Thursday, 16 October 2014

It had been a windy night; beech nuts were popping under my feet



It had been a windy night; beech nuts were popping under my feet. The street lights were out again and it would have been pitch-black had it not been for the faint glow of the light that illuminated the green lichen triangle that used to be a street sign.
By lunchtime it was still only half light. And cold. Paths were lined with thick puddles of leaves, black arthritic nettles, and frantically suckering brambles. The wind hissed through yellow horse-chestnut, and telegraph wires strained at their poles. Brown, stripped-bare fields were dotted white with gulls and the farm cat swallowed a mouse whole in just three gulps.
At the pub in the village where 2 Dine for £12.99 on selected main courses and afternoon tea, the landlord was being important enough in Fair-Isle and corduroy. ‘Hello there!’ he enthused to customers disgorged crease-free from mainly Range Rovers. 

Later, I watched some squabbling jackdaws while I pissed against a tree. Half a dozen of them were fighting over the topmost perch of the church steeple. They’d circle scrappily for a while until one would suddenly tip its wing and attempt to land. Usually its move would be pre-empted by the others and the breakaway bird would be knocked off course and forced to abort. Occasionally, one would succeed in making the perch only for the rest to rush it en masse and dislodge it after only a few seconds. I watched several tours, swooping attempts, and brief landings but I don’t know what the ultimate outcome was.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Research into outdoor chores carried out in the last week of September:




Research into outdoor chores carried out in the last week of September: 
Gender / Approx’ age / Attire. 
16°C - 20°C (Unusually mild weather for the time of year)
Sunny with very occasional light drizzle.

1 Male, 40s. Watering potted annuals. T-shirt, jeans, sandals.
2 Male, 70s. Scrubbing hose-reel with stiff brush. T-shirt, trousers, sandals.
3 Male, 60s. Clipping fingernails. T-shirt, jeans, sandals.
4 Female, 60s. Digging out couch grass. Fleece jacket, jogging pants, walking boots
5 Female, 70s. Taking seedlings round to a neighbour. Blouse, trousers, sandals.
6 Female, 40s. Walking Labrador. T-shirt, jeans, trainers.
7 Female, 70s. Weeding between driveway setts with special long-handled tool. --   Fleece jacket, trousers, sandals.
8 Male, 60s. Loading garden cuttings into Fiat Punto. Fleece jacket, jeans, black shoes.
9 Female, 40s. Re-pointing garage wall. Fleece jacket, tracksuit pants, slippers.
10 Female, 70s. Walking Highland terrier. Fleece jacket, knee-length plaid pleated skirt, flat black shoes.
11 Male, 60s. Re-pointing wall. Polo-shirt, jeans, black shirt.
12 Female, 30s. Putting out bins. large knitted striped jumper, jogging pants, one slipper, one bare foot.
13 Female, 70s. Popping to shop to get bits. knee-length skirt, knitted cardigan, flat black shoes.
14 Male, 60s. Sweeping yard. Fleece jacket, trousers, welly shoes.
15 Male, 60s. Washing Fiat Punto. Navy-blue overalls, black shoes.
16 Male, 60s. Clearing guttering. Shirt with collar, V-neck sweater, suit trousers, slippers.
17 Female, 60s. Sweeping pavement outside house. Cardigan, trousers, slippers.
18 Male, 80s. Polishing KIA Picanto. Shirt with collar, V-neck sweater, suit trousers, black shoes.
19 Female, 70s. Sweeping driveway with brand new yard-brush. Sweatshirt embroidered with floral display, trousers, welly shoes.
20 Male, 70s. Re-applying window putty. Knitted cardigan, jeans, slippers.
21 Male, 50s. Shouting abuse at a neighbour in the street—“Don’t fuck with me!” T-shirt, jeans, socks.
22 Male, 70s. Telling the postman that a neighbour has died, “Yep, they’ve buried her and everything”. Baseball cap, cardigan, jogging pants, trainers.
23 Male, 20s. Hiding door key under mat, “You never saw that, did you? There’s nowt worth nicking anyway; it’s a right shit-hole”. Motorcycle helmet, tracksuit, trainers.