"Why would anyone want to punch a police horse?" asks the man on the bus, glancing up from his paper. I say I don't know.
In Primitive Street, a gust of wind blows an empty lager can from one kerb to the other while two drunks are discussing the whereabouts of Jade. "Where is she?" asks the one in the faded blue anorak with the saggy pockets.
"I don't know,” says the other, "she spat in my face about two years ago.”
A woman in her fifties in a T-shirt with a skull motif on it almost falls as she gets out of the back of a VW Golf before it has stopped. "Oh, yeah! Just reverse over me why don't you!" she yells at the driver before running across the road and slipping over on her greasy Yorkstone path. "Grrr! I'm having a really bad day!" she shouts as she gets back on her feet and rubs her hip. She opens her front door and an excited terrier shoots out and runs off down the street before she can stop it. "Now the dog's got out!"
Out on the new estate: fake-sandstone-beige and UPVC-white with accents of grit-bin and Cold-Caller-Control-Zone-sticker yellow. The background noise of burglar alarms, wind-chimes, squabbling blackbirds, shouting PE teachers and that weird clanging from the insides of swaying metal street lamps, is occasionally drowned out by the engine of the JCB whose driver is concentrating so hard that his tongue is poking out. The fake ornamental bay trees have blown over onto the plastic lawn where the high-pitched cat deterrent is repeatedly triggered by the swirling leaves and bobbing daffodils.
There are sea urchins and highly glazed period folk on windowsills and solar panels on roofs. And there are dogs: people without shoes open doors while holding dogs by the collar. There are unencumbered and determined grey haired men in navy blue fleeces pounding the streets. Teeth gritted, they march up hills, arms outstretched for extra balance along uneven nascent desire lines—past the stalled mums with their hoods up against the drizzle, pushchairs and retrievers in one hand, they reach out for their straggling toddlers with the other.
I've seen waxwings and swallows within a week of each other.