the doorstep. I right it gently with the toe end of my boot.

Twice in succession during my parcel delivery, the door was answered by a middle aged woman with a broken arm*. 
At the next house, the door was answered by a man in his thirties with shaving foam all over his face. 
Another full hour into the delivery and somebody else with a broken arm answered a door. This time it was a middle aged man, his sweater bulging over the bad arm with the empty sleeve dangling at his side.

While I was delivering mail to the gym, the man with the regulation haircut and the 4x4 in the carpark was explaining how much he hated show muscle. "All the young lads are into it," he said. "They look good but they've got no stamina. I was sparring with a lad twice my size and half my age yesterday and I just hung in there till he wore himself out and then gave him a good smack in the kidneys."

At the BMW garage, a grey wagtail was flitting around in the dust on the forecourt. I went inside through the big glass doors and, when I handed over a package to the man in blue overalls, he said "Is it a food parcel from UNICEF?" I laughed but when the overall man looked for a reaction from the man at the desk in the corner – crew neck sweater with his shirt collar tucked inside – he didn't get one.

*This has happened before: see November 2nd 2010

Friday, 27 May 2011

I still pass the man with the tartan Thermos...

I still pass the man with the tartan Thermos and the all-year-round woolly hat on my way into work but I've stopped saying hello since it obviously makes him so uncomfortable. This morning I happened to glance up as he approached and he faked a trip to avoid making eye contact.

I delivered a parcel to a man with a side parting and a plaid shirt. He told me it was a box of chocolates. He suggested that should I ever want to "get round the wife" then I could do worse than to order some myself. "They really are first class" he said, "far more effective than flowers". The man also mentioned that he owned a Volvo V70 which he also recommended very highly, "A beautiful car" he said.

The man whose shirt was perforated with dozens of of tiny hot-rock holes apologised for his signature saying it had "gone a bit funny".

Wildlife of note: Two dead hedgehogs, one dead blackbird, one dead squirrel, one heron (alive), one woodpecker (alive).

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

At the newsagent where the Adele album is played on a loop...

At the newsagent where the Adele album is played on a loop, two men in their fifties were comparing their experiences of school. 
"When the bell rang and we were playing football, we'd just ignore it. Did you do that?" 
"No, not really."

On Bankfoot, a man in a flat cap was clearing debris left by the high winds. He held up a garden gnome "I just found this," he said "isn't he a little beauty."
Later, I got hit in the face by a wet clematis when it broke free of its trellis moorings in a strong gust. Also, a woman answered a door wearing a Father Christmas oven glove — which reminded me that the Christmas tree is still up (and fully decorated) in the pool room at the flats.

I saw an owl at Wheelwrights farm and a man who looked like Boris Yeltsin going into the The Laundry Basket. A young boy of about seven threatened to 'cut my head off with an axe' and a man in the the park with a chest length beard and Bermuda shorts asked me whether I'd ever been to London.

I saw Marc getting off the bus at Berry Brow. He had a snare drum in one hand, some cymbals in the other and his jacket done up to the top. I pulled over to say hello and he said he'd just got back from London where he'd played at Ronnie Scott's. I said to say hello to his mum, he said he would and then he went because it was raining.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The man in the black Astra was blocking the street...

The man in the black Astra was blocking the street while he made a phone call. He broke off briefly from his call to wind down his window and shout "You fat fucking bitch!" to the woman in the red Saab at the front of the queue of oncoming traffic. She didn't move because she couldn't; he was blocking the road and she had a queue of traffic behind her. He called the Saab woman a fat bitch a couple more times before he finished his call and then sped off, shouting "You fat bitch!" a final time as he went.

Half an hour later I saw the Astra man again, he was dropping an old man off at the hospital. They were smiling and sharing a joke together. Astra man took the old man's arm and patiently escorted him across the car park and up the steps to the reception area.

At Lowfield Park, the air was filled with copulating insects, the yelping of lap dogs and the smell of deep fat fryers. A man in jeans was putting a fresh coat of magnolia Wethershield onto his stucco. I said "morning" and he made a sort of "mgh" noise without looking up.

Garden statues: Squirrels, many many rabbits, birds (mainly owls and woodpeckers), an old couple sat on a bench, hedgehogs, a donkey (with saddle bags), a horse, an angel, a castle, windmills, otters, a fox, tortoises, cats, highly glazed orbs, a ten foot tall giraffe, ducks, gnomes, buddhas, frogs (two that croaked as I walked past), a miniature Chinese terracotta army figure, some miniature Easter Island heads, fairies, a lion, cats, dogs (mainly terriers and collies), naked/semi-naked women, men with golf bags/cricket bats/shotguns/bags with swag written on them, molded resin imitation Jean Arp/Barbara Hepworths...

