Thursday 16 October 2014

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

It’s been a windy night and the beech nuts are popping under my feet. The street lights are out again and it would be pitch black were it not been for the faint glow of the light that illuminates the green lichen triangle on a pole that used to be a street sign.

Lunchtime: still only half light. And cold. Paths are lined with thick puddles of leaves, black arthritic nettles, and frantically suckering brambles. The wind hisses through yellow horse chestnut, and telegraph wires strain at their poles. Brown fields are dotted white with gulls and the farm cat swallows 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 is being important enough in Fair Isle and corduroy. “Hello there!” he enthuses to customers disgorged crease free from mainly Range Rovers.

I watch some squabbling jackdaws while I piss against a tree. Half a dozen of them are fighting over the topmost perch of the church steeple. They circle scrappily for a while until one suddenly tips its wing and attempts a landing. Usually, its move is pre-empted by
the others and the breakaway bird is knocked off course and forced to abort. Occasionally, one succeeds in making the perch only for the rest to rush it en masse and dislodge it after only a few seconds.

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 (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 the shop to get some 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.