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!”