A plane took off from the airfield next door. Its engine cut out for about four or five seconds as it flew over.

Mr Ainley asked me why the mail was so late these days. He said he was going to write to his MP and "sort the bugger out".

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Mr Briggs intercepted me for his mail...

Mr Briggs intercepted me for his mail, "You'll be getting sunburnt with no cap on," he said.
"I'm living on the edge" I said.
"Oh," he said, and he drove away, spinning the wheels of his Bedford Rascal in dust by the five bar gate.

At no.20 they have pinned a copy of The Watchtower magazine to their front door. Someone has scrawled across Jesus' face in biro "NOT INTERESTED, ONE WORD FREE WILL!"[sic].

As we watched the police moving the drunks along in the park, Michael told me he'd once seen a man staggering down the street with a bottle in his hand and another two in the pockets of his coat. He said he'd seen the man's expression turn from horror to relief as the bottle in his hand had slipped onto the floor but hadn't broken. Then, as he'd bent down to pick it up, the bottles from his pockets had fallen out and smashed all over the pavement and his expression had turned to one of completely bewildered anguish.

The swallows were swooping after the flies that buzzed around the cow shit on the track down to the farm. I pulled up at the house and got out. The air was fetid and still, hung thick with the stench of pig shit. A woman with a grey bob and plastic rimmed glasses opened the door. She winced and said "Oh! What a foul smell!" Then, with one hand over her nose she grabbed the parcel from me and shut the door behind her quickly without saying goodbye.

The man who is brewing beer in his garden and doesn't wear a shirt said hello.

I stood on a dead mouse and, even after several minutes of trying, couldn't get the worst of it out from between the treads of my shoes.

Friday, 29 April 2011

The tall thin woman with the Highland Terrier under her arm...

The tall thin woman with the Highland Terrier under her arm said "Oh super, union jack bun cases!"
Under the buddleja in the park, the police were pouring away litre bottles of White Star Cider.

Three red faced, grey haired men wearing gold, wire rimmed spectacles and faded anoraks were stood smoking on the doorstep of the pub. Next door, at the ice-cream parlour, three swishy haired girls in T-shirts and sweat pants were sat at a chrome table on the pavement sipping smoothies and eating sorbet.

A young boy with a pot on his arm was trying to get into my van. I shouted a warning to him and he said he was looking for his parcel. I said I hadn't got his parcel and he called me a dumbo then grabbed ahold of my arm to see what I was carrying. The front door of the house opposite opened and a woman called the boy in, he ignored her and reiterated that he thought I was a dumbo. The woman called him again, twice, but he continued to ignore her and she eventually gave up and went back inside. I opened the door of my van and the boy jumped in. I grabbed him and dragged him out. He was muttering about his parcel and me being a dumbo. I got into the van but the boy kept opening my door before I could lock it. In the end I drove off with it still open. He chased me down the street shouting "Dumbo!"

When I got to the end of Victoria Road, the way was blocked by a long wheelbase van on its side behind a police cordon. I made a three point turn and, on my way back up the road I past a colleague so I pulled up to tell him about it; he said he'd seen the police chasing the van down the road five minutes earlier.

A couple got off the bus. They were each holding a hand of a little boy of about two or three years old. As they walked down the street with the boy between them they failed to notice his trousers gradually slipping down to his ankles. The boy was struggling to keep up, his movement restricted. He couldn't adjust his trousers because both his hands were being held. He was looking up, trying to make the couple aware of his predicament but they were chatting and didn't notice. Eventually, when they were almost having to drag the boy along, they looked down. They stopped and laughed and the woman adjusted the boy's trousers and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

I caught three teenage boys writing "Paki's Rule" and "Pussy" on my garden gate. I told them that I was a nice man but that I wouldn't be anymore if they kept writing on my stuff.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

At work I was involved in a discussion about the provenance of the eighties metal band, Saxon.

At work I was involved in a discussion about the provenance of the eighties metal band, Saxon. John was wondering whether it was legitimate to claim them as a Huddersfield band because he’d heard they were originally from Denby Dale. Another colleague said he thought that although Denby Dale has a Huddersfield postcode, it falls under the administrative jurisdiction of Barnsley*. Another colleague said he was at school in Huddersfield with a member of the band’s nephew.
When I got home, I Googled Saxon and discovered that Biff Byford, the band’s singer, was born in Honley (HD9, not Barnsley) so I emailed John to let him know.
My father-in-law once told me that Puff the Magic Dragon was from Honley and I believed him.

