In my haste to catch the bus, I almost collided with the fully loaded, seven-foot-high floral display unit on wheels. It was being pushed down the street by a small thin man in a tracksuit to the main entrance of the Bargain Shop. He parked it up and attached an A4 handwritten sign to it with sellotape: MEGA CHEAP CHEESE IN FRIDGE.
In the end, I missed my bus. I watched it go past as I was telling the tall man in the mauve shirt and black, pleat-front straight-cut short-leg perma-crease trousers how to get to the Ann Summers shop.
Half an hour later than planned, I alighted outside the Conservative Club where a new, painted sign had just been erected. In navy blue on a sky blue background it says:
GAMES DARTS DOMINOES CARDS
BILLIARDS SNOOKER POOL
CROWN GREEN BOWLING
AND DRINKS AT
T.V. SKY SPORTS
ENTERTAINMENT – SEE EVENTS
Chapel Street smelled of perming solution again. Struggling up it, the old woman with swollen ankles and two bags of shopping said, “I wish someone would turn this bloody hill round”.
At the top, I complimented the elderly man on his work; he’s been building a shed all week and it is impressively level, despite the extreme incline of the ground it’s built on. I shouted over to him three or four times but I think he must be hard of hearing because he just smiled and made comments about the weather and an appointment at the hospital he’s got to remember.
On the estate where elderly women with perms, mid-calf-length skirts and sandals walk terriers and knock on one another’s doors with polythene bags, I’ve been stopping for a chat with the man with the southern accent who sits outside his house on a mobility scooter. Today, he wasn’t there. His wife was though, on an old bentwood chair on the patio next to the statue of a meerkat with a magpie’s feather glued into its paw. “Your mate’s not here today,” she said to me “He’s gone down there to get some rolls”, she waved an arm in the direction of the shops, “He calls teacakes, rolls!” she laughed.