Tuesday 1 February 2011

Mr Briggs intercepted me for his mail outside the old hall in Stile village...

Mr Briggs intercepted me for his mail outside the old vicarage. He asked me where the regular postman was and I said he was off work with an upset stomach. "One of our lads had the shits last week" said Mr Briggs. And without pausing for a response he said "Right, I'm going”, and he sped off, spinning the wheels of his Bedford Rascal on the greasy old millstone setts.

I drove down the narrow track to Springwood End sending dog walkers scurrying to gather up their pets. The man with the Grayson Perry hairdo and the double-denim efficiently wrangled his King Charles but struggled for a while with his long-haired dachshund. The two men in hunters caps, puffa jackets and green wellies had no problem with their brown labrador but the man with the gilet, the Dalmation and the iPod couldn’t hear me, so I had to drive most of the way at walking pace.
On the way back up, another man with a brown labrador flagged me down to ask whether I could spare any elastic bands.

My first (and only) sighting of a person under the age of retirement today was the builder who is converting the barn on the edge of the moor. His yellow and black heavy-duty site radio was playing Baggy Trousers by Madness while he stood with his hand down the front of his trousers talking to the woman with the brown labrador, the NY ski hat and the cerise pink walking socks. He was telling her how much he enjoyed reading books about the 2nd world war: “It could be anything from somebody's memoirs to an account of a battle. As long as it's not fiction, I'm not arsed about that" he explained.