In the street that smells of meat, the man who looks like my old headmaster was inspecting a discarded cigarette packet while a younger man, who was smoking weed and wearing headphones, did hundreds of keepie-uppies in the road.
On Easter Sunday some of the tenants of the flats had been kept awake until 1.30am by loud music according to the handwritten note pinned to the front door.
I saw Jonny, he was petting the beautiful Burmese cat in Warneford Road. He said he thought it was so fine looking it could probably win Crufts even though it isn’t a dog.
The gardens on the evens side of Woodside View are still under a foot of snow. Only the top of the wheelie bin with the sticker of the tropical beach scene on it at No.36 is visible because of the drifting. Outside No.12, an uncomfortable looking grey-haired woman in an overcoat and Reactolite glasses was waiting at the bus stop with three drunks who were arguing over a bottle of White Lightning.
Further down, at the house with the threadbare Union-Jack doormat, an elderly woman with a tomato stain on her beige duffle coat asked me whether I’d seen the bin men. "I’m seventy-six years old," she said, "They shouldn’t do this to me. It’s upsetting. I put it out and they’ve missed me again!" I told the woman I hadn’t seen the bin men, just the Wheelie Wash man who comes along in their wake. I handed her her mail, some promotional material from Boots about health and beauty products that can ‘Supercharge your wellbeing’. "I’ll not be needing that!" she said, "It’s going straight in the bin—if it’ll fit!"
On the main road, just down from the house called The Britvic at No.55, an elderly man with a pull-along shopping cart and thick plastic-rimmed glasses stopped me as I passed.
"He’s mad, isn’t he?" he said.
"Who?" I asked.
"That silly man from the government who says we can live on £53 a week. I think he must be bloody mental! And that footballer. They’ve all gone bloody mental!"
When I got back to the office my workmates were reminiscing about a retired colleague who once reversed his van into his own car, touched up the damage with Dulux, and then drove to Blackpool to “dry it off”. They asked me whether I remembered him. I said I did but our shifts hadn’t overlapped. I used to cycle home in my trainers, so I’d leave my work boots at the office overnight where, unknown to me, for several years, he wore them for the duration of his night shift, replacing them before I arrived for work again the next morning.