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