I was driving through the housing development that now occupies the site of the old mill. All the garages are too small to fit a car inside and consequently the streets are double lined with mainly silver Puntos and Astras. I had to brake to avoid a young boy who was staggering from one side of the road to the other whilst balancing an upside-down yard brush on one finger.

I said hello to Howard. He waved an envelope at me and said “Bastards have taken £550 off my pension in interest!” He crossed to my side of the road, “There’ll be none of that when my lot get in: BNP. We’ll string all them bankers up. Bastards. And the bloody unions! They’ve fucked your pension up, haven’t they? Bastards! They’ve gone fucking soft; in my day if anyone had gone within a mile of our pension fund the union would have had us all out, shut the place down completely. I were out for twelve week once, nearly bloody starved to death. Ended up scotching for a pound an hour, never told anyone. I had to do it. The unions now are bastards...” He jabbed me in the chest “They’re condemning you to a life of poverty. The bastards!”
I said I needed to get going and Howard said “I hope you’re not rushing round for them bastards. Bastards.”

*It doesn't, it is in Kirklees, as is Huddersfield.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The sun has been shining...

The sun has been shining. People are squinting up their eyes and shielding the screens of their phones at the bus stop. It's hot; I counted seventy-three discarded drinks containers on my way into work this morning. An average of one every thirty-four meters.

A teenage boy in T-shirt and tracksuit was running to the mosque at 6am.

Someone has written “HeRB” on the Mill Street post box.

The milkman's two young assistants were talking as they waited on the curb for the van.

“She asked for nine semi, I put twelve in and now she wants thirteen” said the short chubby white one.

“Why?” asked the short chubby black one.

“Because she’s a greedy bitch” said the white one.

I saw a man with a green 'Atari' T-shirt drop the cardboard packaging from his toy machine gun onto the pavement by the bench at the corner of John William Street — where the woman with the short skirt used to feed the pigeons.

Inside the motorcycle showrooms, a sales assistant was recommending a bike cleaning product to a customer.

"We had a leak from a can of it a while back and, when we'd cleaned it up, the floor was sparkling—white as snow. Amazing stuff."

"I think I'd better get some of that then" said the customer.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

The man drinking White Star Cider on the bench outside the Shine On Hand Car Wash...

The man drinking White Star cider on the bench just down from the Shine On Hand Car Wash ("Only One Using Genuine Chamois Leathers") told me to stroke his bow legged bull terrier. He promised it wouldn't bite. I stroked its head and it jumped up at my knee, wagging its tail affectionately. The man laughed and said "Told you".

There are three bunches of flowers tied to the branches of the small tree behind The Mahal ("The Only Genuine Charcoal Tandoor (Clay Oven) In Town") They are still in their cellophane packaging with sachets of flower food attached.

A man with a ginger beard was erecting an authentic looking teepee in unbleached canvas on the grass at the bottom of the flats. Two other men in their thirties were staging a fight with cudgels and large viking looking shields. A small group of spectators lined the railings; a teenage couple in tracksuits smoking cigarettes and a man in his late twenties in a baseball cap, tracksuit and a bandana. He was sipping beer from a can and fondling his genitals.

The woman who answered the door after the third knock struggled to sign for her parcel whilst holding a veil over her face at the same time. She was wearing England slippers with a cross of St George motif.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

I saw a man's brown lace-up Clarks shoe on the pavement

I saw a man's brown lace-up Clarks shoe on the pavement outside the house with the ring of miniature standing stones on the lawn. The other of the pair was twenty yards down the road at the bus stop where the chubby goth boy was being chased by a wasp.

I parked outside Euphoria Fitness. A man and a woman in boxing gloves were sparring in the car-park. He was holding up his hand and she was hitting it. He was shouting "Hit it! Hit it!" at her. I crossed the road to the garage where, coincidentally the mechanic was listening to a song called Euphoria, Take my Hand on the radio whilst working on an old Vauxhall Corsa.

Someone has written Lynard Skynard and The Who in the dirt on my van.

The skip lorries were tailing back down the road from the tip. An elderly man in salwar kameez had climbed into the back of one of them and was raiding it for timber.

Two men were playing pool In the communal room at the flats. One of them was unable to take his preferred shot because his cueing action was obstructed by the still fully decorated Christmas Tree in the corner.

I parked up next to a sign that said BEWARE CHILDREN. I could hear a teacher in the school yard opposite shouting "Quickly Shakira, I'm waiting!"

I called round at a friends house and I noticed his neighbour has put up a wobbly, hand painted sign on his gate that says "If you are preaching or selling do not enter coz the wife bites."

