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 tart", 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 schoolboy 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 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

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 is answered by a middle aged woman with a broken arm*. At the next house, the door is answered by a man in his thirties with shaving foam all over his chin. Another full hour into the delivery and somebody else with a broken arm answers a door. This time it's a middle aged man, his sweater bulges over the bad arm, the empty sleeve dangles at his side.

While I deliver the mail to the gym, the man with the regulation haircut and the 4x4 in the carpark  explains how much he hates show muscle. "All the young lads are into it," he says. "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 flits around in the dust on the forecourt. I go inside through the big glass doors and, when I hand over the package to the man in the blue overalls, he says "Is it a food parcel from UNICEF?" I laugh but when the overall man looks for a reaction from the man at the desk in the corner—crew neck sweater, shirt collar tucked inside—he doesn't get one.

*This has happened before: see November 2nd 2010