Sunday, 29 September 2013

I gave Molly a lift home from school…



I gave Molly a lift home from school. ‘This week has gone so quickly’ she said, ‘I can’t believe it’s nearly next weekend already’. We passed the bus stop where a man dressed as a ninja with two sticks of french bread under his arm was struggling to light a cigarette.

It was bright and sunny again, one of those quiet, calm days out in the sticks; I could hear power tools and dogs barking half a mile away. A couple in their sixties wearing matching plaid shirts (hers accessorised with a brown leather belt at the waist) were walking perfectly in step through the village. They synchronously tore pieces from their pasties and chewed in unison. When somebody they knew passed them in a car, they noticed simultaneously, both glancing up at the same time before breaking into smiles and holding aloft their right hands to wave.

An old woman was talking to her gardener about the neighbour who had recently returned from a holiday abroad:
‘Have you seen his suntan? He’s so dark! I didn’t want to let him in; I don’t usually let people that colour in the house!’

Autumn spiders have moved in on the flies that have been basking on the white UPVC doors. Silk shrouded baubles of pre-digested carcass dangle from the pretend wooden beading, bobbing silently in the light breeze.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Down from where the giant mechanical dinosaur has been tearing at the walls of the old YMCA building…



Down from where the giant mechanical dinosaur has been tearing at the walls of the old YMCA building, three short men were pulling on green hi-viz jackets and switching on an improvised lightbox sign: Hand Car Wash Now Open. 300 yards further down the road, a short man in a grey tracksuit was dwarfed by the 7’ high sandwich board he was dragging out onto the pavement: Hand Car Wash Now Open. 

The weather has turned. In the sticks, people in trademarked waterproof fabrics suffixed with ‘tec’, swarm around the blackberry bushes in the lanes while streams of run-off carry acorns, twigs and beech nut husks around their Brashers. On Greenwood Road I swerved around the well-wrapped, backpacked Nordic-walking couple who had eschewed the generous pavements in favour of the middle of the road.

In town, flies are basking in the last of the residual heat from the white UPVC doors and fascia boards. I disturbed some when I knocked at a house on Nelson Street and got a face full. They’re swarming around the overflowing green re-cyclers that the new students have mistaken for normal refuse bins too – the bin men have left them on the pavements along the length of Elm Street

The golf club was swarming with regional representatives of the Kitchen and Bathroom industry at their annual networking event. A man with a receding hairline, grey slacks and a fleece jacket stepped out of a van decorated with a wraparound livery featuring a naked young woman enjoying a shower. 
“Have you ever watched that Doc Martin?” the man asked his companion.
“With Martin Clunes?” his companion responded
“Yes, it’s fucking shit hot.”

On my way home, a woman on a mobility scooter began shouting abuse and gesticulating wildly towards me as I approached. I crossed the road towards her and, as I got nearer she shouted “It’s all right love, I’m talking to myself!”

Sunday, 1 September 2013

At the bus stop, the man with the grey beard, striped polo-shirt and large silver watch was bent over...



At the bus stop, the man with the grey beard, striped polo-shirt and large silver watch was bent over scratching both his knee and his elbow at the same time. Across the road, another man in a striped shirt and grey beard was painting his gate bright yellow for the second day running. Further up the road, at the next bus stop, a young man in a snapback baseball cap and headphones was dancing enthusiastically by himself. And, around the corner, on Cross Lane, I saw the same man delivering the same flyers to the same houses I saw yesterday.

Six squirrel sightings today: two in trees, one running along the edge of a skip and three dead in the road.

Somebody had lit a bonfire too close to the Costcutter. Even inside the shop, the smoke was acrid. A teenage couple were standing outside. He had a tattoo on his neck and was gobbing on the floor. She was wafting the smoke from her face with her cigarette hand and hoicking her grey marl sweatpants out of her arse crack with the other. A Ford Fiesta went past in too low a gear.

On the estate with the diverse and imaginatively improvised garden furniture, a boy on a BMX stopped me as I was unloading my van:
“Are you Postman Pat?”
“No. Postman Pat’s got a helicopter now, I’ve still got this rusty old van.”
“Postman Pat is ugly anyway. He hasn’t got a helicopter. He hasn’t even got a black and white cat – he hasn’t got owt. He’s ugly and he goes on ebay!”

At the gap in the wall where the stone was stolen, the thin lorry driver with the blue overalls and round glasses was drinking tea from a Thermos mug. “There won’t be any stone left in Huddersfield at this rate!” he said.
Somebody has stolen the top-stones from Mrs Taylor’s garden wall too, and last night somebody unscrewed the hinges of my shed door.