Thursday, 24 March 2011

I saw a young couple in the town centre early this morning

I saw a young couple in the town centre early this morning. He seemed quite camp and was walking with his arms folded and his jeans turned up above the ankle. She was very tall, very blonde and was wearing extremely short hot pants with cork wedge sandals. As I passed them, I overheard the man say "I've got to take Sammy's rabbit to get its claws clipped". They headed off towards the market place where the stalls were being set up and, a half minute or so later, a chorus of lewd shouts come up from that direction.

I shouted to the woman in the pink turtle neck and grey gilet who was valeting her Peugeot 107 but she couldn't hear me above Michael Jackson's Bad on the car stereo. When I eventually attracted her attention she looked flustered and embarrassed; she apologised and said she'd been in a world of her own.

The man in the bobble hat and the plastic rimmed glasses was staring at me as I emptied the pillar box. I glanced up and let on. He was picking his nose vigorously. He didn't acknowledge me but continued staring and picking. After a few seconds, I could still feel him staring so I looked up again. This time the man glanced down quickly and started to examine the bogey he was rolling between his thumb and forefinger. I slammed the box door shut and dragged the sack across the pavement. As I loaded it into the van, I noticed the man was still staring at me but had now started picking at the other nostril. He was prodding around up there, tipping his head on one side to get a good purchase and the only time he took his eyes off me was to inspect the end of his finger. I got into my van just as the man's bus arrived: Stotts ...taking people to places.

The garden wall at no.27 is now a pile of rubble after a bus crashed into it the other day. The bus company have erected a "Temporary Bus Stop" right next to it.

The spare wheel cover of the Suzuki Grand Vitara on the driveway at no.47 is decorated with a psychedelic picture of a native American Indian standing next to a rainbow while a large 'starburst' sun rises behind his head like a halo. The car's owner was in his garden wearing nothing but a pair of cut-off denim shorts to strim around the two small white painted boulders on his lawn.

On my way home, I passed a man in his fifties. He was wearing a long heavy overcoat, a woollen scarf and black leather shoes. The next person I passed was a young man in his twenties; he was wearing a T-shirt, knee length cotton shorts, no socks and flip flops.

Friday, 18 March 2011

There was a house brick wrapped in silver foil...

There was a house brick wrapped in silver foil and two metal desert spoons on the bench on Fitzwilliam Street yesterday. This morning, the spoons had gone but the house brick was still there.

A colleague was re-attaching the bumper of his van with some cable ties. I asked him if he could spare a couple to firm up the elastic band repair I'd made on my van door last week. It didn't work and in the end I knocked the bent piece back into place by hitting it quite hard with a hammer. It's worked like new ever since.

Julie from the canteen was outside smoking a cigarette. She told me that two people had ordered poached eggs. She said she hates making poached eggs and the thought of having to go back inside and do it was ruining her cigarette break.

A man in an anorak was leaning over his fence smoking a roll-up. He asked me whether I had any mail for him. I told him I had to do the estate first and he said he'd hang on for me. An hour and a half later I came off the estate and he was still there waiting for me, leaning on the fence, smoking a roll-up.

A border Collie had been barking, upsetting ornaments and head-butting the lounge window of the first house on the cul-de-sac ever since I'd pushed the mail under the shed door (the owner asked me not to use the letterbox because the dog tears up the mail). When I got to number eight, the owner, a man in a big quilted coat and aviator shades, wound down the window of his black mk5 Honda Prelude with red rims and blacked-out rear windows, winked at me and said "Have you got owt for me mate?" I handed him his mail and he said "Sweet mate. Nice one."
At number twelve, the large Polish man with the paintbrush moustache who pulls his tracksuit bottoms up too high (they go right up his arse crack) had been pruning next door's overhanging hypericum using an electric carving knife. Now, he was talking to another neighbour, a young asian man wearing a white hooded top and walking an aggressive looking Boxer dog. When I passed them, the dog saw me and nearly pulled him over, jerking him around 180 degrees. The Boxer's barking sent the Collie at number two into an apoplectic frenzy and it jumped onto the window sill with all four feet, fur all squashed up against the glass. It fell off again in quite a comical fashion but continued to bark undaunted.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

In the office, Dan was telling us about the curries he'd eaten over the weekend

In the office, Dan was telling Chris about the curries he'd eaten over the weekend:
"...Balti Friday night, Pathia Saturday night and on Sunday I went round to a mate's house and we had a nice Rogan Josh. Not a bad weekend."
"Blimey! I bet you're back on the fruit now, mind you, I suppose they're not too bad for you, curries, are they?" Said Chris.
"Depends what you fire in with 'em doesn't it kid?" said Dan without looking up from his work. He was standing on a box slotting letters into the top row of his frame (he's not particularly short but he says it makes his arm ache otherwise).

