Sunday, 19 January 2014

A grey Vauxhall Zafira pulled up on the canal bank next to the narrowboat with the big spotlights



A grey Vauxhall Zafira pulled up on the canal bank next to the narrowboat with the big spotlights — just down from where they pulled the dead paedophile out of the water in the Christmas holidays. A man got out and swept half a dozen Macdonalds take-out cups from the footwell and onto the tow path. He brushed crumbs from his fleece jacket and boot-cut jeans, stretched, got back into the car and drove away.

The shadows of the people in the bus queue are long. The man I used to think looked too young to smoke a pipe was there, smoking a pipe — he doesn’t look too young anymore. On the wall beside the shelter, someone has written 'I know' with a marker pen.

Hundreds of geese flew over in a noisy quarter-mile V formation. The white UPVC front door of the house opposite opened — the one with the fake leaded lights in the shape of a Yorkshire rose — and Mr Mohammed stepped outside in salwar kameez and sandals. He stood next to the soggy carpet in his front yard and looked up at the birds, shielding his eyes from the sun. Next door, the man in the torn gilet and jeans had also heard the noise and come outside. He leant on his door frame holding a mug of tea in one hand, shielding his eyes with the other, a digestive biscuit held between his teeth. The two men stared up at the birds until they’d all passed, briefly acknowledged one another and then went back inside, closing their front doors in unison.