Friday, 30 September 2011
Sunday, 24 July 2011
6.00 a.m.: As I walk down Fitzwilliam Street, a gust of wind blows an empty Tennent’s Super can from the gutter
6.00 a.m.: As I walk down Fitzwilliam Street, a gust of wind blows an empty Tennent’s Super can from the gutter and it begins to roll noisily across the street. When It reaches the middle of the road, it changes course and starts a descent down the hill at quite a speed. I watch as it overtakes me. About twenty yards further down, a rat appears from the opposite pavement and begins to scuttle across the road on a collision course with the can at the intersection of their paths. I wait for the crash, which seems inevitable, but the rat puts on an impressive turn of speed at the last second and disappears into Marco's Hand Car Wash unimpeded.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
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.
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...
5.30am: I pass a house from which the theme tune from the TV show Countdown is blaring. A police helicopter hovers directly overhead.
A colleague tells me he’d been embarrassed the other day while delivering a package to a sex shop on his round; he tripped up a step and knocked over a display of dildos.
At the house with the decorative Father Christmas and snowman figurine in the window, I hand the owner a parcel. He’s an elderly man dressed almost entirely in a single hue of beige (he would probably appear to be naked from a distance). He shouts to me above the noise of his dog barking from behind the gate, “Don’t worry!” he says, “She’s all this” and he makes a C-shaped gesture with his right hand, opening and closing his thumb and fingers to signify talking. “Just like all women”, he adds with a wink.
I knock at the door of the house in Manor Street where the owner always jokes that his parcels are consignments
of heroin. Littering his short garden path are 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 are also a lot of white feathers—far too many to count.
While using the urinal in the toilets on the first floor of the post office, I glance out of the open window and notice a 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.
Sunday, 3 July 2011
Sunday, 19 June 2011
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:
Saturday, 11 June 2011
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 spangly lilac sari and headscarf hoovering the pavement outside her house with big upright Dyson.
I was 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 "Ey-up, who's this?" and glanced down at the bird. When Michael caught sight of it, he 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
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):
Thursday, 2 June 2011
Friday, 27 May 2011
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
At the newsagent where the Adele album is played on a loop, two men in their fifties were comparing their experiences of school.
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
The man in the black Astra was blocking the street while he was on the phone. 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.
Saturday, 7 May 2011
There’s a copy of The Watchtower magazine pinned to the front door of one of the back-to-backs. Someone has scrawled across Jesus’ face in biro, “NOT INTERESTED, ONE WORD FREE WILL!”
As we watch the police moving the drunks along in the park, Michael tells me he once saw a man staggering down the street with a bottle in his hand and another two in the pockets of his coat. He says he watched the man’s expression turn from horror to relief as the bottle
in his hand had slipped onto the floor but hadn’t broken. But then, as he bent down to pick it up, the bottles from his pockets fell out and smashed all over the pavement and his expression had turned to one of bewildered anguish.
The swallows are swooping after the flies that buzz around the cow shit on the track down to the farm. I make my way up to the house and knock at the door. The air is fetid and still, hung thick with the stench of pig shit. A woman with a grey bob and plastic-rimmed glasses opens the door. She winces and says “Oh! What a foul smell!” Then, with one hand over her nose, she grabs the parcel from me and shuts the door behind her without saying goodbye.
The man who is brewing beer in his garden and doesn’t wear a shirt says hello.
I stand on a dead mouse and, after several minutes of trying, I can’t get the worst of it out from the tread of my shoes.
Friday, 29 April 2011
The tall thin woman with the Highland Terrier under her arm was saying "Oh super, union jack bun cases!” and, 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 glasses and faded anoraks were smoking on the doorstep of the pub. Next door, at the ice-cream parlour, three swishy haired girls in T-shirts and sweat pants 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 hold 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. When I got into the driver’s seat 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 because his movement was restricted. He couldn't adjust his trousers because his mum and dad were holding his hands. 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
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
The sun has been shining. People are squinting their eyes and shielding the screens of their phones at bus stops. 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.
Someone has written “HeRB” on the Church Street post box.
The milkman's two young assistants were talking as they waited on the kerb for the van.
Sunday, 10 April 2011
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Thursday, 24 March 2011
I shout to the woman in the pink turtle neck jumper and grey gilet who is valeting her Peugeot 107 but she can’t hear me above Michael Jackson's Bad on the car stereo. When I eventually attract her attention she looks flustered and embarrassed. She apologises and says she's been in a world of her own.
The man in the bobble hat and the plastic rimmed glasses stares as I empty the pillar box. I glance up and let on. He’s picking his nose vigorously. He doesn't acknowledge me but continues staring and picking. I carry on clearing the box but I can still feel him staring. I look up again and this time the man glances down quickly and starts to examine the bogey he’s been rolling between his thumb and forefinger. I slam the box shut and drag the sack of mail across the pavement. As I load it into the van, the man is still staring at me but has now started to excavate the other nostril. He’s 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 is to inspect the end of his finger. I get into my van just as the man's bus arrives: 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 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 is in his garden wearing nothing but a pair of cut-off denim shorts to strim around the two small whitewashed boulders in the middle of the lawn.
I pass two men on my way home. The first, a man in his fifties, wears a long heavy overcoat, a woollen scarf and black leather shoes. The second, a young man in his twenties, wears a T-shirt, knee length cotton shorts, no socks and flip flops.
Friday, 18 March 2011
Three doors down, a man in a big quilted coat and aviator shades, winds down the window of his black Honda Prelude with red rims and blacked-out rear windows, winks at me and says "Have you got owt for me mate?" I hand him his mail and he says "Sweet mate. Nice one."
Sunday, 13 March 2011
Saturday, 5 March 2011
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, it 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 to have seen this and asked the man on the corner who was checking the soles of his shoes for dog shit whether he had, but he hadn't.
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Mrs Hussain is in her front room on a treadmill watching tele' again. She answers the door with a water bottle in her hand.
I was waiting to cross the road. The man who wears black polo-neck jumpers and never opens his curtains was also waiting to cross on the other side. Another man whose name is Johno (according to the sign in the windscreen of his wagon) stopped and waved us both across. As we passed one another, the polo-necked man looked up at me and said "Hello, my friend".
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
At the bus stop:
The builder working on a new porch is singing the Simply Red song, ‘For Your Babies’ very loudly. He breaks off briefly to say “Alright, pal” without looking up as I walked down the garden path.
A woman stops me in the street to tell me she can smell toast.
I get stuck in the lift at the flats for half an hour until the engineers came to open the door.
The man who sleeps in his car on Mucky Lane has got a new one, a silver Rover 75.