Backlit, paper-diorama-skyline autumn morning: headlights, streetlights, a pile of bakers’ trays outside the corner shop, students taking photos of leaves.
On the bus, the man in front of me said that café culture is wasted on him because he doesn't drink tea or coffee. He went on to explain that he could never eat Weetabix without sugar.
At the supermarket, the woman with the piercings and leggings is complaining because the Festive Yard of Scrumptious Jaffa Cakes Christmas Pack she’s bought “is just a long box with some normal packets of Jaffa Cakes inside”.
I turn the radio on and a woman is saying she left her son to get himself to university on his own because she had to go and visit her energy master in Bali. I turn it over and a man is singing the lyric “She maxed her credit cards and don’t got a job” to the tune of a Duran Duran song. I turn it off again.
The blind man with the green hi-vis coat and white stick is tip-tapping the high stone wall as he makes his way from the bus stop towards the hospital. He nimbly rounds a couple of junction boxes and a litter bin before walking face first into the larger-than-life sized white-stick-defying pedestal-mounted Clear Channel hoarding promoting SlimFast Slim-Taki™Noodles: DATE NIGHT FRIDAY Chop-chop.
The man sitting two seats in front of me on the bus was wearing 1980s suit trousers, a beige anorak, and something that looked like bird shit in his hair. He was repeatedly slapping himself about the head and face. Behind me, the important-in-corduroy-man was begging to differ with the woman with the bag-for-life, "It's not! It's gonna be another sodding Chinese! Why we need another sodding Chinese when there's already one at the bloody bottom I don't know!” he said before going on to explain that he'd given up drinking. The woman looked sceptical.
The weather has turned over the last few weeks and they’re selling Christmas decorations at Sainsbury's and Morrison's and the dry cleaners on the ring-road is offering a “Seasonal Ugg Boot Cleaning Service”.
On the moor, acorn and oak-leaves litter the pavement next to the beagles’ kennels. There’s shattered green glass in the gutter. There are concrete lampposts (Concrete Utilities Ltd) and GPO manhole covers, and a pile of dead wood behind an ivy covered wall. There are ferns and holly, rose hips, barking dogs, and cawing crows in the top of the trees. The house with the half-dozen muddy turnips on the doorstep is being clad in pretend wood.
At the bottom end of the estate, driveways are being resurfaced with small pebbles suspended in clear resin—they look like the top of an apple crumble. There are plastic lawns too, and rusty super-minis, and Octavia Hackney carriages. There are new plastic storm drain grates and concrete top-stones to replace the stolen originals.
At the top of the estate where the big detached houses are, there are leylandii, succulents, rockeries and Alpines, some big toadstools that weren’t there yesterday, a beech hedge, a big overhanging silver birch, ornamental lampposts, pretend mail boxes that are actually bird boxes, yellow grit bins, water butts, high maintenance borders, patios, Burglars Beware neighbourhood watch signs, fire hydrants, bird baths, sundials, and vibrant hi-visibility moss in the grikes between the expensive driveway setts. There was a power cut and all the burglar alarms went off at once.