Saturday, 18 April 2015

It’s one of those dry, still days.



A still day: petrol, cigarette smoke, lawnmowers, paper litter, traffic noises from a quarter-mile away, daisies, dandelions and daffodils, a peacock butterfly on white UPVC …

Out on the estate that hasn’t changed for forty years, the old couple are having a small tiff about which bag to put all those jam jars in while a sparrowhawk disembowels a small rodent on the ridge of their dormer bungalow.


Rockeries, cracked-flag driveways, scuffed casey footballs, bikes on their sides, tiny weed-bound ponds, bird feeders, overweight builders with broad accents, 8’x8’ lawns, cotoneasters, hebes, leylandii, a willow or a silver birch in the corner—planted by the developer in the seventies—low double-skinned fake-sandstone walls infilled with soil and alpines, brutal pruning, and a David Brown tractor spreading muck on the field behind.


There are lots of large women in their fifties and sixties with grown-out grey bobs, Reactolite glasses, floral shirts—sometimes open with a pastel vest-top underneath—and knee-length shorts, also in pastel. They sit sipping gin and slim' outside the pub waiting for “probably the best fish supper in town.” 


The chickens in the field full of mangold wurzels are excited, they sound as though they are singing Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance. I hear lapwings, buzzards, and the nearly naked man walking the Border terrier who is singing at the top of his voice.