Saturday, 31 March 2012
My neighbour keeps free range rabbits, chickens and guinea fowl. She lives in a terraced house on a busy road with a small, paved yard. She often leaves the gate open so the animals can roam up and down the street. The first time I saw this, I assumed the animals had escaped and I knocked at her door to tell her. She waved me away and said it didn’t matter. This morning a fox was chasing one of her rabbits round and round the house opposite.
I thought I’d left for work about ten minutes late but I saw all the regulars in their usual places: The black VW Golf with the Polish plates, the silver Punto whose driver sits talking on the phone with the engine running next to the wall where all the pointing fell out in one piece after the bad frost, the 302 bus with the men in hi-vis jackets on board, the tall man with his brace of labradoodles who never says hello, the woman whose collies round up the ducks in the park, the former postman and his wife who say they couldn’t wish for a better lifestyle now he’s retired, the brazen blackbird that hops along at my feet for several yards at the entrance to the park, the disheveled starey-eyed beard-on/beard-off man with the jittery gait and his dubiously sourced early morning takeaway. Five Canada geese also flew low over my head in formation on their way to the pond.
At work, I almost hit a lorry driver who was wearing braces as he descended from his cab. I was distracted by the car park attendant who has taken to wearing a stab vest.
At the reception of the University halls of residence, the Mike Posner song You Think You’re Cooler Than Me was on the radio and, at the precise moment I asked Mr Hewitson for his name for the third time this week, I heard the lyric “and you never say hey, or remember my name. It's probably cuz, you think you're cooler than me.” If Mr Hewitson noticed, he never let on.
At the junior school office, I queued behind a woman with a budgerigar in her handbag (it had hurt its wing and she was only calling in on the way to the vets) and a man who was dropping his daughter off whilst wearing a Keep Calm and Eat Pussy T shirt.
On my way home, I stopped at the supermarket where a big fat man in a Spanish football shirt farted loudly by the turnips.
Friday, 23 March 2012
There was nobody around apart from three men in hi-visibility clothing (myself being one of them. I was in orange, the others in green). We were each walking down different streets towards their confluence which we reached simultaneously.
Twice today, I saw the man who wears the all-year-round head-to-toe waterproofs and runs everywhere. The first time he was running up Heaton Road with his waterproof hood up, The second, he wasn’t running and he had his hood down; he was giving directions to somebody in a Kia Rio on Outcote Bank.
In a rush, I erroneously entered Mr Stead’s name into my PDA as ‘Steadi’. I handed it over for him to sign and apologised if he thought I was being over familiar. He said he didn’t mind at all because he’d been known as ‘Steadi’ throughout his school days which he remembered with particular fondness.
A man in his thirties was standing in the road talking to an elderly woman. She was wearing beige salwaar kameez, headscarf, thick plastic rimmed glasses and a pair of black canvas pumps decorated with a white skull and crossbones motif. The man had a dog, a huge akita, which was also in the road. Also in the road was another man who, with his buck teeth and moustache had a look of Freddie Mercury about him. He was encouraging four children of between about six and nine years to pelt the dog with sticks and small stones from a distance of about two metres. The dog’s owner and the woman were both aware of what was happening but did nothing to discourage the children as missiles began to pile up around their feet. The dog was placid, only ducking between its owner and the old woman for shelter when the barrage became particularly intense. The children continued to throw stuff while Freddie Mercury sourced ammunition for them. Eventually I got into my van and pulled out from the kerb. None of the children, the two men, the woman or the dog attempted to get out of my way and I sat waiting for about thirty seconds. Eventually the man pulled his dog onto the kerb and out of range of the children who then retreated to the other side so I could pass, crushing piles of sticks and pebbles under the wheels as I went.
Thursday, 15 March 2012
On my way into work I passed a man I often see around. He never speaks to me but he once held open the door at the Co-op and he’ll sometimes nod stiffly in my direction. On this occasion though, he ignored me completely.
In the park I saw the chubby man with the comb-over, he was with his black labrador, John.
I paused on Fitzwilliam Street to swap a woollen hat for a peaked cap and a man with pointy shoes, short tippy-tappy strides and a Liverpool FC plastic carrier bag overtook me just as a Suzuki Swift killed a pigeon at the traffic lights.
On the estate of barely detached houses with the mainly new, mainly black, mainly German cars. I went to number three where the mini with ‘Maureen’ written on it was parked in the driveway. I waited on the front step next to a scale model of a baby rabbit and the doormat which has NICE TO SEE YOU, TO SEE YOU NICE written on it. Next door, a man in a suit and dark glasses paused while he unlocked the door of his BMW. He glanced over to me across his plastic lawn and said “Anything for numero uno before I head off?” I said there wasn’t. Eventually the door of number three opened and a thin man in his sixties with a dressing gown undone to the waist smiled and said “Good morning sir!” I smiled back and handed him his package “Yes. Thank you! Thanks a lot. Ta. Thank you. Thank you” he said.
Also today, I heard some men playing the bagpipes on the ring-road and an owl.
Saturday, 3 March 2012
Mr Simpson gave me a lift to work in his new car with the de-mister that comes on when he literally tells it too. I told Julie about it at work and she said Mr Simpson has five sugars in his tea.
This week’s wildlife of note:
A woodpecker, a jay, some lapwings, a lark, rabbits, deer, a dead fox, some chickens, up to two dozen black labradors, numerous koi carp and two plastic heron (one stood up and one lying down on its side)
The chickens at the farm were pecking at the dog's bone while the builders listened to People Are People by Depeche Mode on their heavy duty radio.
I couldn’t get up Hill Top because of the two rival dog walker’s vans that had parked to collect their charges from houses on opposite sides of the street.
Mr Briggs pulled up to tell me he’d just heard on the news that the cheapest petrol station in town is the Jet garage at Lockwood.
The woman in the trench coat asked “Is it going to make a nice day, do you think?”
“I’m not sure but it’s looking good at the minute” I replied.
“I know, but will it last?” said the woman.
No Surprises by Radiohead has been going round my head all week. Today I think I worked out why; several of the door bell chimes on my delivery sound like the song’s opening two notes.