It’s one of those still days: petrol, cigarette smoke, lawnmowers, paper litter, traffic noises from a quarter-mile away, daisies and 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, cotoneaster, hebe, laylandii, a willow or a silver birch in the corner—planted by the developer in the 70s, 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 50s and and 60s with grey bobs that are a bit too long to be bobs, Reactolite glasses, floral shirts—sometimes open with a pastel vest-top underneath, knee-length shorts—also in pastel, cross-legged cellulite, sipping gin & 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 heard some lapwings and saw a pair of buzzards, and I’m not sure but I think the near naked man walking the Border terrier started singing at the top of his voice because I didn’t look at him.