Tuesday, 28 February 2012
It was getting light as I walked through the park. Two border collies were rounding up the ducks while a woman in a sky blue anorak and bleached hair shouted at them to stop.
The man who has the look of a comedy vicar from the 1970s: bald head, buck teeth, glasses, was repairing a dry stone wall. He tried to wave as I drove past but couldn’t lift his arm because he was holding a large piece of stone.
The big fat woman with the grey regulation buzz-cut and the unusually large black plastic rimmed spectacles said “Oh no! No way! I don’t talk to her!” when I asked her whether she’d mind taking in a parcel for her neighbour. She let out her black labradors to bark at me through the wire fence that divided the gardens—rough lawns, rockeries and garden centre ornamentation. Eventually, a huge man of girth and height dressed for sport in brown boots, moleskins and a shooting vest, came out and loaded the dogs into an old metallic grey 4x4 and drove them away in the direction of the moor.
The crisp packet in the road wasn’t a pheasant as I’d thought, it was a crisp packet.
On the moor, I watched a crow seeing off a kestrel while Mr Anderson buzzed around his topiary armchair with a noisy hedge trimmer. On the edge of the wood I saw a jay and a bullfinch.
On the doorstep of the Old Manor House someone has arranged a small display of smooth grey pebbles with white stripes. Later, back in town I noticed Mrs Haigh has a large canvas print of some smooth grey pebbles with white stripes above the coal effect fire place and wood effect laminate floor.
Saturday, 18 February 2012
The man opposite me on the bus kept gesturing towards me and saying "This postman, he is lost" in a fake Eastern European accent. After a while his companion joined in too: "These sex toys are not for me, the brothel is not open yet" he said, also in a fake Eastern European accent. They both found this funny.
On the pavement below the pub chalkboard advertising a concert by a band called Rockweiler, there is a pillow in a clean white case.
At the houses where they have removed the Yorkstone flags from the paths and replaced them with old Nurishment drink cans, empty Space Raiders/Jelly-Tots/Tesco bags, extrusions of expanding foam, splinters of 4x2 timber, fake patent snakeskin handbags with broken handles, pairs of black-tracksuit-bottoms-with-white-bits-on, faded-plastic children's ride-on cars with broken wheels, milk cartons, dog shit, old carpet grip-rods and empty lager cans, I disturbed a would-be burglar. He ran away up the cobbles wearing black tracksuit bottoms with white trim and his hood up.
The Polish man at No.131 who gets all the parcels has got some new BMW slippers.
I counted seventeen separate piles of dog shit in the six square metres of concreted-over yard at number eighty-seven. Then, I rounded the corner to find the man with the shaved head who lives at number eighty-one pissing in the middle of the street outside his house while his partner struggled to get their toddler down the front steps in a pushchair.
Later, as I lifted open the broken gate of the house with "PRIVT NO PARKING PLS" written on it in foot high white letters, the front door opened suddenly and someone hurled two fully loaded nappy bags roughly in the direction of the overflowing wheely bins on the pavement. They missed me—and the bins—by about a metre.
Sunday, 12 February 2012
Out on a rural delivery among the suggestive trees where the glass re-cyclers are full of wine bottles rather than greasy pasta sauce jars, a woman with large spectacles and red lipstick said to me “Isn’t it a glorious day” as she wiped her hands on her pinny. I saw lapwings, fieldfares, a moorhen, a buzzard, three plastic herons and two dozen bottles of Budweiser chilling in the snow by the back door. A receptionist lifted her half-rimmed specs and confided that the security officer is “a right twat” and later, in the bright midday sun, a man with a switched-on light attached to his headband pulled up in a Ford Focus to tell me “Those vans are breeding, there’s another one down there”.
Back at the yard, Robbo was singing again; a medley of his improvised lyrics to classic tunes. To the tune of Panic by The Smiths, “Panic on the streets of Sheepridge. Where’s me Giro? Where’s me Giro? Where’s me Giro?” To the theme of Last of the Summer Wine, “I love my job, I need to see a psychiatrist” and to the tune of No Woman, No Cry by Bob Marley, “No money, no beer”.
Monday, 6 February 2012
There was a dead long-tailed tit on the step of the house where the lady said she wasn’t quite dressed yet.
The two women in fleece jackets and black-tracksuit-bottoms-with-bits-of-white-on were jogging in opposite directions along Station Road. They didn’t acknowledge one another as they passed.
The woman at the bus stop said her oven had blown up. She said she had glass in her hair and was having to use her grill instead which was doing her head in.