On my way out to my delivery, I saw a Red Kite (the bird kind) drifting along the tree line above the road.

On delivery, a woman with a picture of an alien on her sweatshirt was walking her two boxer dogs. As I passed, the dogs started snarling and barking at me and without looking up, the woman shouted "Shut up! It's a man, not a martian!"

I slipped on a flight of greasy green yorkstone steps. I managed to grab the railing and ended up lying on my back on the steps with my feet on the patio at the bottom without having done any serious damage. I told the owner about it. "Are they slippy?" he said and handed me a mis-delivered letter from the day before.

At the sheltered housing on the estate, an old woman with a grey perm, faded blue anorak and american tan tights was putting out her wheelie bin. It had a massive stripy orange and green sticker on the side that said Pimp My Bin in a graffiti style font.

On my way down to the farm, I saw a fresh looking blue tit corpse in the middle of the lane. On my way back up five minutes later, it had gone.

Someone has written Retard in the dirt on the side of old Mr Richardson's new Honda CR-V.

A rabbit ran across the road in front of me in exactly the same place as it had the day before.

My van door broke but I mended it with some red elastic bands.

On the estate, a boy of about five was playing on a scooter in the street. "Are you going to my house?" He said. I asked him where he lived and he pointed to the house I was going to next. "Yes" I said. He threw down his scooter and ran inside shouting "Wait there!" Moments later, I saw him through the window of the front room wrestling an agitated Jack Russell Terrier from the back of the settee, then I heard a door slam and he came running back outside. "It's our dog" he said, "I had to lock him in, he hates postmans".

Saturday, 5 March 2011

I arrived at work early so I made a cigarette and stood on the pavement to smoke it...

I arrived at work early so I made a cigarette and stood on the pavement to smoke it. After a minute or so, a Blue Tit flew out from a tree and landed on the wing mirror of the Citroën Picasso parked in front of me. It hopped down onto the bottom lip of the mirror-casing and perched there facing the glass, appearing to admire its reflection. After a few seconds, the bird flew to the mirror of the next parked car and did the same thing, and then again onto the third car before it disappeared back among the shrubs in the church gardens. I was quite excited and asked the man on the corner, who was checking the soles of his shoes for dog shit, whether he'd seen it, but he hadn't.

I was on somebody's door step on the new estate filling out a 'failure to deliver' notice. Above me, a wall-mounted speaker repeatedly blared out a pre-recorded message; a man with a southern accent saying "Warning, you are being recorded by a security camera". It only stopped after I'd finished and left.

Yesterday, I said hello to a man in his garden and he completely blanked me. He was there again today, so I said hello again. This time he glanced up briefly to say "Now then" before continuing raking his leaves.

I asked a woman in her early thirties whether she'd take a parcel for her next door neighbour. She refused, saying "I don't really know them and they're just renting know".

I commented on the fluffiness of a dog to its owner as she passed me in the street. The woman stopped but the dog started towards me, growling. The woman yanked on the dog's lead and said "They're not right friendly aren't Chows. If he's ever out in the garden, you'd best not go in".

There's been a bouquet of flowers (still in cellophane) on the doorstep of number 67 all week. The man who lives there must know about them because he's been out working in his garden every day.

A window cleaner was up his ladder at no.94. I shouted hello as I walked down the garden path but he didn't respond. When I came back down the path, he'd climbed down, and was walking across the lawn to get his buckets. He didn't look up from under the peak of his woolly cap as he passed but he slapped the back of one hand against the palm of the other several times and said "'seems to be getting fucking colder". I think he was talking to me because there was nobody else around.

I saw an old colleague in the street. He told me a mutual friend I hadn't seen for years had died in an road accident. "I were at me dad's, polishing me boots when I heard" he said.

Two young men in hooded tops were fastening some blue flashing lights to the roof of a car. They each had an upturned bucket to stand on so they could reach.

At Hinchliffe Ltd the receptionist was on the phone.

“I’ve got James from SL Recruitment on the line...Do you want anything to do with him? If I tell him you're in a meeting he’ll just keep ringing me and...ok...” Click “Hello James, he says he doesn’t need anything at the moment so I should give it a good long while before you ring again...that’s alright. Bye bye.” Click.

Back in town, a man on crutches with his cap on backwards was repeatedly gobbing on the path in the church gardens while his girlfriend (baby blue tracksuit and ponytail) was doubled over laughing at him. The man swung for her with his crutch but hit a pigeon instead.