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
At work I was involved in a discussion about the provenance of the 80s 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 new housing development that now occupies the site of the old mill. The garages are too small to fit cars 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 saw Howard in town. 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. People are squinting their eyes and shielding the screens of their phones at bus stops. It's hot, I counted seven-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.
“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 just down from the Shine On Hand Car Wash (‘Only One Using Genuine Chamois Leathers’) demands I stroke his bow legged bull terrier. He promises it won't bite. I stroke its head and it jumps up at my knee, wagging its tail affectionately. The man laughs and says "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 is erecting an authentic looking teepee in unbleached canvas on the grass at the bottom of the flats. Two other men in their thirties are staging a fight with cudgels and large viking shields. A small group of spectators lines the railings: a teenage couple in tracksuits smoking cigarettes and a man in his late twenties in a tracksuit and a bandana who is sipping beer from a can and fondling his genitals.
The woman who answers the door after the third knock struggles to sign for her parcel while holding a veil over her face at the same time. She’s wearing England slippers with a cross of St George motif.
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
There’s a 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 is twenty yards down the road at the bus stop where the chubby goth boy is being chased by a wasp.
Outside Euphoria Fitness, a man and a woman in boxing gloves are sparring in the car-park. He’s holding up his hand and sh’s hitting it. He’s shouting "Hit it! Hit it!". I cross the road to the garage where, coincidentally the mechanic is listening to a song with the lyric Euphoria, Take my Hand while he works on an old Vauxhall Corsa.
Someone has written Lynard Skynard and The Who in the dirt on my van.
The skip lorries are tailing back down the road from the tip. An elderly man in salwar kameez has climbed into the back of one of them and is raiding it for timber.
Two men are playing pool In the communal room at the flats. One of them is unable to take his preferred shot because his cueing action is obstructed by the still fully decorated Christmas tree in the corner. Outside, I can hear a teacher in the school yard opposite shouting "Quickly Shakira, I'm waiting!"
I call round at a friend’s house and I notice 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."