Rushing to catch the bus, I almost collide with the fully loaded, seven foot high floral display unit on wheels. A thin man in a tracksuit is pushing it down the street to the entrance of The Bargain Shop. He parks it up and attaches an A4 handwritten sign to it with sellotape: ‘MEGA CHEAP CHEESE IN FRIDGE’.
I miss my bus. I watch it go past as I’m 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.
Chapel Street smells of perming solution again. Struggling up it, the old woman with swollen ankles and two bags of shopping says “I wish someone would turn this bloody hill round”.
I compliment 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. I shout over to him three or four times but I think he must be hard of hearing because he just smiles and makes 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 holding 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’s not there. His wife is 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 says “He’s gone down there to get some rolls”. She waves an arm in the direction of the shops. “He calls teacakes ‘rolls’!” she laughs.